Amazon Hiring Strategy=3D Chess?

Dec 14, 2019 29 Comments

So we have all heard about how easy it is to get into Amazon compared to other FAANGS. And we also know how typical interview processes aren't perfect.

Realizing this, is Amazon purposefully changing their strategy to essentially give a trial run for new grads that couldn't get into other FANGS?

Is the cost of onboarding, having them on salary for a couple of months and potentially lowering their reputation/prestige (some of the best new grads won't accept offers there now) really worth onboarding a bunch of people that will get PIPed within a year?

Or do they have enough capital/growth to support it and is it actually a viable strategy for finding competent engineers?


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TOP 29 Comments
  • Oracle cmiatah
    Amazon doesn’t build software, they repackage OS code and answer Jira tickets. They don’t need particularly good engineers. Great engineers are on oracles DB team, googles AI products, msfts OS, etc.
    Dec 14, 2019 6
  • Google phYh45
    Amazon has always been doing this. It's their business model. And I'd say it's been pretty successful. Why stop what's been working for them all these years?

    There will always be tons of college grads who will be willing to work for Amazon. They just need code monkeys at lower levels and can also have them deal with all the operational issues for a discounted price. The idea is Google and Facebook rejects for sde 1 and 2 are sufficient to do the job. Pay them less, give them virtually no perks, work them like a horse, and it's okay if they leave. Plenty of new grads waiting in the queue. They believe this is the highest ROI they can get for lower level engineers. But they do compete for higher levels with competitive TC because they do value talented engineers and leaders who can tell these code monkeys what and how to build things.

    Even if you were really good to engineers, it's not like they are gonna stay significantly longer. Average tenure in tech is short even with all the benefits and perk. This strategy I always believed was excellent for Amazon's bottom line and helped Bezos become the richest man on Earth. As a business man, if I only cared
    about my bottom line, I might replicate what Bezos is doing. But as an engineer, I hated and would never work for Amazon again.
    Dec 14, 2019 1
    • Amazon CulStryBro
      The description is accurate. The L4s who shine through as truly top tier will make L5 fast and get fast tracked toward L6 by their managers. The rest will be churn and burned out. There is nearly zero L4 hiring bar. But for L6+ external hires we hold a very high bar and pay top dollar. The L7 and L8 ICs I work with at Amazon are the damned smartest engineers I have ever worked with.
      Dec 15, 2019
  • Hubspot what tests
    It’s on the easy side for FAANG but still harder than 80% of companies
    Dec 14, 2019 4
    • Amazon CulStryBro
      Lol. Industry loops are not much easier/different from other FAANG. Getting hired at L6 is actually harder than getting hired at Google/FB as L5/E5 because Amazon senior level interviewers tend to go brutal on external candidates since they have been held to a brutal standard for promos internally. New grad hiring for L4s is low bar because we churn and burn our L4s. Some will make it to L5 in a year or two, some will face PIP and be managed out because they suck. Managers need to meet unregretted attrition quota - how the hell would we do this if we really hired only high bar candidates?
      Dec 15, 2019
    • Hubspot what tests
      I don’t disagree directly with anything posted here but I’d note that a lot of Fortune 500 companies that dont identify as tech companies aren’t whiteboarding their engineers in interviews at all.

      If we restrict to “tech companies that we probably mostly interview at here on blind” then the thread here is definitely true.

      Although My amazon SDE2 interview was harder than any of the offers I recently got to leave, so I wonder if some of you still aren’t too tunnel visioned to “top” tech companies
      Dec 27, 2019
  • Amazon _Hokage_
    Where does one cash in this “prestige”? Amazon must have done studies that show no measurable difference in job performance between leetcode ninjas and the average hardworking Joe.
    Dec 14, 2019 0
  • Amazon grindhard
    What is the correlation between leetcode skills and software engineering? Why do people assume that if you can leetcode you won’t get pipped. I bet I can out leetcode any of you here including you googlers and can prove it if someone wants to set something up. Unfortunately, I don’t have any real world software engineering skills and wouldn’t be surprised if I get pipped.
    Dec 14, 2019 9
    • Amazon grindhard
      I think the leadership process is very game able. Are you sure interviewers can distinguish between people that have great leadership skills and people who are have poor leadership skills but are good at telling stories.
      Dec 15, 2019
    • Amazon jhp
      I'm pretty sure I can, and that in general bar raisers can, and really most people with a lot of interview experience. You can probably fool a relatively green interviewer, fortunately there will be at least a few experienced interviewers on your loop.

      I usually catch liars when I shift gears and go after dive deep on what they expected would be an earns trust question, and it turns out they can't make up bullshit fast enough or consistently enough, so their story just ends up full of holes.

      Another technique if you think you're being spun some bullshit is to ask, "can you tell me about a different example?" and then again go into all the details. A person who consistently develops others, for example, should have LOTS of examples. The bullshit artist likely only came prepared with one made up story.

      But let's say someone is really a master at inventing stories on the fly.

      If the person can make shit up that fast AND make up shit the matches the leadership behavior we want then they are actually proving they do have the right instincts and know what the right behaviors are, proving that here at Amazon they will actually get how to behave and be successful.

      What's hilarious is I caught lots of people lying AND their made up story exhibited behavior that fails the test anyway. A lot of people just don't get it and CAN'T make up the right story because they don't have the right instincts and say the wrong thing even when they are making it up.
      Dec 15, 2019
  • Amazon readme.q
    Lower level maybe , l5/6 and up? Not so easy
    Dec 14, 2019 0
  • Tableau v2dad
    More like moneyball than 3D chess. They structure comp strategically too so they can get away with paying out as little equity to the inevitable burnouts as possible.
    Dec 14, 2019 0
  • New laffed
    Even if they are doing everything you said with the stated intent, that would def not be 3D chess. An argument could be made that they are doing hiring better, but not because they’re thinking 100 moves ahead and somehow this is going to crush other FAANG. At the smallest hint that this method is better the rest of the industry would adapt and follow suit
    Dec 14, 2019 0
  • Cerner kc_ninja
    Hmm virtual chess is the appropriate term you’re looking for, IYKWIM!
    Dec 14, 2019 0


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