Amazon interview and offer left a bitter taste

Feb 11, 2018 75 Comments

So I interviewed with Amazon a few weeks ago. The process was super smooth. The hiring manager was nice, seemed involved. HR was engaged and kept his/her promises. During the interviews and the pre screening process, I got a very good idea about the scope of my work and how many people would report to me etc.

They made me an offer. But one level below what I interviewed for. Here is the reason it left a bitter taste:

1) I was very clear (with HR and and with hiring manager during informational) even BEFORE the phone screen that I was not willing to consider (the target level -1). Because I heard similar experience from a friend before and it also came up since the HR tried to tell me that while I had had a great career run, I might not have enough number of years of experience for that role. I was firm on my position (I have consistently exceeded in my current position at MS, no reason to be desperate) and they still decided to proceed with phone screen followed by onsite.

2) OK - I know it is possible that after the interviews they might have felt that I was not a good fit for the role or for that scope. But here is the punch line - the HR repeatedly told me that I would have the exact SAME responsibility, scope and same number of reports, yet tried to convince me to come a level below, because I do not have the number of years of experience. Sigh.

I declined.

Anyone else had similar experience with Amazon??

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TOP 75 Comments
  • SmartThings smartpm
    Nothing wrong from both the perspective, just not a perfect match, move on.
    Feb 11, 2018 2
    • Microsoft elanor
      OP
      U probably didn't get my point.
      Feb 11, 2018
    • SmartThings smartpm
      I completely get your point, you were straightforward in what you wanted, Amazon was not honest and they tricked you and low balled you, etc, etc.
      Feb 11, 2018
  • Amazon Qlch60
    Isn't it fair to offer target level - 1, if you don't meet the target level bar?
    Feb 11, 2018 5
    • Microsoft elanor
      OP
      @Qlch60 point well taken. It possible that the HR was trying to sell the position. But the key reason I doubt that is the unchanged number of reports. Typically number of reports reflects the extent of the area of ownership. This is why I suspect they might have considered me for level n-1 throughout, which is their evaluation and I respect that. But upfront communication would be convenient and time saving for both parties in my humble opinion and make Amazon look less shallow.
      Feb 12, 2018
    • Gartner Smithson
      The following might have been the been the scenario. The bar raiser may have felt that you would raise the bar at -1 but not at the target level. So he recommends you at -1. But the HM can assign how many every reportees he / you want, once you join the company - so he is okay to retain the same number of reportees / scope of work. One is TC / peer group and the another is responsibility. Moreover HM may have desperately wants you but couldn't convince the bar raiser to sanction the offer at the targeted level.
      Sep 9, 2018
  • Microsoft SayTheWord
    Amazon is notorious for trying to downlevel. However, I had the exact opposite experience recently. I was slated to interview for L5 (coming from L62 at microsoft), but after phone screen they said they would like to interview me for L6. Went through the loop and they made an offer for L6. They tried to lowball me on the offer but accepted what I asked for during negotiation. Overall, I feel they try to find the best fit and set you up for success. I suggest you look elsewhere if you are not satisfied with their offer. Good luck! 😊
    Feb 11, 2018 2
    • Amazon
      Benny Lava

      Amazon

      PRE
      Amazon
      Benny Lavamore
      Be careful, they might be looking for a fall guy to pivot later.
      Feb 11, 2018
    • Microsoft SayTheWord
      Good point! Hopefully that is not the case. 😊
      Feb 11, 2018
  • Palantir / Eng nqTK63
    Yes, same experience. Just think of it as training for other, real interviews.
    Feb 11, 2018 1
    • PayPal bmwbenz
      And it is very good training of behavior question. Now OP can talk to any manager
      Feb 11, 2018
  • Microsoft / Eng ¥
    I was shooting for L8 when I was coming to Amazon last year. They as usual made an L7 offer but kept comp at L8 level. And I took it.
    Feb 11, 2018 10
    • Cisco Jose
      cool, nice
      Feb 11, 2018
    • General Motors / Product Ambitious
      What is a good L7 vs L8 comp package?
      Mar 9, 2018
  • Amazon / Eng
    DaaamDoood

    Amazon Eng

    PRE
    GitHub
    DaaamDooodmore
    External hires at Amazon have to “raise the bar” (better than 50% of people in that level) of the target level, whereas internal promotions into that level have to “meet the bar”.

    Hence you often see this where a candidate is meeting the bar but is an external hire - being offered a level below the one they interviewed for.

    Taking or not taking it is entirely up to the candidate.
    Feb 11, 2018 8
    • Amazon dhwiudj
      Hmm I dunno I think I read that you have to ‘consistently’ be performing in the next level to be up for promotion. Not just near the bar.
      Feb 11, 2018
    • Amazon Vcrhvx
      Your right that you do have to be performing at the next level but that’s not necessarily the bar. The bar is the median performance of people at that next level. You don’t have to perform as well as 50% of the people at the next level. Rough guidelines I’ve heard is 30-35%.
      Feb 11, 2018
  • Microsoft sudo rm-r
    Yes. I inrerviewed at Amazon multiple times. In all those times I recieved an offer for requested level -1. Each time the reason was different. Which brought me to the conclusion that they have a fixed template of who gets in at different levels, and while your interviews play a part in that, it is predefined up front. The recruiters want to bring you in, they will say whatever lie they can to keep you engaged in the process. I ended up declining all those offers. I keep being surprised that after all these times recruiters are still approaching me to join Amazon.
    Feb 11, 2018 5
    • Microsoft elanor
      OP
      That was my conclusion as well. I can totally understand if they have to abide by a template and years of experience is one of such field. What I did not appreciate is that my years of experience is on the CV and they did not need an onsite for that. Of course, I am speculating, but it is possible that if I were desperate (real unhappy at my current role or stuck in a dead end situation) I would probably take level (n-1) and they were simply 'hoping' for that. Not cool.
      Feb 12, 2018
    • Toptal sudo root
      @op yeah. I think this is their approach. I am just surprised that this is not what single recruiter does but a whole systematic approach.
      Feb 12, 2018
  • Amazon / Product
    kLYS80

    Amazon Product

    PRE
    Amazon
    kLYS80more
    They promised me a fast track promotion path... but again false promise and I'm stuck... the nature of work is good but no career growth :(
    Feb 11, 2018 2
    • Amazon
      Benny Lava

      Amazon

      PRE
      Amazon
      Benny Lavamore
      There is no such thing. They throw all sorts of BS to not let you get promoted ahead of other internal members.
      Feb 11, 2018
    • Amazon / Eng eww🤬
      At least my recruiter was honest enough to avoid making this promise when I asked before joining
      Feb 11, 2018
  • Amazon / Product
    kLYS80

    Amazon Product

    PRE
    Amazon
    kLYS80more
    I went through a similar horrific experience... they interviewd me for an L5 TPM and offered me an L4 TPM after interview even with 8 years of work exp and a master's degree... I was desperate to move since I would be working on a niche technology and also there was no learning in my previous job... I'm doing work equivalent to an L6 to be honest... ridiculous levelling guidelines
    Feb 11, 2018 3
    • Amazon dhwiudj
      I interview a lot and this happens ONLY if we have doubt that you don’t meet the bar for that level. This is actually good because we’re not just flat out rejecting you.
      Feb 11, 2018
    • Amazon Man2man
      Dude ..why the heck are you working for a company at a level which you don’t feel appropriate
      You accepted the offer and now are badmouthing Amazon publicly..

      Just wow..
      Feb 11, 2018
  • Blue Origin / Eng login81
    You sound a little full of yourself..I figure Amazon would offer level if they thought it was worth it
    Feb 11, 2018 0

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