I was recently laid off but finding getting interviews to be quite difficult. If I cannot get a position in the next 6 months but spend that time focusing on interview prep, will employers view the gap as a red flag?
Sorry to hear about your situation. I've interviewed quite a lot to the point where I was doing few every year for practice. One thing I can share for sure is that preparation in isolation will not be nearly as good as the one with some feedback. You can try doing mocks with friends etc and that would be very helpful. However, 6 months for interview preparation is quite high, coming as SDE3 from Amazon you probably will be interview ready in anywhere from 2 to 5 weeks.
Now I fully understand if you want to take a break and start interviewing after 6 months. But that is different than preparing for 6 months. But if you don't want to take any break probably keep applying for jobs while continuing preparation.
Sorry to hear that you are impacted by the Amazon layoff. It's difficult time with many people I know impacted by the tech layoff. How employer view the employment gap varies depends on employers and hiring managers. Some people may view a gap in employment as a potential red flag, but some would understand the reason for the employment gap given the current tech layoff.
If you've taken the time to focus on interview preparation or skill development, you can present that as a positive and show that you've been proactive during the period of unemployment. In my opinion, it is important to emphasize the value you can bring to a company and to be transparent about your job search and the time you've spent focusing on your career during the interview process.
Really sorry to hear about your situation - It's brutal out there.
As Rahul and I talked about in our masterclass on dealing with layoffs, it's important that you take the time to relax, introspect, and strive to find a great next opportunity. If it takes 6 months to really land a compelling offer, you should do it! Get what you deserve, and don't burn yourself out to achieve that.
All that being said, you were an SDE 3 at Amazon, which is very hard to do. I'm sure any company would be lucky to have you!
If I cannot get a position in the next 6 months but spend that time focusing on interview prep, will employers view the gap as a red flag?
Some will, but those are probably heartless companies that are not worth working for. In this economy, I'm sure companies are far more understanding about employment gaps. I have been pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of support for laid-off folks across the industry, and sharing that information might even be an asset in this economy, which I talk about here.