Taro Logo
1

Recruiter asking what level I was

Profile picture
Senior Software Engineer at Taro Communitya month ago

Hello, I’ve been going for senior level positions even though I was mid level at my previous FAANG company. Before FAANG I was senior level at a startup so I think I can handle senior again. But when a recruiter asks what level I was previously, should I tell them or should I be vague somehow like when they ask for what compensation I’m looking for?

58
6

Discussion

(6 comments)
  • 4
    Profile picture
    Staff Eng @ Google, Ex-Meta SWE, Ex-Amazon SDM/SDE
    a month ago

    The standard dodge is “based on my experience and scope of work, I am targeting senior roles. I’m sure that this level at <company x> is high, and if there is a calibration concern I’m happy to chat with a hiring manager or a screen to ensure that this is appropriate, to ensure we can all respect each other’s time.”.

    I can’t blame them for wanting to calibrate a loop appropriately. It’s a lot more “expensive” and difficult to coordinate an interview loop with all senior+ people. There’s also enough bias and other factors used to underlevel folk that resisting providing them reason to calibrate you lower makes sense.

    So then what? Do you say you were a senior engineer, and hope they don’t ask where? Do you just avoid it and say senior is your target? At some point if you most recently had a senior role you likely wouldn’t resist the question so much, so you’re probably telling them anyway.

    Focusing on impact (team lead, tech lead, owner of complex system) that aligns with senior could help.

  • 0
    Profile picture
    Senior Software Engineer [OP]
    Taro Community
    a month ago

    Follow up on this...does a background check reveal what level you were?

    • 0
      Profile picture
      Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
      a month ago

      They would need to ask your manager at your previous company or something, so that doesn't seem likely...?

      From my understanding, a background check is more to make sure you have no criminal background.

    • 0
      Profile picture
      Staff Eng @ Google, Ex-Meta SWE, Ex-Amazon SDM/SDE
      a month ago

      If they are asking for references a company will normally share: The dates you were employed. MAYBE the job role. If the name of the role changes they MIGHT indicate level, but still unlikely. Apple buckets everyone into “associate” when they leave so this isn’t an issue, as an example.

      No agencies that track data for background checks like convictions and credit would have any indication of your job level.

      It seems like you’re asking because you were dishonest? I know it’s all a game, but the move is avoid, not lie. Avoiding is strategy, lying can be fraud.

    • 1
      Profile picture
      Senior Software Engineer [OP]
      Taro Community
      24 days ago

      Ok thank you and no I didn't lie, I wanted to make sure they couldn't find out even if I successfully avoided telling them