How can I better answer these two questions to a Recruiter based on if it is FAANG+ (tier 1) or tier 2/3 companies?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community2 months ago

How do you respond to an email or over a phone conversation from recruiter asking:

  1. Recruiter: What leveling would you prefer? L5, L6, etc (This is for Amazon)
    My thoughts: I personally think I'm somewhere in between L5 and L6 (much closer to L6). But I'm not sure what the right response should be.
  2. Recruiter: What are your compensation expectations? We have a limited amount of positions open at the moment (but more coming soon.) And we like to know a little more about this from each candidate so we don't waste anyone's time involved, specifically yours :)
    My thoughts: I don't want to give insanely high number to Tier 2/3 since I want to increase my chances of getting interviews. But for FAANG I don't want to give a smaller number either.

Could you please tell how to handle such questions?

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(2 comments)
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 months ago

    In general, I advise keeping things vague when dealing with recruiters: don't share your previous compensation, expected compensation, or what level you want. The idea is that you only want to have these discussions when the company has invested in you (through 5+ hours of interviews).

    So with that backdrop in mind:

    1. "I'd want to understand how the expectations at each level in more detail -- is that something that needs to be decided now? I'd like to focus on meeting the team, and based on how the interviews go, we can decide on a level we both think is fair."
    2. "I'm more concerned with the job and whether it's a good fit at the moment, I'm sure we can come up with a reasonable benchmark on compensation later in the process."

    Based on how pushy they are for #2, you can also give them the reassurance "I've talked to a few friends who work at company X and I'm confident this interview won't be a waste of time. Based on the data points I've seen, I'm sure we can find a reasonable compensation agreement."

    Finally, another tactic is to answer the question with a question. So if they ask you about compensation expectations, say "what is the typical comp band for this role?"

    I'd also highly recommend these resources:

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    CTO at Taro
    2 months ago

    Do everything you can to avoid giving a number as that just sets a ceiling for yourself. We made an entire video with tactics about how to do that: The #1 Rule Of Negotiation - How To Avoid Giving A Number

    For Amazon, L5 -> L6 (i.e. SDE 2 -> SDE 3) is notoriously difficult as we talk about here: "How to navigate the difficult SDE 2 to SDE 3 promotion?"

    Because of this, I highly recommend just targeting L6 and being transparent about that with your Amazon recruiter. If you think you're much closer to L6/Senior, then you would probably do just fine as an Amazon L6 (especially with the support of Taro!).

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