Former Amazon and Apple hiring manager, interviewer, senior Marketing and Sales leader. Co-founder of Day One Careers, mentor, interview and leadership coach.
From our experience as former hiring managers and Bar Raisers at Amazon, most candidates do not even begin Amazon salary negotiation. Instead, they take the first offer the recruiter gives them and get on with things. But later, most candidates regret not negotiating for a higher salary and total compensation. So in this article, we’re going to show you how changing your mindset can help you negotiate a higher Amazon offer (and salary!) and avoid regrets in the future.
Evgeny Bik and Gayle Gallagher (GG), co-founders of Day One Careers, wrote this article. GG spent five years at Amazon as a senior leader in Prime Video and Amazon Fresh in the UK. Evgeny spent over three years at Amazon as a senior leader in Amazon Launchpad and Amazon Devices in Europe. In addition, GG and Evgeny were Hiring Managers and interviewers for their teams and partner organizations.
In addition, GG was a qualified Amazon Bar Raiser – an independent decision-maker with veto power over the hiring manager in the Amazon interview process. GG and Evgeny had careers in multi-national Tech, FMCG and Retail companies before joining Amazon.
Finally, after leaving Amazon, Evgeny spent one year at Apple as an eCommerce lead in IMMEA (Apple’s developing markets organization).
We created Day One Careers to provide everyone with expert Amazon interview preparation resources. We’re incredibly proud of our free and paid resources, and we encourage you to explore our blog and YouTube channel for more expert guidance. To support your Amazon salary negotiation, check out our signature Amazon Salary Negotiation Whizz course.
You can check out our LinkedIn profiles if you’d like to learn more about our career paths: GG’s profile and Evgeny’s profile.
Candidates fear losing Amazon offers
Getting an Amazon offer is anything but a walk in the park for most candidates. Amazon is notoriously known for their rigorous interview process, so when candidates finally receive the good news, it’s a moment of joy, excitement and relief. And when the recruiter sends the offer details through, folks are tempted to take the first one that comes their way.
Most candidates do not negotiate their Amazon salary and compensation because they fear losing the offer. They know that Amazon is a giant company and assume Amazon has the luxury of being able to walk away from any candidate who does not accept their first offer. And so candidates are worried that if they try to negotiate, Amazon will rescind their job offer.
Loss avoidance is a natural trait of our brain. According to the book, Thinking Fast and Slow by Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, humans are loss averse, which means we feel the pain of losses more than the pleasure of gains. So, even if candidates understand that accepting the first offer means forgoing money, it’s only natural to want to avoid the (potential) agony of losing their Amazon job offer.
Hiring Managers hate losing great candidates
However, if any candidate stepped into the Hiring Manager’s shoes, the fear of losing their job offer would take the back seat. Filling open seats at Amazon is complex, painful and time-consuming. Finding a bar-raising candidate often takes the hiring panel countless hours to interview dozens of candidates.
In addition, if a Hiring Manager has an open role on their team, they are missing a vital resource. Amazon is such a lean organisation that every day the position is vacant, most Hiring Managers will be forced to take on at least part of the responsibilities.
This is why most Hiring Managers at Amazon are under immense pressure to fill their requisitions as quickly as possible. The faster they can do so, the better it is for their and their team’s productivity. And so when a Hiring Manager finally finds a candidate they – and the Bar Raiser – want to hire, the last thing they want is for that candidate to turn them down because of Amazon salary negotiation.
Amazon expects you to negotiate your offer
When Amazon makes you their first offer, it is rarely their final one. Instead, the company says, “We like you and want to hire you. But we’re not going to give you our best offer right away. Instead, we expect you to negotiate with us.”
There are two reasons why this happens.
First, Amazon generates individual candidates’ offers in a semi-automatic way. Amazon recruiters pass the candidate’s details to the Compensation and Benefits team and receive a number. The recruiter then gives this number to the candidate.
Second, an individual candidate’s offer is just a number in the compensation range. This means that, in most cases, there is always room to move upward.
Negotiating in good faith is safe
Finally, some candidates begin negotiating their Amazon salary and compensation but do not go far enough. So, at best, they manage to increase their Amazon offer by a few thousand dollars. Those candidates who accept marginal increases in compensation usually do so out of fear that Amazon might “take offence” at their persistence and rescind the offer.
First, let’s dispel the notion that there is some theoretical sum of money that Amazon would find so offensive to pull the job offer. If you are not just trying your luck with outrageous demands but have genuine reasons to believe that you are worth considerably more than Amazon put on the table, it is safe to stick to your requirements. Negotiating in good faith is always safe.
We’ve never heard of Amazon rescinding job offers because candidates asked for too much money. The only cases we know about had something to do with legal matters – e.g. candidates failing background checks and so on.
Second, let’s bust the myth that you cannot reject Amazon’s counter-offers. Amazon does not expect negotiations to be over after one counter-proposal. This is because negotiation is a two-way street and a conversation. It is a process that requires back-and-forth communication until both parties find an agreement they are happy with. Therefore, assuming that you negotiate in good faith, it is perfectly normal and acceptable for candidates to make multiple counter-offers to Amazon’s proposals.
So that’s it. Now you know how to change your mindset and negotiate a higher Amazon offer.
Amazon offers are rarely final
There is always room to negotiate
Negotiating in good faith is safe
You can make multiple counter-offers
Learn How To Negotiate The Perfect Amazon Offer
GG and I worked with hundreds of candidates to help them prepare for their Amazon interviews, and we advised many on how to negotiate a perfect job offer. By getting our signature Amazon Salary Negotiation Whizz course, you can learn how to run an excellent Amazon salary negotiation (including bonus and equity).
Best of luck!