Sounder SIGN UP FOR FREE

Amazon Returnship Program with Alex Mooney (Returnship Manager) and Ramya (Returner)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This podcast is brought to you by the nonprofit, www.returnships.org

Through this episode, we cover Amazon Returnship program, both from Amazon's and Current Retuner's Point of view! First Our Founder, Nabanita De chats with Alex Mooney, Amazon Retrunship Principal Program Manager, amplifying information on everything about Amazon Returnships like how to apply, how to prepare, interview and get hired for Amazon Returnships, what candidates they are looking for, what success looks like and what does in day in a life of an Amazon Returner look like and more.

Then our Founder, Nabanita De, chat with Ramya, a current Amazon Participant more on her experience at Amazon Returnship, how she applied, her tips, how she changed her schedule to go from being a stay at home mom to a career professional and more. 

If you would like to ask our speakers any questions, feel free to leverage our Returnships Forum https://www.returnships.org/forum

Hullo and welcome you listen to yetanother episode of the Returnship podcast, with Nabanita De from the non profitinitiative, returnships.org helping caregivers return to the workforceafter they have had a long haul in career through the returnships.orgnonprofit initiative. We have created a free course forum and apodcast to basically guide you through all stages of returning to theworkforce to the podcast we bring in women who have successfully turn to thework force after they've had a carrier gap, and we also talk to industryprofessionals who can guide us through their and industry level, expertise onreturning to the work and returns programs to day we are chatting withAlex and ramya from the Amazon Returnships Program. Alex mooneycurrently is a principal diversity. Talent acquisition program manager atAmazon and currently the Amazon Returnship program and Ramia is a currentparticipant and returner at the Amazon returnship program. So through thispodcast today, we will basically explore all details regarding camers onthe Tomsha, be it how to get in climes on retorn hips how to apply how toprepare for these retorn hips and what to expect, while being an Amazonreturner later, we will chat more with Ramea on what it is like to be Amazon,returner and her experience to the program. So let's hear it from AlexMooney who is currently running, the Amazon join ship program, thanks Nomono,so the Amazon Return Hip program is a sixteen week paid program whereprofessionals who enter the return hip have the ability to ramp back to theircareers through a virtual work arrangement whereby Amazon provides allthe it equipment and the candidates are working from their own home in thereturns Ip program. Sixteen week performance period, each returner isprovided a structured project plan that outlines exactly the type of work thatthey're going to be engaged in which, by the way, is all very substantivework. It's not busy work. These are...

...actual real, tangible projects andinitiatives that have long term value in terms of both the returners work.Experience and helping them ran back to their career and also impact on thecompany. As I mentioned, the returns Ip opportunity is virtual in nature and atthe end of the returns Ip, those who are offered full time. Employment areexpected to then relocate to the hiring location which, by the way, therelocation assistance is paid for by Anson. That sounds awesome. Could youtell us a little bit more on what this an is? An retorninge like and tenySertin check points that are designed for the attorneys yeah absolutely so.The return hip program is successful because we do offer specific checkpoints and we do offer a lot of support to help the professional kind of dustoff any sort of rust that they might have accumulated on their skill setswhile they were away from their career. But in that regard we also require thatevery returner has a mentor in an on boarding buddy, and so the returner hasregular one on one meetings with their manager. They meet regularly with theirmentor and Their on boarding body is available to help with Ad Hawk relatedquestions in that all remains true. Throughout the sixteen week returns Ipperiod to ensure that everybody is on the same page regarding the successesof their performance and then opportunities for improvement, thereturner does have quarterly checkens, with their managers so weeks, four,eight and twelve, and in those conversations the manager will speak to,as I mentioned, the strength that the returner can double down on in anyopportunities that they might have for improvement, that might be a barrier orimpediment to their success in terms of completing the return hip and receivingthat offer for full time employment. Well, that sounds like an amazingprogram. So for somebody who is listening and wants to apply to thisreturns hip program, what does the interview process look like like? Whatkind of questions are we expecting and how can a candidate this prepared towork for Amazon, township programs sure?...

So any interested party would firstbegin by visiting Amazon dot jobs, return, ships and they'll be able tosee all of our open return. Ship positions posted on our career site, weencourage every applicant to clearly call out that they meet the eligibilitycriteria, which is one or more years of unemployment or under employment andrelatively to the underemployment. We know that simply because somebody mighthave stepped away from their professional career. That does notnecessarily mean that they have no longer a need for an income. So weanticipate that many of our candidates will pick up side, jobs or part timework and that's totally fine and it's okay to list that on their resume. Butwhat we want to clearly see is that they have stopped working in theirprofessional career and in clearly outlining the end date of their timewith their previous employer and their professional career will be able to seethat they meet that basic eligibility criteria for the return hip program n.So once our recruiters review the resume in the identify an eligiblecandidate, they will reach out to the candidate to have an initial discussionaround the opportunity gauge their interest in the role that we haveavailable and will then also proactively work to identify whichhiring locations for the full time position are a suitable or approachablefor that particular candidate. Once they have had that particularconversation, the recruiter then moves into more of a talent, agent, sort ofrole where they spend more time with the candidates going through theirresume and breaking down their previous experience and asking questions aroundexactly what it was that they did in their previous role and the data thatsupports the efforts they were engaged in. Keep in mind that we're fullycognizant that a candidate is drawing on memories from years ago. Many of ourcandidates have not worked in several years, and so the recruiter is there tokind of ask some of those guiding and...

...prompting questions to elicit moreintrospection and figure out how it is that the candidate can convey theirprevious experience through data and through diving deeper into theirscenarios. So the the talent agent will also then spend some time talking aboutsome of the modern interview practices that we engage in an Amazon. So, forexample, we use behavioral interview questions, so the prime example of thisis the question or statement where the interviewer says tell me about a timewhen, and so the recruiter will spend time walking through some of thoseexamples in scenarios with the candidate to make sure that they feelcomfortable, providing responses in relation to those behavioral typeinterview, questions and then the recruiter will also spend time talkingwith the candidate about how they can frame their questions in a way thatprovides a well rounded response in the acronym to think about here is star soproviding responses in the situation task action result format is expectedat Amazon, and so the talent agent, a recruiter, will spend time with thecandidate talking about their particular experience, how they mightframe that using the Star Format in relation to that behavioral interviewquestion from there. If they feel prepared to move on to the next step,which is a phone screen with somebody from the hiring team, then therecruiter will go ahead and coordinate that phone screen and then, if thecandidate makes it pass the initial phone screen with the business, thenthey move into two more virtual interviews and then, after that, thehiring decision is made and determined whether or not to make the offer forthe returns hip opportunity. One thing to note about the interview processthat we engage in is that we interview for potential. You know the keyquestion we ask here is: has this candidate done the job before and if so,it's likely that they can do it again and do they have the fundamentals thatthat clearly demonstrate that they understand the problem space in whichthey will be operating so for finance,...

...for example, if you're applying for afinancial analyst position, do you have that financial acumen that would setyou up for success in that particular role on the tech side of the house?Take a more light weight process where we ask for the candidate to engage in awhite board session that I will allow them to demonstrate their technologyfamiliarity. The Keith thing to note heres were not terribly concerned aboutdesigning the perfect solution, we're more interested in. Does the candidateask clarifying questions and does the candidate take hints well and if bothof those are true that it's likely that the interview will be positive in thatwe will be inclined to make the offer for the return ship roll. Well, thatsounds awesome. I mean there's an entire educated process. Basically,whenever a candidate is trying to return to the workforce, and like youmentioned that Amazon repeter would be working with the candidates to makesure that your interview process, you know, was perfectly well and yourrebill to demonstrate your skills, your experiences and also prep Welleta,before going to the retorn hip program, now Alex I'm so curious to understandwhat Amazon does to master interests and Careo pats of Retorne who are in ajoining Amazon, and how do they help them be successful in the future? But what are the advantages of theAmazon returns? Ip Program is that we recruit on behalf of the entire aircompany, so we are not recruiting for one particular hiring team and oneparticular hiring location, for example. So when we have a position posted, eventhough it might say that the position is in Seattle or Nashville, Tennesseeor Austin Texas, for example, we likely have many other hiring locations andhiring teams that we can engage with to ensure to answer your question that weare matching some of the interest with the candidates so with the primaryinterest being a long term. If everything goes well with the returnhip and you receive that offer for full time employment. Where would you liketo relocate too if you are not within a...

...commutable distance to one of theAmazon offices and so from that initial candidate interest, as it relates tothe higher location? We have many options, as it relates to theirparticular interest in Amazon team, for example. There is some flexibilitythere and we do look at the candidate's previous experience and their interestto see if we do have some opportunities that directly align with theirparticular interests, but but overall, it begins with that discussion aroundcandidate and what their experience has related well to in the past, and wework to make sure that we are setting the candidate up for success andhelping them land in a position that is comfortable for them at Amazon. Well,that sounds great. Having that opportunity to properly align with yourgoals with what you want to do. I think that exactly is what somebody looks forin your future employer, especially after their returning to the workforceafter they have had a gap in career. If somebody who is listening, they want toapply to Amazon. What are some of the things that candidates need to bring tothe table? Wars is something that can be learned and Damaun der Don shipprogram. Sure so, as I mentioned in relation to the finance role, you haveto have that financial acumen. You know one difference between the notion of areturns. Ip versus an apprenticeship, for example, is that the return hip isreally designed to help professionals pick up where they left off, as opposedto an apprenticeship which is designed to up skill or re skill professionalsinto a different profession. So the whole concept around the return ship is,as I mentioned, the professional has done it before, and so we expect thatthey would have that face line, understanding, that's necessary for thetype of role that they have applied for so, for example, a business analyst. Wewould expect that the candidate is familiar with sequel and data analysisand making business recommendations that influence different decisions.Similarly, on the software development...

...side, we would expect that thecandidate would have those computer science fundamentals and in which case,then you know it's really a matter of making sure that we're placing them inthe right role so that they can really play to their strengths as it relatesto those computer science fundamentals. So the basic foundation has to be therenow where we would expect there to be some opportunities to kind of ramp upor, as I mentioned before, kind of brush off any sort of rest on theirskill sets. is we anticipate that whatever brought the professional wayfrom their career and required them to press pause on their career likely didnot involve them doing their profession day to day on a regular basis? So Ilike to say if you pause your career to have children or care for an ill familymember you likely or not, writing excel formulas and Microsoft IC cells. Sothere might be a little bit of health as it relates to kind of refreshingyour memory around some of those systems and tools and expectations, andin which case the returns Ip program is the perfect environment to help peopleramp back to their profession, because there's that support network in placeto help them, you know kind of brush off any rest. But on top of that,Amazon has a number of internal resources, whether it be excel relatedcommunities or online training. Things like that that will help supplementsome of the the skill sets that are required or help people refresh thoseskill stets, but at the end of the day we assess whether or not the candidatehas those fundamentals, and if so, we expect that they'll need just a littlebit of support in getting back into the swing of things. Absolutely Masnavi youdescribed, it sounds like Tenshi. An Amazon means not only the skills thatyou've bring to the table, but there are so many different personality ofdevelopment skill straining at Amazon, which will help you grow in your career,irrespective whatever you pack going forward so Alex. can you define whatsuccess looks like for somebody who would be returning at Amazon to end upgetting an offer or just in general,...

...progressing in their career short? Whatsuccess looks like is different for different roles, so we're hiring for anumber of different positions, but at the end of the day, the successmeasurement is going to be outlined in that project plan that each returnerreceives on their first couple days in the role. So the project plan willoutline exactly the type of initiatives and deliver bolls that are expectedthat the returns hip will execute against during their time in thereturns Ip opportunity, and then it will also outline and keep performanceindicators. So from the start, it will be pretty transparent to the returneras to what it is that they'll be working on how their performance willbe measured and what they actually need to deliver now at a high level. Youknow in order to receive that offer for full time employment. We would expectthat by the end of the return hip period, the returner is operating moreindependently. They are making suggestions more than they're askingquestions or asking for assistance and they've fully ramped into being astrong individual contributor, and they no longer require more of that day today guidance and assistance from their mentor their on boarding, buddy andtheir managers. So they fully stepped into the role. I is another way tophrase it Godin, based on the research that wehave done is having that communication, even with your manager and you'relooking for and any one where you want to go to. I think that can also be rehelped to structure on what best success looks like for your row. Nowyou did mention Alex about some of the trainings that Amazon yts programreturners, get atin specific trainings that you feel like Amis, provides thatreally helps these torner yeah. So Amazon has a number of unique ways thatwe operate, and so some of the trainings that we offer our relative tothe way Amazon works as a business. So, for example, we're pretty famous forrelegating power point to presentations...

...only and we're very much focused on thewritten document, and so we have trainings around writing an Amazon, andso each returner will be provided with links and resources to Amazon writingbest practices. We also engage in proses called working backwards wherewe start with the customer any time we're working on an initiative, andthen we work backward from that customer to figure out exactly what weneed to produce in order to have best in class customer experience and sothere's trainings on the working backward process of the in the Sun. Somany of those things are unique to us, but those are absolutely critical forthe returner to be aware of and acclimate to, in order to be successfulat ins on that's amazing like having all these programs, I think indifferent aspects, just not in the technical rule that you're applying forthat really helps. You grow as a professional and helps you find allthese avenues that you can even pursue, which doesn't necessarily relate to therule that replying, but it could be something else that you might beinterested in so alex through our initiate the return ships at all. Weare helping in Er returners returned to the workforce after they have had agapin career. So what do you think about a Anesia like this? And how doyou think it will really help people? I think the double one thing is we're anAmazon on a mission to normalize career breaks, and so I think you know I'mparticularly excited about this interview, because it helps get theword out that people are not alone very normal for somebody to pause theircareer for expected or unexpected life circumstances, and there are structuredprograms like amazons returns IP program to help professionals pick upwhere they left off. So I think, first and foremost generating weirdness thatreturn hips as a concept is something that people should look for when theyare attempting to restart their career. But, moreover, I think there is a lotto be said about you know, helping people feel good about this next step.Many of our returners have expressed a degree of anxiety about restartingtheir career after so many years away,...

...letting them know that we fullyanticipate that these professionals will require a little bit of support torant back to their profession and that's what our program is designed todo. But on top of that, there's you know a bit of a learning curve for someof the professionals. So if you think about the average returner, they have adecade of experience about five or six years away from their career, and thequestion is: When was the last time they interviewed for a position theylikely held their last position before their career break for several years,so it may be five six seven eight years ago that the professional lastinterviewed for a job in the interview landscape has changed some. As Imentioned, an Amazon like many other employers, we employ the behavioralinterview questions. We expect the interview responses to be framed in theStar format. Situation, task action results. So when we look atorganizations like returns, IPS that Ora operating in this space, I thinkit's really helping people as they prepare for their journey in restartingtheir career, in helping them understand what are the expectationsfrom employer at this point in time. Thank you so much for your kind words.Now that you know listeners, we had an opportunity to listen from amazonspoint of view about their amazing Redon's P program, and I really reallyrecommend everybody to apply to this program. Let's hear it from Ramia whois actually return at Amazon currently and here her journey so Ramia tell usin filmed about your journey as a returner sure we relocated to us inDecember of two thousand a eleven and that's when my career break began andI've been out of work force for almost ten years now and to say that it wasintimidating to even think about rejoining work feels like an interstatement. A lot has changed in terms of technologies and processes in theindustry, so it felt impossible to get an opportunity to interview whenengineers who are currently working are applying to the same job that I wasinterested in and I have applied to more than hundred jobs e and I eitherdid not receive any response or was...

...ejected as they had receivedapplications from more qualified candidates, and this was adisheartening, because I was confident that if I had the opportunity I couldscale up and perform to meet or exceed their expectations. I applied to aMason retentit and I highlighted my gap in the career and from the time Ireceived my phone screen with the recruiter it took about a month to getmy offer, so the process moved very quickly absolutely, and I'm really gladthat you had that opportunity through Amazon to Co Program, Mali, showcase,your talent and the have that experience of returning back to theworkforce. So how has your returns Ip experience being with Amazon? Well, Iwas excited and nervous to join a Mazon, the ritish Ip experience was great. Ireceived my laptop and other had where, a week before my start date, my managerreach it out to me before I joined and explain what to expect. On my first day,I was given step by step instructions on how to set up my laptop and I wasintroduced to a mentor and on boarding body who helped me whenever I was stuckor felt overwhelmed, and there was a plan in place that listed. What are theactivities that I'll be doing on a week to week basis and what are thedeliverables that are expected from me over the course of my returns Ip and Iwas also provided trainings to ramp up on new technologies and the processesused with in Amazon. This made me less anxious because I knew what wasexpected from me at every step of the way, and I had chickens with my managerand Mentor weekly and they provided suggestions on how to improve and whatwas my strongest skills. That's awesome, I'm glad you had like such a goodexperience and especially having an onboard, Ng Body and mentor to go to. Ithink that really helps on boarding into new rules, especially when you'rereturning to the workforce. You need all the help. I'm really glad thatAmazon was able to provide that...

...experience for you. So how did hereally prepare going into this retorn hip program and what kind of trainingsdid you take to be qualified for this returns program? The first thing thatwas the most daunting tasks that I had to address was to update my resume andmy linking profile. I had ignored it for almost a decade and getting it inshape was a big task, and one more thing that I had to set up was creative, dedicated workspace for me,so that I can get into a mental state to work after these many years, and onething I did was, I started scouting the job boats to understand what the jobmarket looks like today and find out what skills I need to work on in orderto apply for the jobs that are available, and I was passionate aboutQa, and so I wanted to get back into the field of quality assurance. So Igot certified as a foundation level Tester from Ist Dis helped me to answerall foundation level, questions on quality assurance, and it gave meconfidence to attend interviews, and I took several courses on linkedinlearning, corser and jude on sequel and Python. I practiced solving codingchallenges on Hacker rank and I did some research on the companies onglaster and Linton. That's also getting something you pointed out. Where verycorrectly is you have to ramp up your desum, and you know you have all thesedifferent resources that you can leverage to get back to work. I thinkthat is awesome that you were able to go through all of these trainings tohelp escalate to returning to the workforce. I'm very curious to knowwhat did you like the best about the Mazon retorn hip program, anything thatyou feel like you want to call out for listeners for listening and really wantto pursue to turn ships, especially at Amazon Yeah. This is what I feel that I joinedthe team as an intern, but I am treated as their equal and my opinions. Myobservations are heard and they are...

...valued and I receive a lot of supportfrom my peers and managers and they provide constant feedback. So I canwork and be successful in my role and I get an opportunity to work on the besttechnologies and there are many opportunities of grots and that's whatI love about rations Ip, a Amazon having a voice heard at the workforce.I think it's one of the biggest reasons: Wiley employees continue to stay andgrow and excel in their roles, and I'm so glad that you know you are havingthat experience. What differences do you really see at your workplace beforeyou took the gap and now like Prega and post camp yeah, since I had almost a decade, long breaklots of it has changed. A lot of technologies and processes is verydifferent from what I had experienced before my gap and it's more edge, isleand fast pace now, and there are many tools that I had worked in the pastthat are either obsolete or they have completely transformed they're, notunfamiliar to be, and some of them have even been replaced by other. Mostpopular toos, so that is something that I am ramping upon. All right, that'sgreat, it seems like you are having such a great experience. Are there anyadvice? Do you want to give to unofficial returners who are thinkingof returning to the workforce? Sure my first advice is: Don't wait apply, andI also want to say that it's your choice to take a break and it is notthe wrong choice. So you don't owe anybody in any explanation for yourcareer break and there's no shame in taking a break, be patient and don'tlose hope. Another thing that I want to say is network reach out to people onlinked in and other social media o. Some of these messages might be ignored,but there are many people who will gladly refer you if you ask them to thejobs in their companies or otherwise, and what helped me to get back at towork was getting into the Rythm of working even before I started applying so seteight hours, also in a day as your work...

...hours, even if you're not working rightnow, and this will help in establishing expectations with your family andespecially if you have a child and it'll, make the transition easier foryou to something that you really interest in that you pointed out it'sin a setting time, aside to slowly transition your mindset from being likea stay at home care, giver to slowly turn into the world force and being acareer professional. I think I agree with that is like having the dedicatedtime and space and stilly transitioning that we really help you excel when youactually start working so just to be on that topic. Did you see your scheduledrastically change? When you went from a stay at home, mom to being a ritornel?Could you give us a little bit in sight on you know what your day today scedulelooks like sure yeah. Definitely, the schedule haschanged drastically for sure, because earlier I used to run, errands plantlay rich for my child during the week and there was absolutely no plan. Itwas all at hock and I would just go about to day. However, I want it, but since I startedworking, I planned my week in advance and run edens finish up. Foot prep forthe week wrap up the household chores on weekends days. It's a shareresponsibility between me and my husband. I take care of the food and myhusband helps with her daughter because of the pandemic. We are going throughdistance learning, so he helped me set her up with getting her locked infixing her breakfast, because I have meetings in the mornings and we work asa team and we support each other if we have conflicting schedules. So, yes,there is a lot of impact on the schedule and there's a lot ofdifference from what was before and now it's always so great to have like asupporting family member, especially you know when you are making thetransition son really really glad you have that support for yourself, soRamia non profit retorsio that or how do you think that would have helped inyour journey? If you had that when you...

...were returning to the work force yeah when I started looking for jobsafter my career break, I had no idea about a ritin program or that it evenexisted. Many women and peers even now are ask me about what I need when Icall myself a returner, so there's there's a lack of awareness about theseprograms and retains Ip start or will help people like me get an opportunityand be heard and a chance to work her way back into workforce. One issue Ifaced was not knowing how to search for jobs and companies who hire people withcareer breaks. I think every company has a different name for such programs.I have come across returns. Ip Re launch re entry, etc and highlightingwhich companies offer retenir programs and their time lines, because I knowthat they open the application process only for a certain duration and thereis a cohort system so putting out that sort of information and making peopleaware of such programs will greatly help someone who is currently on breakor is even thinking of taking a break, but is you know, hesitant because itmight feel impossible to get back after taking a break? Absolutely I totally agree and that'swhat we are trying to do through our initiative is the kind of raysawareness through all stages of returning to the workforce right fromwhen you're in your kitchen, you're thinking about you, and I want to goback to world to actually making you be ready to sit at the interview table andactually interview- and you know, get these torn hip positions. So have aquick question for Alex that now that we hurt, you know both from you andRami about this amazing Amazon turn ship program. When does the next startfor the Amazon tonti program for people to apply to were super? SuperInterested in applying right now, you know we actually recognize that peopledecide to return to their careers on their own time lines, and so we aretrying to meet these professionals where they are in their journey torestart their careers, and so we don't...

...actually use a cohort model. We are ona rolling sort of evergreen recruitment approach to return ships and certainlythat's not to say that there isn't some sort of camaraderie or engagement withother returners. Once you come into the Amazon Return hip program. You know wedo have different instant message group and you know the returners contact eachother through various formal and informal means, but all that is to saythat we designed our program knowing that different returners of differentneeds, and we wouldn't want to ask somebody to wait to restart theircareer for the next cohort, if at all possible. So we are constantlyrecruiting the jobs that we have open on the career website or active jobs,and we are reviewing resumes as we speak. Awesome that sounds good well.Thank you. So Much Alex and Ramia for joining us today and sharing this someamazing Amazon Township Program and I'm sure the listeners were listening. Youknow they are super inspired by the work that both of you are doing, and Iam very, very hopeful that you'll have so many candidates who are superinspired from this and a podcast and would love to apply to the Amazonretorn hip program so Alex and Ramia. Is there a way to get in touch with you?If people have more questions on these internship programs, sure you know, Ithink the best way is to visit Amazon dot, jobs, return, ships and click ofplay. As I mentioned, our recruiters are actively touching base with thecandidates and, as Ramia mentioned, don't wait. Just click apply. You knowall the that way to. On the other end, when the recruiter reaches out is asimple conversation, it's no more commitment than that, and it's just away for the candidate to get in touch with the recruiter, to learn more aboutthe opportunities from the recruiter that is best equipped to talk about theroles that that particular professional might be a good fit for so apply to day.

Awesome. Thank you so much. Thank youboth of yew for Johnny and thank you listeners to turning into the tetonsips podcast aware we tell stories of literals and also appliers, who arelooking for people who have had a gaping career. Thank you so mucheverybody for tuning and thank you. Thank you, but my like.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (9)