Nabanita De Foundation Returnships Podcast
Nabanita De Foundation Returnships Podcast

Episode 8 · 9 months ago

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 yet another episode of the Returnship podcast, with Nabanita De from the non profit initiative, returnships. org helping caregivers return to the workforce after they have had a long haul in career through the returnships. org nonprofit initiative. We have created a free course forum and a podcast to basically guide you through all stages of returning to the workforce to the podcast we bring in women who have successfully turn to the work force after they' ve had a carrier gap, and we also talk to industry professionals who can guide us through their and industry level, expertise on returning to the work and returns programs to day we are chatting with Alex and ramya from the Amazon Returnships Program. Alex mooney currently is a principal diversity. Talent acquisition program manager at Amazon and currently the Amazon Returnship program and Ramia is a current participant and returner at the Amazon returnship program. So through this podcast today, we will basically explore all details regarding camers on the Tomsha, be it how to get in climes on retorn hips how to apply how to prepare for these retorn hips and what to expect, while being an Amazon returner 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 Alex Mooney who is currently running, the Amazon join ship program, thanks Nomono, so the Amazon Return Hip program is a sixteen week paid program where professionals who enter the return hip have the ability to ramp back to their careers through a virtual work arrangement whereby Amazon provides all the it equipment and the candidates are working from their own home in the returns Ip program. Sixteen week performance period, each returner is provided a structured project plan that outlines exactly the type of work that they' re going to be engaged in which, by the way, is all very substantive work. It' s not busy work. These are actual real, tangible...

...projects and initiatives 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 the company. As I mentioned, the returns Ip opportunity is virtual in nature and at the end of the returns Ip, those who are offered full time. Employment are expected to then relocate to the hiring location which, by the way, the relocation assistance is paid for by Anson. That sounds awesome. Could you tell us a little bit more on what this an is? an retorninge like and teny Sertin check points that are designed for the attorneys yeah absolutely so. the return hip program is successful because we do offer specific check points and we do offer a lot of support to help the professional kind of dust off any sort of rust that they might have accumulated on their skill sets while they were away from their career. But in that regard we also require that every returner has a mentor in an on boarding buddy, and so the returner has regular one on one meetings with their manager. They meet regularly with their mentor and their on boarding body is available to help with Ad Hawk related questions in that all remains true. Throughout the sixteen week returns Ip period to ensure that everybody is on the same page regarding the successes of their performance and then opportunities for improvement, the returner 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 any opportunities that they might have for improvement, that might be a barrier or impediment to their success in terms of completing the return hip and receiving that offer for full time employment. Well, that sounds like an amazing program. So for somebody who is listening and wants to apply to this returns hip program, what does the interview process look like like? What kind of questions are we expecting and how can a candidate this prepared to work for Amazon, township...

...programs sure? So any interested party would first begin by visiting Amazon dot jobs, return, ships and they' ll be able to see all of our open return. Ship positions posted on our career site, we encourage every applicant to clearly call out that they meet the eligibility criteria, which is one or more years of unemployment or under employment and relatively to the underemployment. We know that simply because somebody might have stepped away from their professional career. That does not necessarily mean That they have no longer a need for an income. So we anticipate that many of our candidates will pick up side, jobs or part time work and that' s totally fine and it' s okay to list that on their resume. But what we want to clearly see is that they have stopped working in their professional career and in clearly outlining the end date of their time with their previous employer and their professional career will be able to see that they meet that basic eligibility criteria for the return hip program n. So once our recruiters review the resume in the identify an eligible candidate, they will reach out to the candidate to have an initial discussion around the opportunity gauge their interest in the role that we have available and will then also proactively work to identify which hiring locations for the full time position are a suitable or approachable for that particular candidate. Once they have had that particular conversation, the recruiter then moves into more of a talent, agent, sort of role where they spend more time with the candidates going through their resume and breaking down their previous experience and asking questions around exactly what it was that they did in their previous role and the data that supports the efforts they were engaged in. Keep in mind that we' re fully cognizant that a candidate is drawing on memories from years ago. Many of our candidates have not worked in several years, and so the recruiter is there to kind of ask some of those guiding and prompting questions...

...to elicit more introspection and figure out how it is that the candidate can convey their previous experience through data and through diving deeper into their scenarios. So the the talent agent will also then spend some time talking about some of the modern interview practices that we engage in an Amazon. So, for example, we use behavioral interview questions, so the prime example of this is the question or statement where the interviewer says tell me about a time when, and so the recruiter will spend time walking through some of those examples in scenarios with the candidate to make sure that they feel comfortable, providing responses in relation to those behavioral type interview, questions and then the recruiter will also spend time talking with the candidate about how they can frame their questions in a way that provides a well rounded response in the acronym to think about here is star so providing responses in the situation task action result format is expected at Amazon, and so the talent agent, a recruiter, will spend time with the candidate talking about their particular experience, how they might frame that using the Star Format in relation to that behavioral interview question 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 the recruiter will go ahead and coordinate that phone screen and then, if the candidate makes it pass the initial phone screen with the business, then they move into two more virtual interviews and then, after that, the hiring decision is made and determined whether or not to make the offer for the returns hip opportunity. One thing to note about the interview process that we engage in is that we interview for potential. You know the key question 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 that that clearly demonstrate that they understand the problem space in which they will be operating so...

...for finance, for example, if you' re applying for a financial analyst position, do you have that financial acumen that would set you 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 a white board session that I will allow them to demonstrate their technology familiarity. The Keith thing to note heres were not terribly concerned about designing the perfect solution, we' re more interested in. Does the candidate ask clarifying questions and Does the candidate take hints well and if both of those are true that it' s likely that the interview will be positive in that we will be inclined to make the offer for the return ship roll. Well, that sounds awesome. I mean there' s an entire educated process. Basically, whenever a candidate is trying to return to the workforce, and like you mentioned that Amazon repeter would be working with the candidates to make sure that your interview process, you know, was perfectly well and your rebill to demonstrate your skills, your experiences and also prep Welleta, before going to the retorn hip program, now Alex I' m so curious to understand what Amazon does to master interests and Careo pats of Retorne who are in a joining Amazon, and how do they help them be successful in the future? But what are the advantages of the Amazon returns? Ip Program is that we recruit on behalf of the entire air company, so we are not recruiting for one particular hiring team and one particular hiring location, for example. So when we have a position posted, even though it might say that the position is in Seattle or Nashville, Tennessee or Austin Texas, for example, we likely have many other hiring locations and hiring teams that we can engage with to ensure to answer your question that we are matching some of the interest with the candidates so with the primary interest being a long term. If everything goes well with the return hip and you receive that offer for full time employment. Where would you like to relocate too if you are not within...

...a commutable distance to one of the Amazon offices and so from that initial candidate interest, as it relates to the higher location? We have many options, as it relates to their particular interest in Amazon team, for example. There is some flexibility There and we do look at the candidate' s previous experience and their interest to see if we do have some opportunities that directly align with their particular interests, but but overall, it begins with that discussion around candidate and what their experience has related well to in the past, and we work to make sure that we are setting the candidate up for success and helping them land in a position that is comfortable for them at Amazon. Well, that sounds great. Having that opportunity to properly align with your goals with what you want to do. I think that exactly is what somebody looks for in your future employer, especially after their returning to the workforce after they have had a gap in career. If somebody who is listening, they want to apply to Amazon. What are some of the things that candidates need to bring to the table? Wars is something that can be learned and Damaun der Don ship program. Sure so, as I mentioned in relation to the finance role, you have to have that financial acumen. you know one difference between the notion of a returns. Ip versus an apprenticeship, for example, is that the return hip is really designed to help professionals pick up where they left off, as opposed to an apprenticeship which is designed to up skill or re skill professionals into 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 that they would have that face line, understanding, that' s necessary for the type of role that they have applied for so, for example, a business analyst. We would expect that the candidate is familiar with sequel and data analysis and making business recommendations that influence different decisions. Similarly, on the software development...

...side, we would expect that the candidate 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 in the right role so that they can really play to their strengths as it relates to those computer science fundamentals. So the basic foundation has to be there now where we would expect there to be some opportunities to kind of ramp up or, as I mentioned before, kind of brush off any sort of rest on their skill sets. is we anticipate that whatever brought the professional way from their career and required them to press pause on their career likely did not involve them doing their profession day to day on a regular basis? So I like to say if you pause your career to have children or care for an ill family member you likely or not, writing excel formulas and Microsoft IC cells. So there might be a little bit of health as it relates to kind of refreshing your memory around some of those systems and tools and expectations, and in which case the returns Ip program is the perfect environment to help people ramp back to their profession, because there' s that support network in place to 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 related communities or online training. Things like that that will help supplement some of the the skill sets that are required or help people refresh those skill stets, but at the end of the day we assess whether or not the candidate has those fundamentals, and if so, we expect that they' ll need just a little bit of support in getting back into the swing of things. Absolutely Masnavi you described, it sounds like Tenshi. An Amazon means not only the skills that you' ve bring to the table, but there are so many different personality of development skill straining at Amazon, which will help you grow in your career, irrespective whatever you pack going forward so Alex. can you define what success looks like for somebody who would be returning at Amazon to end up getting an offer or just in general, progressing...

...in their career short? What success looks like is different for different roles, so we' re hiring for a number of different positions, but at the end of the day, the success measurement is going to be outlined in that project plan that each returner receives on their first couple days in the role. So the project plan will outline exactly the type of initiatives and deliver bolls that are expected that the returns hip will execute against during their time in the returns Ip opportunity, and then it will also outline and keep performance indicators. So from the start, it will be pretty transparent to the returner as to what it is that they' ll be working on how their performance will be measured and what they actually need to deliver now at a high level. You know in order to receive that offer for full time employment. We would expect that by the end of the return hip period, the returner is operating more independently. They are making suggestions more than they' re asking questions or asking for assistance and they' ve fully ramped into being a strong individual contributor, and they no longer require more of that day to day guidance and assistance from their mentor their on boarding, buddy and their managers. So they fully stepped into the role. I is another way to phrase it Godin, based on the research that we have done is having that communication, even with your manager and you' re looking for and any one where you want to go to. I think that can also be re helped to structure on what best success looks like for your row. Now you did mention Alex about some of the trainings that Amazon yts program returners, get atin specific trainings that you feel like Amis, provides that really helps these torner yeah. So Amazon has a number of unique ways that we operate, and so some of the trainings that we offer our relative to the way Amazon works as a business. So, for example, we' re pretty famous for relegating power point to presentations only and we...

...' re very much focused on the written document, and so we have trainings around writing an Amazon, and so each returner will be provided with links and resources to Amazon writing best practices. We also engage in proses called working backwards where we start with the customer any time we' re working on an initiative, and then we work backward from that customer to figure out exactly what we need to produce in order to have best in class customer experience and so there ' s trainings on the working backward process of the in the Sun. So many of those things are unique to us, but those are absolutely critical for the returner to be aware of and acclimate to, in order to be successful at ins on that' s amazing like having all these programs, I think in different aspects, just not in the technical rule that you' re applying for that really helps. you grow as a professional and helps you find all these avenues that you can even pursue, which doesn' t necessarily relate to the rule that replying, but it could be something else that you might be interested in so alex through our initiate the return ships at all. We are helping in Er returners returned to the workforce after they have had a gapin career. So what do you think about a Anesia like this? And how do you think it will really help people? I think the double one thing is we' re an Amazon on a mission to normalize career breaks, and so I think you know I' m particularly excited about this interview, because it helps get the word out that people are not alone very normal for somebody to pause their career for expected or unexpected life circumstances, and there are structured programs like amazons returns IP program to help professionals pick up where they left off. So I think, first and foremost generating weirdness that return hips as a concept is something that people should look for when they are attempting to restart their career. But, moreover, I think there is a lot to be said about you know, helping people feel good about this next step. Many of our returners have expressed a degree of anxiety about restarting their career after so many years away, letting them know that we fully anticipate that these professionals will require a...

...little bit of support to rant back to their profession and that' s what our program is designed to do. But on top of that, there' s you know a bit of a learning curve for some of the professionals. about five or six years away from their career, and the question is: When was the last time they interviewed for a position they likely held their last position before their career break for several years, so it may be five six seven eight years ago that the professional last interviewed for a job in the interview landscape has changed some. As I mentioned, an Amazon like many other employers, we employ the behavioral interview questions. we expect the interview responses to be framed in the Star format. Situation, task action results. So when we look at organizations like returns, IPS that Ora operating in this space, I think it' s really helping people as they prepare for their journey in restarting their career, in helping them understand what are the expectations from 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 amazons point of view about their amazing Redon' s P program, and I really really recommend everybody to apply to this program. Let' s hear it from Ramia who is actually return at Amazon currently and here her journey so Ramia tell us in filmed about your journey as a returner sure we relocated to us in December of two thousand a eleven and that' s when my career break began and I' ve been out of work force for almost ten years now and to say that it was intimidating to even think about rejoining work feels like an inter statement. A lot has changed in terms of technologies and processes in the industry, so it felt impossible to get an opportunity to interview when engineers who are currently working are applying to the same job that I was interested in and I have applied to more than hundred jobs e and I either did not receive any response or...

...was ejected as they had received applications from more qualified candidates, and this was a disheartening, because I was confident that if I had the opportunity I could scale up and perform to meet or exceed their expectations. I applied to a Mason retentit and I highlighted my gap in the career and from the time I received my phone screen with the recruiter it took about a month to get my offer, so the process moved very quickly absolutely, and I' m really glad that you had that opportunity through Amazon to Co Program, Mali, showcase, your talent and the have that experience of returning back to the workforce. So how has your returns Ip experience being with Amazon? Well, I was excited and nervous to join a Mazon, the ritish Ip experience was great. I received my laptop and other had where, a week before my start date, my manager reach 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 was introduced to a mentor and on was a plan in place that listed. What are the activities that I' ll be doing on a week to week basis and what are the deliverables that are expected from me over the course of my returns Ip and I was also provided trainings to ramp up on new technologies and the processes used with in Amazon. This made me less anxious because I knew what was expected from me at every step of the way, and I had chickens with my manager and Mentor weekly and they provided suggestions on how to improve and what was my strongest skills. That' s awesome, I' m glad you had like such a good experience and especially having an onboard, Ng Body and mentor to go to. I think that really helps on boarding into new rules, especially when you ' re returning to the workforce. you need all the help. I'...

...m really glad that Amazon was able to provide that experience for you. So how did he really prepare going into this retorn hip program and what kind of trainings did you take to be qualified for this returns program? The first thing that was The most daunting tasks that I had to address was to update my resume and my linking profile. I had ignored it for almost a decade and getting it in shape 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 one thing I did was, I started scouting the job boats to understand what the job market looks like today and find out what skills I need to work on in order to apply for the jobs that are available, and I was passionate about Qa, and so I wanted to get back into the field of quality assurance. So I got certified as a foundation level Tester from Ist Dis helped me to answer all foundation level, questions on quality assurance, and it gave me confidence to attend interviews, and I took several courses on linkedin learning, corser and jude on sequel and Python. I practiced solving coding challenges on Hacker rank and I did some research on the companies on glaster and Linton. That ' s also getting something you pointed out. Where very correctly is you have to ramp up your desum, and you know you have all these different resources that you can leverage to get back to work. I think that is awesome that you were able to go through all of these trainings to help escalate to returning to the workforce. I' m very curious to know what did you like the best about the Mazon retorn hip program, anything that you feel like you want to call out for listeners for listening and really want to pursue to turn ships, especially at Amazon Yeah. This is what I feel that I joined the team as an intern, but I am treated as their equal and my opinions. my observations are heard and they are valued and I receive a...

...lot of support from my peers and managers and they provide constant feedback. So I can work and be successful in my role and I get an opportunity to work on the best technologies and there are many opportunities of grots and that' s what I 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 and grow and excel in their roles, and I' m so glad that you know you are having that experience. What differences do you really see at your workplace before you took the gap and now like Prega and post camp yeah, since I had almost a decade, long break lots of it has changed. a lot of technologies and processes is very different from what I had experienced before my gap and it' s more edge, isle and fast pace now, and there are many tools that I had worked in the past that are either obsolete or they have completely transformed they' re, not unfamiliar to be, and some of them have even been replaced by other. Most popular toos, so that is something that I am ramping upon. All right, that' s great, it seems like you are having such a great experience. Are there any advice? Do you want to give to unofficial returners who are thinking of returning to the workforce? Sure my first advice is: Don' t wait apply, and I also want to say that choice. So you don' t owe anybody in any explanation for your career break and there' s no shame in taking a break, be patient and don' t lose hope. Another thing that I want to say is network reach out to people on linked 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 the jobs in their companies or otherwise, and what helped me to get back at to work was getting into the Rythm of working even before I started applying so set eight hours, also in a day...

...as your work hours, even if you' re not working right now, and this will help in establishing expectations with your family and especially if you have a child and it' ll, make the transition easier for you to something that you really interest in that you pointed out it' s in a setting time, aside to slowly transition your mindset from being like a stay at home care, giver to slowly turn into the world force and being a career professional. I think I agree with that is like having the dedicated time and space and stilly transitioning that we really help you excel when you actually start working so just to be on that topic. Did you see your schedule drastically 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 scedule looks like sure yeah. Definitely, the schedule has changed drastically for sure, because earlier I used to run, errands plant lay rich for my child during the week and there was absolutely no plan. It was all at hock and I would just go about to day. However, I want it, but since I started working, I planned my week in advance and run edens finish up. Foot prep for the week wrap up the household chores on weekends days. It' s a share responsibility between me and my husband. I take care of the food and my husband helps with her daughter because of the pandemic. We are going through distance learning, so he helped me set her up with getting her locked in fixing her breakfast, because I have meetings in the mornings and we work as a 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 of difference from what was before and now it' s always so great to have like a supporting family member, especially you know when you are making the transition son really really glad you have that support for yourself, so Ramia non profit retorsio that or how do you were returning to the work force yeah when I started looking for jobs after...

...my career break, I had no idea about a ritin program or that it even existed. Many women and peers even now are ask me about what I need when I call myself a returner, so there' s there' s a lack of awareness about these programs and retains Ip start or will help people like me get an opportunity and be heard and a chance to work her way back into workforce. One issue I faced was not knowing how to search for jobs and companies who hire people with career breaks. I think every company has a different name for such programs. I have come across returns. Ip Re launch re entry, etc and highlighting which companies offer retenir programs and their time lines, because I know that they open the application process only for a certain duration and there is a cohort system so putting out that sort of information and making people aware of such programs will greatly help someone who is currently on break or is even thinking of taking a break, but is you know, hesitant because it might feel impossible to get back after taking a break? Absolutely I totally agree and that' s what we are trying to do through our initiative is the kind of rays awareness through all stages of returning to the workforce right from when you' re in your kitchen, you' re thinking about you, and I want to go back to world to actually making you be ready to sit at the interview table and actually interview- and you know, get these torn hip positions. So have a quick question for Alex that now that we hurt, you know both from you and Rami about this amazing Amazon turn ship program. When does the next start for the Amazon tonti program for people to apply to were super? super Interested in applying right now, you know we actually recognize that people decide to return to their careers on their own time lines, and so we are trying to meet these professionals where they are in...

...their journey to restart their careers, and so we don' t actually use a cohort model. We are on a rolling sort of evergreen recruitment approach to return ships and certainly that' s not to say that there isn' t some sort of camaraderie or engagement with other returners. Once you come into the Amazon Return hip program. You know we do have different instant message group and you know the returners contact each other through various formal and informal means, but all that is to say that we designed our program knowing that different returners of different needs, and we wouldn' t want to ask somebody to wait to restart their career for the next cohort, if at all possible. So we are constantly recruiting 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 some amazing Amazon Township Program and I' m sure the listeners were listening. You know they are super inspired by the work that both of you are doing, and I am very, very hopeful that you' ll have so many candidates who are super inspired from this and a podcast and would love to apply to the Amazon retorn 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, I think the best way is to visit Amazon dot, jobs, return, ships and click of play. As I mentioned, our recruiters are actively touching base with the candidates and, as Ramia mentioned, don' t wait. Just click apply. You know all the that way to. On the other end, when the recruiter reaches out is a simple conversation, it' s no more commitment than that, and it' s just a way for the candidate to get in touch with the recruiter, to learn more about the opportunities from the recruiter that is best equipped to talk about the roles that that particular professional might be a good fit for so apply to day. Awesome. Thank you so much. Thank you both...

...of yew for Johnny and thank you listeners to turning into the tetons ips podcast aware we tell stories of literals and also appliers, who are looking for people who have had a gaping career. Thank you so much everybody for tuning and Thank you. Thank you, but my like.

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