Netflix interview process, questions & best practices
Like most FAANG companies, getting hired by Netflix is no mean feat. You'll want to make sure you've done significant prep before your interview. But don't worry, we have you covered
7 min read
21 Apr, 2022
Netflix is part of the FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google) group of companies. Apart from these companies being part of the NASDAQ, they are also known for being even harder to get into than Ivy League schools.
If we could compare a company to a "high-performance sport" that would be Netflix. Netflix has been known to be cut-throat when it comes to the interview process—which is something that they don’t take lightly.
Before you land an interview with Netflix, we will go over everything you must know. From preparation, information, and what to expect.
Netflix Interview Process
Netflix has an extremely difficult interview process—which consists of many layers called "screens". The hard part is—you have to pass through all of these interviews without messing up. If you mess up one time… It’s game over.
On top of all of this, you should know that they put a heavy focus on culture—sometimes even more than technical knowledge. In total the interview process can be broken into the following 4 stages:
- Recruiter Pre-Screen
- Technical Screen
- Onsite Part 1
- Onsite Part 2
But before diving into each stage, let's discuss what you should do to prepare for your Netflix interview.
A 3-step preparation guide for the interview:
Study your employer:
If you are looking to score a coveted position at Netflix it is a good idea to study their systems and process. Along with this—you should know that they are culture-focused, so… Make sure to brush up on all of their cores values.
Update your resume:
Netflix is focused on data and analytics when hiring, so it is a good idea to update both your resume and LinkedIn profile to make sure that they are succinct. Make sure to gear all of the information towards the role that you are applying for and make sure that it matches their core values.
Make sure you can code in their stack
Most tech companies expect you to be proficient in at least one specific programming language when applying to a tech or software position. These languages can be Python, Java, C/C++, and various other ones.
Of course, it helps if you work with the exact language that Netflix uses. Other languages can work to your benefit if they start a specific project that deals with that language. So, make sure you are proficient in at least one of these programming languages.
Read their developer blog
It's great preparation to read the company's developer blog before your interview, which most large tech companies have these days.
By reading their developer blog you can "pull back the curtain" on their development processes which is also great way of preparing questions for Netflix at the end of your interview.
Interview Process Timeline:
Once you begin the interview process at Netflix, you will have 3 different "screens" that you will have to pass to get a shot at a job. This is the expected timeline of each screen:
- Recruiter Pre-Screen: This is the initial point of the interview process. Once the recruiter gets your resume, it will take about 1 week to schedule the interview.
- Technical Screen: Once the interview with the recruiter is done, it will take up to 1 week for this hiring manager to schedule the following interview.
- On-Site: This is that last interview. It can take up to 2 weeks to get this interview scheduled. After this interview, Netflix will decide if they want to hire you.
Interview Conductor: The recruiter conducts the initial interview with the possibility of another call by the hiring manager.
Interview Duration: 30mins
If a recruiter takes a liking to a resume that you have submitted or your LinkedIn profile, chances are… They will reach out to you and schedule a 30-minute over-the-phone interview.
You will want to have the Netflix Core Values memorized to a "T", because this is the knowledge that the recruiter will test you on over the phone. They might also go over technical information but at this point, they’ll want to gauge your enthusiasm towards the job.
Would you like a 4 day work week?
This is an over-the-phone interview that is conducted by the hiring manager and is divided into 2 parts.
Interview Conductor: Hiring Manager
Interview Duration: The over-the-phone interview is 45mins. The take-home project will take 6-8 hours.
Part 1: The hiring manager will be brief and will only take about 15mins. This part is geared towards behavioral questions. The hiring manager at Netflix will also go over the information that is found on your resume.
Part 2: If you stay on the phone with the hiring manager—you will go through another round of technical questions. However, you do have another option of taking an assignment home. In this case, you will have 6-8 hours to complete the assignment.
Assignment Example: The assignment will probably consist of some coding challenges such as building a microservice that works.
On-Site (Part 1):
In the first round of on-site interviews, you will have a mix of 4 Interviews (1:1 and 2:1). Most of the interviews will be conducted by the engineering team.
Interview Conductor: Engineering team and HR manager
Interview Duration: 4 segments of 45mins each.
You will be faced with some questions and exercises such as:
- Technical Questions: Specific questions geared towards the job and technologies.
- White Board Exercises: These will be design or code-based exercises.
- Cultural Questions: These questions will refer back to the Netflix Culture Document.
On-Site (Part 2):
The last round will revolve around higher-level technical questions, along with a focus on how you can be a fit for the culture at Netflix. Expect the questions from the interview to be more open-ended.
Interview Conductor: This interview can be conducted from a variety of roles such as the HR department, hiring manager, director, or engineering manager.
Interview Duration: 3 segments of 45mins.
Post-interview next steps
To receive a job offer from Netflix, the hiring team will have to reach a unanimous decision about your outcome. Any teammate that does not agree will lead to your disqualification.
This is because Netflix is culture-centric and wants to make sure that everyone that gets hired is a good fit.
Once your interview process is complete, it could take the Netflix hiring team up to 2 weeks to get back to you with a response. If you hear back, chances are that they have considered you for the position.
You will then receive an offer letter along with information that goes over what the next steps will be.
No job offer:
If 2 weeks go by and you hear crickets—chances are, you probably did not get the job. Netflix is notorious for not giving feedback to its candidates so do not expect any. This could either be because you did not fit the culture, or you don’t have enough experience.
The tough part is—if you want to reapply, you will have to wait 6 months to a year.
List of questions you can encounter during the interview:
It’s good to be prepared when heading to the interview. That is why we compiled a list of culture-focused and technical-based questions that you can expect to encounter during the interview:
- Name five devices you can watch Netflix on – Systems engineer candidate
- What would you do if you were the CEO? – Partner product group candidate
- Describe how you would deal with a very opinionated coworker.
- Tell me about a previous time you screwed up at your previous job.
- What has been the biggest challenge while you work?
- How do you improve Netflix’s service? – Financial analyst candidate
- Who do you think are Netflix’s competitors and why? – Creative coordinator candidate
- How do you test the performance of your service? – Software engineer candidate
Respond to questions by using the STAR Methodology
Because Netflix is focused on maintaining a strong company culture—the majority of questions that the hiring manager will ask will be situational, cultural, and behavioral-style questions. Like the example questions above.
When asked these questions it is very easy to get nervous and mix up all of our responses. In this situation, the best way to stay structured is by using the STAR Methodology, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result
Let’s dive into an example so that you can better understand this method:
How did you handle a task where you had a deadline that you couldn’t meet?
Don’t generalize the information that you are conveying****. Be as specific as possible when describing the situation, so that the person asking the question understands the context.
Example: Because the last company I was working at was growing so quickly, we did not have enough staff to cover all of the projects. Most people like me had more projects than we could handle, and that did cause stress and tension.
Describe your responsibility and the goal you were working towards.
Example: I was a project manager that was in charge of application releases. I had to make sure that the applications were launched in the right order and on the right date.
You must provide what specific actions you took towards solving the problem. Also, make sure that you do not focus on talking about any other team member. Try using the word "I" and not "we".
Example: To make sure that I wasn’t too overwhelmed, I created a project timeline. I then organized all of the app launches in order of priority. If an application was not going to be launched on time or if it had low priority—I made sure to bring this up to my superiors and explain what my plan was.
This is your time to shine. Describe the outcome of the situation in detail, and show how you were able to solve the problem.
Example: Because I created a timeline and took charge of prioritizing the launch, we were able to be much more efficient. Once the big launches were done, I was able to create much more time for the team. This led us to complete more projects than we thought was possible and generate more revenue for the company.
A job with a better work-life balance?
The Netflix interview process is tough by any measure. Maybe, however, you are looking for a job which is a little less demanding?
4 day week will allow you to search for software jobs that only require you to work 4 days a week. On top of this, you will only need to work a total of 32 hours.
To make it even better these companies offer competitive salaries and allow you to work fully remotely. This will remove the stress of having to lose time by commuting or—to slave-way and work countless hours with little work-life balance.
Head over to the 4 day week to get started.