Netflix is consistently regarded as one of the best employers in the tech industry. Their HR and recruitment policies have been hailed over the years even by other leading tech companies like Facebook.
Their philosophy of “people over process” and emphasis on building a “dream team” has resulted in a highly creative, flexible and transparent work culture where employees love working. As many hiring managers at Netflix have said, they look for “stunning colleagues”, not just team mates, when hiring new employees.
And it’s not just about their culture. They also pay quite well. Based on more than 4000 Netflix employee profiles in our salary database, the average annual salary at Netflix is $182,607.
If you’re a job seeker, at any stage of your career, working at Netflix is certainly a tempting thought. But before you apply for any job role at Netflix, you need to understand their work culture and the qualities they look for when hiring.
Because if you’re not the right fit and you still somehow get hired at Netflix, you’re unlikely to survive the “Keepers Test” that Netflix Managers use. It’s a simple question that every manager asks himself every quarter
“Which of my people, if they told me they were leaving for a similar job at a peer company, would I fight hard to keep at Netflix?”
Employees who fail the test are usually laid off with a generous severance package.
So based on their own public documents and the experiences of their employees (current and former), here’s a quick list of the qualities you need to have to get hired at Netflix.
1. You Understand How Netflix Works
Employers expect candidates to do research before coming to an interview to understand company culture and values. Netflix is no different. But while this sounds like common-sense advice, it’s still important to mention because of the number of candidates that ignore it.
According to Patty McCord, former chief talent officer at Netflix, you should come prepared and should understand the traits that Netflix values. Researching simply means looking up the official website of the company, the profiles of their senior leadership, and any relevant news or press releases about them.
But there’s one more thing that’s easy to miss.
Christophe Jouin, a device engineer who recently joined Netflix, believes you MUST be a Netflix subscriber yourself so that you understand the product from the users’ perspective. This is important because everyone at Netflix is passionate about their product and expect job candidates to own it from day 1.
2. You’re Honest and Selfless
From choosing their working hours and prioritizing their projects to official trips and reimbursement of vacation expenses, Netflix employees have the freedom to make decisions themselves.
Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings believes that “Responsible people thrive on freedom, and are worthy of freedom.”
But to allow such freedom, Netflix hires people with two important qualities – honesty and selflessness.
This is reflected in the company’s travel policy as well which, instead of listing down things you can spend money on, simply says “Act in Netflix’s best interest”
In short, Netflix expects its employees to always put the company’s interests ahead of their own. They want people who’re flexible and always willing to contribute to the company’s growth no matter what role they’re assigned. They look for strong characters who spend their energies in a positive manner instead of backbiting and playing petty politics. They want team players who’re willing to share information openly and help others grow with them.
That’s only possible when you’re confident about your abilities and have a positive attitude towards life. That’s the kind of people Netflix wants to hire.
3. You Have Great Judgement
At Netflix, you’ll be empowered to make critical decisions without long approval chains and unnecessary formalities that slow down progress.
Which is why you’re expected to have the ability to make crucial decisions even when things aren’t clear and there’s a lot ambiguity. You need to be a strategic thinker with the ability to analyze problems and find the root cause instead of treating symptoms only.
But this doesn’t mean your decisions are based on gut feeling only. As a tech company, Netflix has a lot of data available about its target audience, its competitors, and most other facets of its business model.
You should have the ability to use data to inform your intuition and make informed decisions with a long-term impact on the company.
4. You’re Always Looking to Learn New Things
Netflix is in the business of innovation and creativity. It has already revolutionized the way people consumed media. But it needs to keep innovating in order to grow.
This is why Netflix wants employees who believe in continuous improvement. They want people who’re always looking to learn new things and find new ways to solve new problems.
If you want to work for Netflix, you must embrace change all the time. You must always question existing procedures, challenge the status quo and come up with better and faster solutions.
5. You’re an Effective Communicator
Netflix not only accepts workforce diversity, it thrives on it because diversity brings in ideas from different backgrounds and makes a workforce more creative.
But having a diverse workforce also means that employees need to be excellent communicators. To land a job offer at Netflix, you need to have the ability to collaborate withcross-functionall teams and manage multiple stakeholders
You need to be concise but articulate in your verbal and written communication, and above all be a good listener. At Netflix things happen quickly and everyone is striving for excellence so there are bound to be conflicts and stressful situations. You need to stay calm in such situations and maintain clarity in your thoughts.
6. You’re Passionate About Your Role
Netflix has more than 1.2 million monthly subscribers around the globe. You must be passionate about serving this subscriber base, improving its experience with Netflix and growing it even more.
Netflix works at a fast pace so you need to have energy and demonstrate a passion for your role. You must always strive for the best interests of Netflix customers even if it means questioning the decisions of your leadership.
7. You Have the Courage To Do The Right Things
But of course you cant question your bosses unless you’re courageous. Netflix is not an ideal place for Yes-Men. Netflix employees are encouraged to question everything.
The company’s values document clearly states “You question EVERYTHING that’s inconsistent with our values”
Which is why courage is one of the first qualities hiring managers evaluate in any Netflix job candidate. You must have the courage to take bold decisions even if they result in conflict. Take calculated risks in the best interest of the company and stand by your decisions.
8. You Create Impact By Getting Things Done
Netflix hires the best of the best. People who create impact with their work. People who don’t settle for anything but the best.
Without the ability to “Get Things Done” you wont last long at Netflix because that’s the main objective behind all the freedom, flexibility and empowerment given to Netlfix employees.
Netflix doesn’t rate employees by the number of hours they work. It’s the impact of an employee that counts.
Their value document clearly states
“Sustained B-Level performance, despite “A for effort”, generates a generous severance package, with respect.
Sustained A-Level performance, despite minimal effort, is rewarded with more responsibility and great pay”
In short, to thrive at Netflix, you need to focus on results instead of the process. You need to be so impactful that even the thought of you leaving for a competitor gives sleepless nights to your manager.
Is Netflix the Right Place for You to Work?
This really depends on your own career objectives and personality type. Netflix is a fast-paced, highly energetic and amazingly fun place to work. It’s not for people who’re looking for a secure career path that tolerates below average performance. At Netflix you need to be an A-player all the time. If you can do that, Netflix will reward you with accelerated growth, amazing monetary benefits, and a long-term career of excellence.