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Netflix Interview Process Guide

Posted on 
June 15, 2020
|
by 
Team Interview Kickstart

Preparing for interviews at FAANG companies can be intimidating. Research has shown that getting an offer at a FAANG company is harder than getting into Stanford or Harvard. Netflix, in particular, is known for having extremely rigorous interviews. You would have to crack many different interview rounds before landing that offer. 

At Interview Kickstart, we have helped more than 6,200 engineers prepare for interviews at FAANG companies and have learned valuable lessons from their successes. Our instructors are hiring managers and tech leads from FAANG companies, and they know exactly what it takes to nail the most challenging tech interviews. 

So if you’re preparing for a tech interview at Netflix, read on to get all the information you need. We’ll cover:

  • Netflix Interview Process
  • Netflix Candidates’ Interview Experience
  • What Qualities Netflix Looks for in Candidates
  • Qualifications Required for Different Tech Roles at Netflix
  • Netflix Technical Interview Topics You Must Prepare (With Sample Questions)
  • Netflix Interview Questions
  • Resume Building Tips to Land an Interview Call From Netflix
  • Netflix Interview Tips
  • More About Netflix — Software Engineer Salaries, Reviews, Culture

In this interview guide, you will learn about Netflix's Interview Process from candidates who have been interviewed at the company. You will also learn about specific qualities that Netflix hiring managers look for with actual quotes from Netflix employees and executives. 

We will also show you actual interview questions and topics to prepare for Netflix interviews (both technical and behavioral), so you will be prepared to answer any question during your interview. We have crucial tips that you can use in your interview and resume. This guide also features job-specific information for various roles such as software engineer, front-end developer, engineering manager, and more. Lastly, we will go over an overview of Netflix’s company culture so that you will know what to expect for your Netflix interview.

Netflix Interview Process

A typical software engineer goes through the following rounds of interview at Netflix:

  • Phone Screen: The Netflix hiring manager will contact you to schedule the initial phone screen. Here, you will be evaluated only based on cultural fit.
  • Technical Phone Screen: Next, a phone interview will take place to check your technical knowledge, wherein you can expect some problems on data structure and algorithm or an assignment related to some Netflix use case. You can expect some behavioral questions as well. An engineer will conduct the interview.  
  • On-site: There can be two separate on-site interviews. One will have 4 technical interviews and a final HR interview. If the feedback from these interviews is good, then the second on-site interview will be with two engineering directors; these interviews will take 45 minutes each.

For more information, read Netflix Software Engineer Interview Process

Interview duration: According to Indeed.com, 54% of interviewees’ interviews took about a day or two to a week. 46% of interviewees’ interviews took two weeks or longer. A majority of the candidates had an excellent experience during the interviews. However, more than half of the interviewees found that their interviews at Netflix were more difficult than easy.

 Source: Indeed.com

Netflix Candidates’ Interview Experience 

Here’s what a Netflix Software Engineering candidates said about their interview process in terms of the interview process length:

2 Week Duration:

During Stage 1, I had my initial phone screening interview with the HR representative of Netflix. In Stage 2, I had an interview with the hiring manager. Finally, in Stage 3, there was an on-site interview composed of two parts. The first part was with four data scientists/engineers. The second was with three higher-level executives. The questions were a mix of product, business, analytical, and statistics questions. Statistics questions mostly revolve around A/B testing (hypothesis testing, etc.). There can be some easy-medium-level SQL questions. Analytical questions include a hypothetical problem to analyze, metrics to evaluate product performance, etc. Higher-level executives mostly focus mostly on the background and experience.” 

3 Week Duration:

“During the first stage, I had my initial phone screen with an HR representative. The second stage, I had another phone interview, but with an engineer. In my final stage, I had an on-site composed of two parts. The first part consisted of 4 technical interviews and 1 HR representative interview. After completing those interviews, I had a meeting with two directors from Google.”

8 Week Duration:

“The first stage consisted of a phone screen from an HR representative. The second stage consists of a phone interview with the hiring manager or designers from the team. Lastly, I had an on-site interview which included a panel portfolio review followed by a product brainstorming session. Then, there was a whiteboard exercise that took place, and another 30 minutes was spent putting together polished mockups. The team members that interviewed me ranged from project managers, engineers, developers, designers, design directors, and managers.”

Interview Experience of Former Director of Engineering at Netflix

“When I was interviewing with Netflix, it was long-winded and irritating. I was on the verge of walking away from the process twice. Since I've joined, as a manager, I've found it's actually well organized, swift, and successful.

I was contacted on LinkedIn by a recruiter. He e-mailed me the job spec (this was for Automation Manager) and asked me if I was interested. I told him I wasn't since the job was probably a bit too junior for me. He came back to me with a revised job spec for Senior Automation Manager with additional responsibilities. Now I was interested, so he arranged a phone interview with a different recruiter.”

Stage 1: First Phone Screen

“The first phone screen was a breeze. Asking me about my experience, what I was looking for in my career etc. Nothing difficult.

That leads to a second phone interview, this time with the hiring manager. That was a more in-depth look at my experience to date, discussions of similar projects I'd been involved with (they were primarily looking to hire me to install a bunch of machines to automate the processing of DVDs that are returned from customers). We talked about his prior career and experience as well. It was a good call, and I liked him from the start. He was someone I could work with.”

Stage 2: Face-to-Face with Recruiter and Hiring Manager

“Next, they arranged a face-to-face with the second recruiter and the hiring manager back to back.

The interview with the recruiter did not go well. I disliked him immediately, and I've subsequently found that the length of the overall process I faced was as a result of him not liking me either. We talked about my experiences as a manager and the Netflix culture deck. He was very pleased with the culture deck, but clearly had no understanding of what applying it actually meant. He seemed to think it was impressive because other people outside of Netflix say it sounds great. He was very hung up on "Netflix only tolerates fully formed adults,” yet as a relatively inexperienced person in his mid-20's, he had no idea about the complexities of adult life and the challenges that can bring. I'm pleased to say he's no longer on Netflix.”

Stage 3: Interview with Hiring Manager

“I then met with the hiring manager, and it was great. We got on immediately (well, after he'd stopped laughing at me for wearing a suit. I'd asked for a look at the production facilities and the equipment I'd be working on, so they arranged that, where I again briefly met the hiring manager and had an interview with an HR Manager. The HR Manager was great. I discussed my misgivings based on my discussion with the recruiter, and he put my mind at ease.

Stage 4: Interview with VP of HR

“I was now expecting an offer.

Instead,  I was asked to go in for an interview with Allison Hopkins, who was VP of HR. That was a great interview. We again discussed my experience, ideas about management, and my goals in life. She was great, again, making me want to work at Netflix. I like her a lot, and it's a cause of sadness that she is no longer with Netflix.”

Stage 5: Interview with Head of the DVD Division

“I was now expecting an offer.

Instead, I was asked to go in for an interview with the head of the DVD division. Another fun interview, we talked about the hiring manager a lot, who then came and joined us, and Andy and John (the hiring manager) somehow ended up debating which swearwords are and are not appropriate at an interview. I didn't offer much to that part of the interview. It was entertaining.”

Stage 6: Dinner with Hiring Manager

“I was now expecting an offer and getting irritated that it seemed like they were wasting my time.

Instead, I got invited to have dinner with the hiring manager. I was in two minds about saying no, because the process had taken so long, and I was beginning to question their seriousness. The dinner was awkward. John is a fairly reserved man (now a valued friend; however, I met him for a beer in the same place we had the dinner last week, and we had a laugh about it), and it felt like an uncomfortable first date. There was little to discuss - he knew what I had done, could do, etc.”

Stage 7: Offer Given

“I now decided that if an offer didn't come within the week, I'd pull out of consideration. Fortunately, one did, and I've now been at Netflix approaching four years.

When I talked to the hiring manager about that dinner, he told me that the reason the whole process ended up taking too long was because of the recruiter who didn't like me. Normally, we have a process whereby anyone can ‘veto’ a candidate, but the disparity between John's opinion of me after the first face to face and the recruiters was so great, that John wasn't willing to stop talking to me. However, it did lead to everyone wanting to meet me to make sure it was John who was right.”

Source: Quora.com

What Qualities Netflix Looks for in Candidates

Based on public documents and experiences from current and former employees at Netflix, here are the essential qualities that hiring managers look for when hiring employees:

Quality 1: You Understand How Netflix Works

A desirable candidate for Netflix is one who does research on the company. 

Patty McCord, a talent manager at Netflix, commented that:

“Candidates should prepare themselves with an understanding of Netflix’s values and any relevant news about the company.”

Christophe Jouin, a device engineer, said that:

“Each candidate should be a Netflix subscriber and be familiar with the product from the user perspective. Mr. Jouin says that everyone at Netflix is passionate about their product, and they own it from day 1 of their jobs.”

Quality 2: You’re Honest and Selfless

To work at Netflix, you have to be honest. Netflix looks for team players who can be confident in having each others’ backs. Netflix wants employees who are willing to share honest information openly that will benefit the team and help others grow with them.

Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, said:

“Responsible people thrive on freedom and are worthy of freedom.”

Quality 3: You Have Great Judgement

As a Netflix employee, it is essential that each employee is able to think critically. Specifically, Netflix employees must use data to make strategic, practical decisions that will provide long-term benefits to the company. 

Quality 4: You’re Always Looking to Learn New Things

Innovation and creativity are essential at Netflix. To be a valuable employee, you have to be a continuous learner. You have to be able to embrace change and constantly challenge the status quo to continually make educated decisions.

Quality 5: You’re an Effective Communicator

Not only does Netflix require employees that are creative and are continuous learners, but they also want effective communicators. You must communicate effectively across cross-functional teams and manage multiple stakeholders. You need to be able to express your thoughts and ideas verbally and through written communication. Lastly, being a good communicator means being a good listener and maintaining clarity in your thoughts and ideas.

Quality 6: You’re Passionate About Your Role

As a Netflix employee, you are part of an organization with 1.2 million monthly subscribers worldwide. Therefore, to be a valuable employee at Netflix, you have to be passionate about serving that colossal subscriber base. 

You have to have high energy and demonstrate a strong work ethic for your role. More importantly, you must always strive for the best interests of Netflix subscribers, even if it means questioning your team members to ensure that each decision is adequate.

Quality 7: You Have the Courage to Do the Right Thing

Another important quality that a Netflix employee should have is that they always question everything that is inconsistent with the company’s values. A Netflix employee should be bold enough to make decisions that will be in the company’s best interest and be able to stand by that decision.

Quality 8: You Create Impact by Getting Things Done

Lastly, to thrive as a Netflix employee, you have to produce the best work and set a high standard for yourself and others in your team.

Qualifications Required for Different Tech Roles at Netflix

Here are the qualifications to apply for the Senior Software Engineer position at Netflix:

  • Senior-level full-stack engineer with 5+ years of experience
  • Strong in Java, Javascript, CSS, HTML, React, Node.js, or other Javascript frameworks
  • Experience integrating with internal and third-party services
  • Strong knowledge of building restful APIs for internal and external products 
  • You have knowledge of cloud computing platforms like Amazon Web Services
  • Ability to work closely with internal stakeholders and vendors to understand their systems, build custom solutions, integrate with these systems, and deploy the solution
  • Strong data structures, algorithms, and design patterns knowledge
  • Demonstrable ability to work across multiple teams to deliver an end product
  • Enjoy building internal solutions and have lead the development of enterprise-level applications

Here are the qualifications to apply for the Front-end Developer position at Netflix:

  • Front-end developer who can design and deploy rich, performant, analytical applications from the ground up (prototyping experience a plus!)
  • Comfortable making a variety of static and interactive visualizations for a variety of audiences
  • Familiarity with design concepts related to charting metaphors, the use of color and typography, and can design clear, intuitive visualizations
  • Experience designing, building, and iterating on interactive user interfaces, with a strong sense of the holistic user experience, not just the individual pieces.
  • Knows how to develop thoughtful user experiences, considering the layout, color, and other design elements to develop user-friendly web applications
  • Comfortable accessing, manipulating, and visualizing data using JavaScript frameworks such as Node, React, and D3 (or similar) and are familiar with testing, debugging, and deployment techniques. You have experience building responsive Web Applications using RESTful web services and processing JSON data. Experience with Tableau is a plus but not required
  • Proficient at writing SQL to access and transform data
  • Knowledge of scripting languages for server-side data manipulation such as Python (pandas/numpy), R, bash is not required but welcome

Here are the qualifications to apply for the Engineering Manager position at Netflix:

  • Experience in solving large-scale distributed systems challenges. Must demonstrate success as an engineer/architect of complex distributed systems before transitioning into a manager. 
  • Experienced using technologies in several of the following areas: microservices, various IPC models, Java, Spring or Guice, cloud-based deployments (AWS preferred).
  • Equally passionate about working with engineering and non-engineering stakeholders. A strong partner who can collaborate effectively and selflessly.
  • Strong communicator with the ability to share technical ideas and direction across the organization and a proven ability to influence decision-making at all levels within the organization and in various contexts.
  • Experience in building and leading a team of senior engineers and are comfortable delivering and accepting candid feedback.
  • Great at strategizing vision, evolving roadmaps based on changing business needs, and motivating teams to execute them.

Source: Netflix.com

Netflix Technical Interview Topics You Must Prepare (With Sample Questions)

To prepare for the coding interview at Netflix, you must be well-versed with the following technical topics. For each topic, we’ve also included some sample questions and answers for your reference. 

1. Arrays

Q1. 3 sum problem
Problem statement: Given an integer array arr of size n, find all magic triplets in it. A magic triplet is a group of three numbers whose sum is zero. (Solution)

Q2. Set columns and rows as zeros
Problem statement: Given a two-dimensional array, if any element within is zero, make its whole row and column zero.

2. Linked Lists

Q1. Add two integers
Problem statement: Given the head pointers of two linked lists where each linked list represents an integer number (each node is a digit), add them and return the resulting linked list. (Solution)

Q2. The intersection point of two linked lists
Problem statement: Given the head nodes of two linked lists that may or may not intersect, find out if they intersect and return the point of intersection. Return null otherwise. (Solution)

3. Trees

Q1. Binary search tree
Problem statement: Given a binary tree, figure out whether it's a BST. (Solution)

Q2. Convert binary tree to a double linked list
Problem statement: Given a binary tree, populate an array to represent its zigzag level order traversal. You should populate the values of all nodes of the first level from left to right, then right to left for the next level, and keep alternating in the same manner for the following levels.

4. Strings

Q1. Reverse words in a sentence
Problem statement: Given a sentence (an array of characters), reverse the order of words. (Solution)

Q2. Segment string into dictionary words
Problem statement: Given a dictionary of words and a large input string find whether the input string can be completely segmented into the words of a given dictionary.

5. Dynamic Programming

Q1. Make the change with coins and a total amount
Problem statement: Given coins denominations and total amount, find out the number of ways to make the change.

6. Math and Stats

Q1. Given a set of integers, find all subsets
Problem statement: Given a set of integers, find all the possible subsets of this set of integers.

7. Backtracking

Q1. Print balanced parentheses for a given number “n”
Problem statement: Print all braces combinations for a given value n so that they are balanced.

8. Graphs

Q1. Minimum spanning tree
Problem statement: Find the minimum spanning tree of a connected, undirected graph with weighted edges. (Solution)

9. Design

Q1. Serialize/Deserialize a binary tree
Problem statement: Serialize a binary tree to a file and then deserialize it back to a tree so that the original and the deserialized trees are identical.

10. Sorting and Searching

Q1. Search for a given number in a rotated array
Problem statement: Search for a given number in a sorted array that has been rotated by some arbitrary number. Return -1 if the number does not exist. Assume that the array does not contain duplicates.

Q2. Closest meeting point
Problem statement: Given N people on an MxM grid, find the point that requires the least total distance covered by all people to meet at that point.

Recommended Reading: Everything About Sorting Algorithms

Netflix Interview Questions

It is important to note that Netflix, like all other top-tier tech companies, has many interview questions in rotation. Problems are also frequently removed from the rotation, and new ones are added regularly. The most effective and efficient way to prepare for technical and behavioral interviews is to look for conceptual themes and patterns rather than mugging up solutions to common interview questions.

If you want to ace interviews at the most competitive companies, place an emphasis on pattern recognition and building your problem-solving skill. This is the only way to solve problems you have never seen before and thoroughly explain your solutions. 

That said, here are some of the most common interview questions that you can use to start your practice.

Technical Interview Questions

The following are some technical questions interview questions that Netflix candidates/employees have faced:

  1. Write a recursive function that solves the equation X[n] = X[n-1] + X[n-2], where X is an array that contains at least two integer values, and the function should solve the question for the 3rd value in the arr2. 
  2. Each server application combination can have different attributes and can have different values. Write a method with the following signature: GetServerApps(string attributename, string attributevalue). Improve the performance.
  1. Given a binary search tree, find the kth smallest element.
  2. Given two sets A & B, get unique elements from each set in an optimal way. Merge Sort Multithreading - How to run threads A, B, and C in a sequence.
  3. What port does ping work on?
  4. Write a business_days_from_now() method, which takes as an input a number of business days, and returns a Date object which is that many business days from now. For this, a business day is only a weekday and not a weekend.
  5. Write a function that would take the filename and percentage as the parameters and print out the percentage of contents from the file printFromFile (String fileName, Integer percentage).
  1. Write a function fib() that takes an integer n and returns the nth Fibonacci number.
  2. Implement a queue with 2 stacks. Your queue should have an enqueue and a dequeue method, and it should be "first in first out" (FIFO).
  3. Write an efficient function that checks whether any permutation of an input string is a palindrome.

‍Behavioral Interview Questions

These are actual behavioral questions asked to Netflix employees:

  1. Tell me about a time when you did not agree with your manager.
  2. What is an example of something you worked on that you were proud of?
  3. How do you stay organized? How do you handle competing tasks or projects?
  4. What has been your biggest challenge while you work?
  5. Describe a time when you received extremely difficult feedback and how you handled it.
  6. Tell me about your work experience and how you would make Netflix even better than it is? (Why Netflix)
  7. What do you think of our culture memo?
  8. Pick a topic you’re passionate about and teach me about it.
  9. How would you work with a team on a hypothetical project?
  10. What feedback would your peers give you if you asked them for some criticism?

Resume Building Tips to Land an Interview Call From Netflix

By now, you should have a good idea of what to expect at the Netflix interview. However, getting a call from the recruiter can be a challenging task in itself. The best way to get that call is to make sure your resume is up to date and tailored to the role you are applying for.

Here are some tips to make your resume stand out:

  1. Try to keep it short and to the point and capture all relevant information on one page. Recruiters are already swamped with dozens, if not thousands, of applicants to go through for each job opening. 
  2. Reduce document length by writing no more than five bullet points of work experience for each position. 
  3. When writing out your experience, be sure to use action-oriented words like designed, developed, created, etc. Your recruiter then will easily understand your skills and experience. 
  4. For your experience, you must list the results and impact of your work. 
  5. Demonstrate your deep understanding of a given programming language and skill by referencing it multiple times throughout your resume. List any programming languages you are well-versed in at the top. 
  6. Since you are interviewing for a specific position, avoid adding your entire work portfolio to your resume. Just focus on conveying your core skills relevant for the job.
  7. Research the company and optimize your resume accordingly to the needs of the position you are applying for.
  8. Look over the job descriptions for the roles that you are applying to. Identify the keywords and areas of experience that you can highlight, then customize from there. 
  9. If you are a student or recent grad, it is recommended that you list your education first, followed by experience. If you are an experienced industry professional, you should list your experience first, and education can be lower on the page.
  10. Bold your subheadings in your resume to guide the recruiter’s eyes. Subheadings include names of your projects and schools/bootcamps you attended.
  11. Your resume does not need to have attention-grabbing colors or creative fonts throughout. Keep it simple and plain. Remember that it is all about readability.
  12. Have someone else review your resume after reviewing it yourself for edits. They may catch something that can change your resume for the better.

Netflix Interview Tips 

Once you land an interview, here are some tips to sharpen your prep and nail the interview. These tips are from Christophe Jouin, Director of Device Engineering, at Netflix:

  • Tip 1: “Read, and then re-read, the Netflix culture deck and spend some time thinking about it. It's for real, and the deck describes exactly how we work at Netflix.”
  • Tip 2: “Try the Netflix service.”
  • Tip 3: “If you haven’t received the job description before scheduling your on-site interview, take a look at it. Carefully read the specifications on the Netflix Careers page and use that information to your advantage.”
  • Tip 4: “Once you get the list of people who will be on your panel of interviewers, take this information as an opportunity to get to know the group before you meet them in person.”
  • Tip 5: “If you are being considered for a leadership position, reflect on what you believe makes a great leader in general, but also more specifically at Netflix. Read about the history of Netflix and about Reed Hastings, our founder, and CEO. Ask yourself this question: "which parts of my leadership experience would I leverage the most at Netflix?"
  • Tip 6: “During the interview, make sure you avoid giving answers that sound rehearsed. Take your time, and don't be afraid to tell the interviewer you need a minute to figure it out.”

Source: LinkedIn.com

More About Netflix — Software Engineer Salaries, Reviews, Culture

Researching about the company you are interviewing for is always a good idea. In this section, we’ve covered some key information such as salaries of Netflix employees in different roles, company reviews, and Netflix culture. 

Netflix Salaries for Engineers in Different Roles and Levels

According to SalaryProject.com, the average salary for a senior software engineer at Netflix is $400,000, with a minimum salary of $320,000 and the highest salary of $600,000 in the San Jose, CA area. These salaries are based on the base salary and additional compensation awarded.

Source: SalaryProject.com

According to Glassdoor.com, the average base pay for a senior engineering manager at Netflix is $273,845, with an average total pay of $305,000. The average additional salary is $37,654.

 

Source: Glassdoor.com

According to Indeed.com, the average salary for a Netflix front-end developer is $206,103 per year.

Source: Indeed.com

Netflix Glassdoor Reviews

On Glassdoor, the average rating across all reviewers is 4 stars out of 5. 73% of reviewers would recommend working at Netflix to their friends. 92% of reviewers approved of the current CEO, Reed Hastings.

Netflix Company Culture

According to Comparably.com, across the 18 core culture metrics, Netflix is rated an outstanding A+ in overall culture, CEO rating, and diversity, with an A- in compensation. The ratings were by 93 Netflix employees that have left culture ratings. Males score Netflix's company culture slightly higher than females, with males rating the overall culture 85/100.

Ready to Nail the Netflix Tech Interview?

We’ve covered all the key information you need to know to nail your next Netflix interview. Are you still confused about how to practically apply this? Don’t worry; we are here to help!

Interview Kickstart offers interview preparation courses taught by FAANG tech leads and seasoned hiring managers. We have trained over 6,200 software engineers to crack the toughest interviews at Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and other top tech companies.

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