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How to Crack a Netflix Software Engineer Interview

Netflix attracts some of the best minds and talent in tech, and for good reason – it’s a dynamic, fast-paced workplace filled with passionate and brilliant people. With a spectacular growth rate, Netflix is at the cutting edge of technology and entertainment. It’s no secret that the company places a lot of emphasis on its company culture, which is built on freedom and responsibility. As an employer, Netflix is also famous for paying its employees top-of-market salaries. For all these reasons and more, their interview process is unlike most other tech companies. 

The article covers all the important aspects of Netflix’s interview process — timeline, structure, preparation guidelines, and how it is different from other tech companies. Here’s what we’ve covered:

  • What's Different About Netflix and Its Interview Process?
  • How to Get Noticed by Netflix
  • Stages of a Netflix Software Engineer Interview
  • Prep Help and Tips for the Netflix Software Engineer Interview 

What's Different About Netflix and Its Interview Process?

We have collated some points for you to understand how the hiring process at Netflix is different from other tech companies

  • Experience Matters: As stated before, Netflix generally doesn’t hire fresh grads or interns, and they tend to hire candidates with over three years of work experience. Though many of the other major tech companies are open to hiring fresh graduates, it’s rare at Netflix.
  • Hire for Teams: As their culture deck explains, Netflix operates as a team, not a family. That reflects in their hiring as well. The interview will test you on aspects particular to the team you’ll be a part of.
  • Work Culture: The company has a transparent work culture with a high incidence of involuntary attrition. Cultural values are made public so that you know what to expect as an employee. 
  • Culture Deck: Netflix places a lot of emphasis on its culture. Questions at Netflix interviews are usually based on their culture deck, which they share with prospective employees to understand the company culture. 
  • Two-Part On-Site Interview: The on-site interview is a blend of technical as well as behavioral. Both are extremely important, so don’t take the behavioral questions lightly.
  • Open-Ended Technical Questions: While companies like Google and Facebook test candidates meticulously on algorithms and data structures with great emphasis on whiteboard coding exercises, Netflix will ask only a few of them. Instead, they generally focus more on open-ended questions specific to the job role/team, so your overall technical knowledge will be tested. 
  • High Compensation: As Netflix hires only experienced senior employees, the compensation for engineers is extremely high. 

How to Get Noticed by Netflix

The first step is to update your LinkedIn profile and resume to include metrics and deliverables. Be concise, demonstrate how your experience relates to the position, and customize it to the job description to show how you're a good fit for the position. It's also a good idea to demonstrate how your work relates to their basic principles.

Stages of a Netflix Software Engineer Interview

A typical Netflix interview is a three-stage process:

  • Stage 1: Initial phone screen by HR.
  • Stage 2: Another phone interview, but with an engineer or hiring manager.
  • Stage 3:  After making it through the first two stages, you’ll be called for an on-site interview which comprises two parts. The first part has four technical interviews and one HR interview. If everything goes well, you move to the second part, which is a meeting with two directors.

Here’s all you need to know about the three stages of the interview process:

 Pre-Screen With Recruiter

Once you have submitted your resume, expect at least a week for the recruiter to reach out to you. If your resume looks attractive to them, they will get in touch to schedule a time for a phone call. But before the call, the recruiter will share a presentation on Netflix’s core values. It is important to go through it as Netflix focuses heavily on culture fit, and you might have to discuss this at every stage of the interview process.

The initial phone screen may last for 30 minutes, and the recruiter will ask you some resume-based questions and gauge your enthusiasm to work at Netflix. 

Technical Phone Interview

If the initial phone screen goes well, the recruiter will get back to schedule a technical phone interview within a week. 

This is typically a 45- to-60-minute phone call with the hiring or engineering manager. The interviewer in this round may ask you some open-ended technical questions, technology-specific questions, and a shared editor exercise where you will be required to solve a coding challenge. 

In the first 15 minutes of the call, you will be asked some questions related to your resume and a few behavioral questions about their culture.

Netflix gives candidates the advantage of choosing between a take-home assignment or a technical phone interview. For the take-home assignment, you are allowed 6-8 hours to complete it. However, the phone interview lasts around 45 minutes to an hour. So choose what you’re most comfortable with. 

On-Site Interview

If everything went well so far, expect a call for an on-site interview within a week or two. 

Netflix's on-site interview procedure is divided into two parts — the first half being more technical, having a blend of cultural questions, and opportunities to interact with peers and team members. In the second half, you will interact with HR, directors, and higher management, which will be less technical. 

The First Half

The first half will have around four interviews of 45 minutes each (total of 4 hours). In this round, they will ask you three types of questions:

  1. Technical questions—Specific to the job and technologies you are familiar with
  2. Whiteboarding exercises—Do not expect LeetCode type questions (either design or coding based)
  3. Cultural fit questions—Questions will strictly be based on their culture doc

You'll meet with HR for your fourth interview. This round is all about behavioral and cultural issues. If you don't do well in the first part, you won't be called for the second.

The Second Half

The second half will primarily have three rounds of 45 minutes each. Of these, one round would most likely be with the HR, one with the hiring manager, and one with the engineering manager. 

You should expect more behavioral questions in the HR and Hiring Manager rounds. However, the engineering manager will ask more technical, mostly open-ended questions based on your resume, the position, and questions specific to Netflix and its work.

Both rounds of interviews focus more on technical competency, whereas coding is more of a secondary skill

How to Prepare for a Netflix Software Engineer Interview

As discussed earlier, it is very important to go through the culture document thoroughly and analyze how you, as an individual, can relate to each of the core values. Be prepared to face questions based on your resume; for this, you must be aware of every detail of your resume and how it matches with the job role. Here’s how you can prepare for the technical and behavioral questions that will come your way during the interview process:

How to Prepare for the Technical Interviews at Netflix

Make sure to learn as much as you can about the Netflix interview process. You can also read our Netflix Interview Process Guide. Make a study list of topics you will need to work on to crack the interview. The list should include the following:

  • Practicing algorithms and data structures 
  • Tackling as many programming questions as you can 
  • Reading best coding preparation books
  • Join online interview preparation courses
  • Practice Nextflix mock interviews
  • Join free coding webinars
  • Practices algorithms typically asked in Netflix interviews

Recommended Reading: Netflix Software Engineer Interview Questions

How to Prepare for Behavioral Interviews at Netflix

A behavioral interview is a common interview technique used by companies to evaluate prospective prospects based on their previous actions. Employers tend to ask more situational questions rather than asking direct, hypothetical questions. 

Here are some important tips to consider while preparing for a behavioral interview:

  • Study the job description
  • Review major projects you’ve worked on
  • Revisit previous job performance reviews
  • Make a list of your professional accomplishments
  • Use the STAR method to structure your response
  • Be open and honest in your answers
  • Practice your interview responses aloud
  • Keep your answers under two minutes
  • Read their culture deck carefully and think about each value and how it relates to you

Recommended Reading: Behavioral Interview Questions for Software Developers

How We've Helped Several Engineers Get Their Dream Job at Netflix

Since its inception in 2014, Interview Kickstart has helped thousands of experienced engineers realize their true calling. We aim to help engineers get better acquainted with the intricacies of their chosen field and provide them with all the guidance they need to clear interviews with tech giants.

Interview Kickstart offers interview preparation courses taught by FAANG tech leads and seasoned hiring managers. We have trained thousands of Software Engineers to crack the toughest interviews at Netflix, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and other top tech companies.

Register for our FREE webinar to know more!

Interview Preparation
Last updated on: 
August 10, 2021

Dipen Dadhaniya

Engineering Manager at Interview Kickstart

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