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How to Prepare for the Netflix Software Engineer Interview

Landing an offer with Netflix is a dream for most software engineers. The company has a great work culture that rewards employees for their hard work. Netflix is particularly known for paying higher salaries across roles compared to other top companies, making it one of the most sought-after tier-1 companies for software engineers to land a job. 

If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation ebook to get interview-ready! Also, read Netflix Interview Process Guide and Netflix Interview Questions for specific insights and guidance on Netflix tech interviews.

Having trained over 6,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Since 2014, Interview Kickstart alums have been landing lucrative offers from FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies, with an average salary hike of 49%. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $933,000!

At IK, you get the unique opportunity to learn from expert instructors who are hiring managers and tech leads at Google, Facebook, Apple, and other top Silicon Valley tech companies.

Want to nail your next tech interview? Sign up for our FREE Webinar.

In this article, we’ll look at how to prepare for the Netflix Software Engineering Interview. We’ll look at some tips you can adopt during your prep, as well as some sample questions to get an idea of what to expect at the Netflix interview. 

Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover:

  • Netflix Software Engineer Interview Process
  • Netflix Interview Questions
  • Tips for your Netflix Software Engineer Interview
  • Gear up for your next Netflix Interview

Netflix Software Engineer Interview Process

Similar to interview processes at other FAANG and tier-1 technology companies, Netflix’s software engineering interview typically comprises three main stages. 

  1. The Initial HR Screen, where you’ll be contacted by a member from human resources. In order to get an interview call, you can apply directly on the Netflix Careers page or update your LinkedIn profile with the right keywords to improve your profile’s visibility. 
  2. The Technical Phone Screen, where you’ll be asked to solve a coding problem on core data structures. You should be adept with an Object-Oriented Programming Language like C++, Python, or Java in order to solve problems at the interview. You’ll most likely be asked to code via a shared document or an external interview test tool during the Technical Phone Screen.     
  3. The On-site Interview, where your coding and design skills are extensively evaluated. You also have a behavioral round where your behavioral and personality traits are tested to determine if you’re the right cultural fit at Netflix. 

Note: Netflix deeply values its culture and looks for engineers who can blend into its unique work culture. Going through the Netflix Culture Deck will give you an idea of what recruiters look for in candidates.

To learn more about the Netflix interview process, click here. 

Netflix Software Engineer Interview Questions

The interview questions asked at Netflix’s software engineering interview fundamentally fall under the below categories:

  • Coding Interview Questions
  • Design Interview Questions
  • Behavioral Interview Questions

Coding Interview Questions

To efficiently solve coding interview questions at the interview, your knowledge of algorithms and data structures should be nothing less than thorough. 

Remember, you’re asked coding questions both during the Technical Phone Screen round and the On-site Interview. The following are the main topics that feature at Netflix’s coding interview.  

Here are some sample coding interview questions for your Netflix Interview:

  1. You’re given a Binary Tree “B.” Write a program to return the mirror of the given binary tree. 
  2. You’re given a sequence of strings. Write a program to find the most repeated string in the given sequence. 
  3. Write a program to convert a given URL (long) into a shorter version leading to the same web page. 
  4. In a party of “N” number of people donated as integers, if the same integer denotes couples, write a program to find the single person at the party. 
  5. For a given number “N,” write a program to find out if it is sparse or not. A number is said to be sparse if no two or more bits are in binary representation. 

For more coding interview problems along with solutions, check out our Problems Page.

Design Questions

Design interviews typically involve building an arbitrary system and making provisions for storage, security, and scalability. The Design round is more important for senior positions. Here are some examples of design questions you can expect at the Netflix Software Developer interview:

  1. Design a file storage system like Dropbox
  2. What would be your Design idea for a digital streaming service?
  3. How would you ensure user or subscriber security on a platform like Netflix?
  4. Design a cab-hailing application like Uber and make provisions for payments and storage of user information
  5. What is your Design idea for a platform like Instagram? Discuss scalability in specific.

Recommended Reading: System Design Interview Preparation Tips

Behavioral Interview Questions

Below are the type of behavioral questions you can expect at the Netflix technical interview:

  1. Tell us about a time when you had to make unimportant decisions with little available data.
  2. Tell us about a time when you missed a project deadline and why
  3. Tell us about a time when you dealt with a difficult client
  4. Tell us about a time when you disagreed with your superior
  5. Tell us about how you maintain a healthy work-life balance

For more interview questions, check out Netflix Interview Questions. 

Tips to Prepare for Netflix’s Software Engineering Interview

Preparing for the Netflix Software Engineering Interview requires dedicated effort and a foolproof prep strategy. 

It isn’t unknown that even engineers who boast several years of work experience find it significantly difficult to land an offer, not just at Netflix but other FAANG companies as well. This is mostly because of the huge number of engineers who apply and the arduous interview process that most engineers fail to clear. 

By employing the below tips, you can most definitely fancy your chances of cracking the Netflix interview and landing a rewarding offer. Let’s take a look:

Do not prepare in haste; give yourself enough prep time

A lot of engineers, especially those who’re experienced, don't spend enough time preparing. You must first understand that if you’re experienced, your depth of experience alone won’t help you make the cut. What you’re asked at the interview is starkly different from what your day-to-day tasks (at your workplace) entail. 

When we refer to giving yourself adequate time, we’re talking at least 10 weeks. That’s because it actually takes that long to bring your problem-solving skills up to standard. 

Mastering data structures, algorithms, and distributed systems design will take you a minimum of 8-10 weeks, i.e., if you decide to spend at least 2 hours a day preparing. 

Especially when appearing for interviews at big tech companies, make sure you prepare for at least 8-10 weeks before your Technical Phone Screen round.  

Make a portfolio of your past projects

A portfolio that lists your past projects in the STAR format is important, especially for interviews at top tech companies. A portfolio will give interviewers a fair idea of the type of projects you’ve worked on. A comprehensive portfolio highlighting challenging past projects reflects your skill level and expertise, helping recruiters better evaluate if you’re the right fit for the role. 

Practice coding on a whiteboard

You could be asked to code on a Whiteboard in the on-site coding round. Whiteboard coding isn’t easy, especially if recruiters are closely observing your every move. It exposes leaks in your analytical and problem-solving abilities and can turn hiring decisions against you. By practicing whiteboard coding, you get more confident and develop clarity in your thinking. 

Practice a good number of mock interviews

Mocks are an important component of an exhaustive and smart prep strategy. While practicing mock interviews, it’s extremely important to practice with professionals who can give you meaningful feedback and help you improve. While it’s a great idea to practice with friends, the best thing to do would be to practice with actual hiring managers and technical leads. 

Mock interviews with tech leads and hiring managers from FAANG and tier-1 companies are a big part of Interview Kickstart’s Technical Interview Masterclass. Register for our free webinar to learn more. 

Don’t ignore behavioral interviews

Behavioral interviews, especially at top technology companies, are given significant weightage while making a hiring decision. These interviews are more important for senior developers and managerial positions. It’s important to dedicatedly prepare for behavioral interviews and structure your answers based on the STAR format. As mentioned earlier, Netflix lays considerable emphasis on behavioral interviews, so make sure you’re well prepared. 

Gear Up For Your Next Netflix Interview

Are you confused about how and where to start your prep? We have you covered! At Interview Kickstart, we’ve helped 6,000+ engineers land dream offers with the biggest companies. 

Our programs include a comprehensive curriculum, unmatched teaching methods, FAANG+ instructors, and career coaching to help you nail your next tech interview.

Sign up now to uplevel your career!

Interview Preparation
Last updated on: 
August 10, 2021

Abhinav Rawat

Product Manager @ Interview Kickstart | Ex-upGrad | BITS Pilani. Working with hiring managers from top companies like Meta, Apple, Google, Amazon etc to build structured interview process BootCamps across domains

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