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Netflix Software Engineer Interview Questions

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"Our version of the great workplace does not consist of sushi lunches, great gyms, fancy offices, or frequent parties. Our version of the great workplace is a dream team in pursuit of ambitious common goals." — Netflix Manifesto

This motto of Netflix makes it one of the most sought-after companies for skilled and passionate software engineers. Netflix is known for conducting unique interviews that are different from all the other FAANG and tier-1 tech companies. So do not go in expecting the same questions that other companies ask.

If you are preparing for a software engineer interview, check out our interview questions page and salary negotiation ebook to get interview-ready! Also, read Netflix Interview Process Guide 2021 and How to Get a Software Engineering and Developer Jobs at Netflix 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!

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In this article, we will cover a list of sample Netflix interview questions to help you in your prep:

  • What Is Unique About Netflix Interviews?
  • Netflix Culture and Core Values
  • Netflix Software Engineer Interview Process and Timeline
  • Technical Questions for Netflix Software Engineer Interview
  • Domain-specific Questions for Netflix Software Engineer Interview
  • Behavioral Questions for Netflix Software Engineer Interview
  • How to Prepare for Netflix Coding Interview

What Is Unique About Netflix Interviews?

“We do not seek to preserve our culture — we seek to improve it. Every person who joins us helps to shape and evolve the culture further. We find new ways to accomplish more together.” — Netflix Culture Memo.

Netflix's intense emphasis on culture and values is apparent in its interview process too. Here’s how:

  • Netflix hires for the team, unlike other tech companies, who hire for the company. Here the hiring manager looks for people for his team. This model of hiring ensures that only quality candidates are chosen for the position. Due to this, the position stays vacant for weeks or months — but they do not mind this and prefer waiting over hiring someone unfit.
  • Netflix focuses heavily on your behavioral traits throughout the interview process to ensure a good cultural fit. As a part of your interview prep, you must read their long and detailed Culture Memo, available on Netflix’s Job site.
  • Netflix offers a very flexible compensation. There are no annual bonuses, no sign-on bonus, etc. You will choose what percentage of your total compensation will be in base salary, and the remaining will be in stock. Additionally, all the employees get 5% of their total compensation in stock options.

Netflix Culture and Core Values

Netflix puts its people above the process. The company culture does not revolve around financial benefits. 70% of Netflix employees recommend working at Netflix. 

Following are the core values of Netflix:

  1. Judgment
  2. Communication
  3. Curiosity
  4. Courage
  5. Passion
  6. Selflessness
  7. Innovation
  8. Inclusion
  9. Integrity
  10. Impact

“The more these values sound like you and describe people you want to work with, the more likely you will thrive at Netflix.” — Netflix Culture Memo

Netflix Software Engineer Interview Process and Timeline

Here’s what you can expect at a Netflix interview for the Netflix Software Engineer role:

  • Phone Screen: If your resume is shortlisted, 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.  
  • Onsite: There can be two separate onsite interviews. One will have 4 technical interviews and a final HR interview. If the feedback from these interviews is good, then the second onsite interview will be with two engineering directors; these interviews will take 45 minutes each.

The whole interview process will take about 3-4 weeks. The results will be communicated to you within a day or two with the necessary feedback.

Data Structure and Algorithm Topics to Cover for Netflix Software Engineer Interview

Software engineers are often tested on core data structure and algorithms — this is basically to see how strong your fundamentals are. Accordingly, you must ensure that the following topics are a part of your prep:

In addition, software engineers are also tested on their system design abilities. Here, the focus is not so much on getting the right answer; the interviewer is more interested in your thought process and will gauge your design knowledge. Some of the topics you must brush up on include:

  • Networking
  • Distributed applications
  • Distributed file systems
  • Replication 
  • Sharding techniques
  • Cache
  • Storage and retrieval
  • Basics of API design 

Sample Netflix Software Engineer Interview Questions and Answers

Here are a couple of Netflix Software Engineer interview questions and answers to help you with your interview preparation:

Question 1: What is Flask? How does it compare with Django?

Flask is an Application Programming Interface (API) of Python that helps us build web applications. As a micro-web framework written using Python, Flask, developed by Armin Ronacher, doesn’t need specific libraries or tools. 

Compared to Django's framework, Flask’s framework is more explicit and easier to understand and implement. Flask is comparatively easier since it requires fewer lines of code to implement basic web applications than Django. For these reasons, Flask is also considered more Pythonic than Django.

Question 2: How is a string immutable in Java?

The term “immutable” in “immutable string” means that strings are unmodifiable or unchangeable in Java. String objects are immutable in Java since there are no methods Java offers to modify the existing state of a String object. 

The methods Java provides only allow the creation of new String objects based on the contents of the existing String objects. While there are functions that seem to modify strings, in reality, what they do is that they give back a different string. They don’t modify the existing string the function is called on.

Technical Questions for Netflix Software Engineer Interview

Here, we’ve listed some more interview questions that you can use while preparing for your Netflix interview. The questions have been categorized by types and topics.

Netflix Interview Questions on Data Structure and Algorithms:

  1. The intersection point of two linked lists (Solution)
  2. Is Binary search a tree? (Solution)
  3. Find the minimum spanning tree of a connected, undirected graph with weighted edges (Solution)
  4. Reverse the words in a sentence (Solution)
  5. Write a code to merge all overlapping intervals in a collection. (Solution)
  6. Reverse a Linked List using temporary variables. (Solution)
  7. Determine if the sum of three integers is equal to a given value
  8. Set columns and rows as zeros
  9. Add two integers
  10. Convert binary tree into a doubly-linked list
  11. Serialize or deserialize a binary tree
  12. Segment a string into dictionary words
  13. Write a code to find the deepest node in a Binary Tree.
  14. What is MapReduce?
  15. What is a bipartite graph?

Check out the Problems page for more problems and solutions.

Netflix Java Interview Questions:

  1. Can you perform multiple inheritance in Java? Justify your answer.
  2. Why can you not declare Wait and Notify in the Object class and not in the Thread?
  3. If you have store passwords, which data structure will you choose?
  4. Explain operator overloading.
  5. Explain different types of Maps in JAVA.
  6. How many ways are there to handle exceptions in JAVA?
  7. Why is the Yield Method used in Thread class?

Netflix Python Interview Questions:

  1. What do you mean by Pickling and Unpickling in python?
  2. If you want to comment multiple lines in Python, how would you do that?
  3. What do you mean by docStrings?
  4. What happens to memory whenever python exists?
  5. Why do we use negative indexes in Python?
  6. What is the difference between deep and shallow copy?
  7. What do you mean by the term Monkey patching?
  8. Write a program to produce a Fibonacci series in Python.
  9. Which is better: Django or Python?

Netflix Design Interview Questions:

  1. Design Google Drive.
  2. Design Web crawler.
  3. Design Airbnb
  4. Design an API rate limiter.
  5. Design an URL shortener.
  6. Design Netflix.
  7. Design Quora.
  8. Design Twitter.
  9. What are the documents involved in system designing?
  10. Design Facebook Newsfeed.

Related read: System Design Interview Preparation Tips

Behavioral Questions for Netflix Software Engineer Interview

All the FAANG companies give extra weightage to the skills like leadership, team management, creativity, and innovation, and Netflix is no different. In fact, the emphasis on your soft skills might be even more at Netflix compared to other companies. If you are joining for a senior position, you are expected to have skills like mentoring, team handling, team building, problem-solving, project management, etc.

And, if you are joining as a fresher or mid-level, you have to have problem-solving skills, time management, and you have to be a team player.

Following are some examples:

  1. How do you handle extreme stress in the workplace?
  2. How will you lead a team?
  3. How will you see that the project gets delivered on time?
  4. They would ask probing questions about your previous work experience.
  5. Would you be comfortable if we talked with your previous project manager?
  6. How would you add to our cultural values at Netflix?
  7. Would you prefer working alone or in a team?
  8. What exactly does good customer service mean to you?
  9. How do you think that you can gain the trust of the clients?
  10. Have you ever had to say NO to a client?
  11. Describe your current boss in 5 words.
  12. How do you receive criticism?
  13. What does an ideal leader mean to you?
  14. If your boss makes a wrong decision, what will you do?
  15. Have you ever done some activities just to build up morale and interact with your team members?
  16. What did you think of our culture document?
  17. Tell me about your past work experience and how you can make it better at Netflix.
  18. How did you handle the situations when you received extremely difficult feedback?
  19. What have been your biggest challenges at work?
  20. How do you stay organized to complete projects?
  21. What did you do at work that you are extremely proud of?
  22. Tell me about a situation when you did not agree with your manager?

Related read: Behavioral Interview Questions for Software Developers

How to Prepare for Netflix Software Engineer Interview

As we’ve mentioned before, you must have a solid prep plan to crack the Netflix technical interview. In this section, we’ve covered a few tips to help you plan your prep.

  • Tweak Your Resume: You should update your LinkedIn profile as well as your resume to ensure that your strengths are highlighted. Be precise and delivery-driven — show them what you have done, and tailor it to the position’s job description. Also, go through their Culture Memo and highlight any projects where you’ve showcased the values that are important to Netflix.
  • Stick to a language: Netflix does not require you to know any particular programming language, but you need to be proficient in at least one, like C, C++, Python, Java, or JavaScript. Choose the language that you are most familiar with and go on with it. Dive deeper into the concepts, exceptions, and difficult use cases.
  • Go through the Netflix Website: Make sure you have read their website thoroughly. Netflix will ask you a lot of cultural questions based on the culture section of their website. 
  • Think Out Loud: When you are solving a problem, think the answer out loud. As the long moments of silence during an interview are not good, especially during a telephonic interview. This is especially important so that the interviewer knows and understands your thinking process.

Recommended Reading:
Netflix Interview Process Guide 2021
How to Get a Software Engineering and Developer Jobs at Netflix
Netflix Interview Questions

Ready to Nail Your Next Netflix Software Engineer Interview?

Whether you’re a Coding Engineer gunning for Software Developer or Software Engineer roles, a Tech Lead, or you’re targeting management positions at top companies, IK offers courses specifically designed for your needs to help you with your technical interview preparation!

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How To Nail Your Next Tech Interview

Hosted By
Ryan Valles
Founder, Interview Kickstart
Our tried & tested strategy for cracking interviews
How FAANG hiring process works
The 4 areas you must prepare for
How you can accelerate your learnings

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