1. What questions do you have for me?
Curiosity is one of the core values that Netflix outlines in its culture memo. Insiders said they would ask, “what questions do you have for me'” to assess how curious candidates were. It’s an innocuous question job seekers are likely to encounter in interviews at any company. At Netflix, it’s also a loaded one. Netflix’s vice president of original content Cindy Holland, who is chief content officer Ted Sarandos’ top deputy, told The New York Times that she often begins interviews with that question to catch people off guard.” Some people respond well to that first question and some people are so thrown that they say they don’t have any questions,” Holland said. “It doesn’t disqualify them automatically, but it definitely tells me something about them. “Asking smart questions about the company’s cultures and processes could serve candidates well in an interview. “Netflix smiles on folks who ask a lot of questions,” one insider said.
2. What do you do when you disagree with your boss?
What do you do when you disagree with your boss'” is another question insiders said came up in job interviews at Netflix. It’s meant to assess how comfortable candidates will be giving and receiving feedback, and how they might handle conflict. Integrity is another tenant of Netflix’s culture. “You are known for candor, authenticity, transparency, and being non-political,” the culture memo says, when describing some of the qualities it values most in employees. Employees are encouraged to regularly give feedback to other employees, including to their bosses, all the way up to CEO Reed Hastings. People also routinely push back on ideas in meetings, to make sure they’ve considered things from all angles before moving forward, insiders said. Some insiders also said they were asked about a time when they were given particularly difficult feedback, and how they handled it.
3. Teach me something.
Pick a topic you’re passionate about and teach me about it,” is another interview topic that a former employee encountered at Netflix. It is designed to get a sense of the candidate’s personality. But, interviewers are judging the way the question is answered, more so than the topics candidates pick. Failure to think of a topic on the spot and articulate it clearly can be a red flag. Passion is one of Netflix’s key values, as is communication. “I realized this person
was probably not going to do well outside of their comfort zone,” the former employee said of a candidate who struggled to respond to the prompt. One red flag in an interview probably won’t crush your dreams of working at Netflix. Candidates are normally interviewed by multiple people over numerous rounds. One former employee estimated they were interviewed by as many as 10 people. The hiring manager ultimately makes the decision.
4. Tell us about a time you failed.
At Netflix, this common job interview subject is meant to test how honest, and vulnerable candidates are willing to be. The company looks for people who own up to their failures and learn from them, as its culture memo says. Don’t try to softball this one by describing a small misstep that turned out great in the end.” They don’t want something positive,” one insider said. “They want you to tell a story where you fell flat on your face and how you worked through that.”
5. How would you work with a team on a hypothetical project
Some Netflix insiders also said they were asked in job interviews to describe how they might work in a hypothetical scenario. A common scenario that came up was a project that required collaborating across teams. There are many teams within Netflix and they change all the time, insiders said. Hiring managers want to know if candidates can work well with others. Candidates might be asked how they would put together a plan to collaborate across teams on a given project, or how they would handle working on it as part of the team.” Regardless of the position, everything is very collaborative over there,” one insider said. Managers would face similar questions about how they would manage a team. The company isn’t looking for micromanagers. It wants people who give others the tools to get their jobs done.” We don’t buy into the lore of CEOs, or other senior leaders, who are so involved in the details that their product or service becomes amazing,” the culture memo says. “We pride ourselves on how few, not how many, decisions senior management makes.”