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- Work/Life Balance
- Culture & Values
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- Senior Management
I worked at Netflix full-time
"Freedom and Responsibility" rings mostly true, although you'd have to be stupid to not realize it isn't 100% true always and in everything. Simple, indisputable example: you can't decide how much you make, yourself. That's an obvious statement, yet it proves there definitely are no-goes and as such, gray areas. In practice, it hasn't been an issue for me--just clarifying. You want X number of monitors, Y super-amazing-computer, come in at 11am, leave at 4pm, take numerous vacations, ask (and receive a real answer!) dang near anything about what movies/shows they're secretly bidding on in Hollywood, etc, etc. Not only things a reasonable person would want to do/have, more like a well spoiled person. This all assumes you are communicating this with your team and performing well above average--Netflix does *not* knowingly hire junior, mid-level, or wannabe-senior engineers. I haven't personally seen a bunch of people get fired, but of the one or two I've seen, it was not surprising. I have noticed some teams are more critical of performance than others. Like any company of a decent size, not every team has exactly the same culture. Mine was absolutely wonderful day-to-day. My managers help you and coordinate, more than "manage" me, which is huge just by itself. To this point, most engineering managers I know of aren't really programmers, which I think is a huge bonus because there is far less risk of them wanting to micromanage projects and implementation details. That said, they are ALL very very technical and can fairly trivially smell BS. Salary: you'll be more than happy as far as I've heard from co-workers. For me, they made it impossible for me to ever even consider leaving because of salary. Almost every place I've worked prior, I had at some point felt underpaid. Not here, I felt very much appreciated and paid as such. Summary: YMMV, like in every big company, but seriously that's super important to understand, but my experience was amazing and by far the best place I've ever worked, all things considered. I left for personal reasons that aren't related to Netflix--wife/family stuff.
If you're not a high performer, but you manage to sneak in, the fear of being canned could certainly be real since YOU WILL inevitably be discovered. But don't second guess yourself. It should be obvious whether or not you are a high performer. Sometimes discussions on the Freedom and Responsibility culture turns sort of cult-like. With a select number of people, questioning its real-world implications has been met with very clear disgust, almost denial. Very rare, though. For me was trivial to brush off.
Advice to Management
Do: continue soliciting feedback both positive and negative/constructive. Do continue to hire top-tier talent only. Do continue tweaking the culture. Don't: continue having 360s, some how foster year-long feedback instead. Don't use terms or policies defined as "unlimited", which is in practice about as "unlimited" as AT&T's data plans were in 2011. It makes almost every coworker I talked to uncertain about what it means in practice and of course made things vary among teams.
Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
- No OfferNegative ExperienceEasy Interview
I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Netflix (Los Gatos, CA).
For the first step, I got pinged by a recruiter. When I told them I wasn't quite sure about their culture, the engineering manager wanted to directly talk to me, so I figured they had some interest. I setup the phone screen, and passed. I went to the next onsite interview which had 3 technical rounds which seemed to go ok. (One made mistakes in his responses to my comments, but I didn't say anything.) Second onsite involved the HR, which was focused about how well I understood their culture deck, etc. Right after that, I met with the VP, who more or less took a complete 180 of their culture deck. He didn't believe in paying people what their worth (the whole baseball analogy that their culture deck pointed out). Mentioning that I was still interviewing elsewhere in case this didn't work out seemed to be a mistake, something HR and the VP brought up multiple times, although this contradicted their culture deck. He also mentioned tons of bureaucratic rules and regulations that were again, something the culture deck was trying to say made them different from companies like IBM, Apple, etc., but he more or less up front said they're the same. I figured since I love working on projects on the side that do not compete with the business, and constantly look for outside the box solutions that working on side projects bring, it would be a good fit culturally, but I guess I was wrong.
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