As befits a company born in the first internet boom, Netflix Inc. offers a self-styled "unusual culture" and cheery global outlook: "We want to entertain everyone, and make the world smile," its website proclaims. But don't mistake "freewheeling" for "easygoing." The company demands that employees be able to perform at a high level without much oversight and on their own initiatives.
Netflix was founded in 1997 and pioneered DVD rentals by mail, shipping DVDs to subscribers around the United States. The year 2007 saw the launch of its streaming service. Today, it dominates subscription video on demand (SVOD) across the world and is having a big impact on how people access content for home viewing.
Netflix by the Numbers
Founded in 1997, Netflix pioneered the concept of DVD, and later Blu-ray, rentals by mail; a decade later, it had delivered one billion of them to subscribers. That same year, 2007, saw the launch of its online streaming service. As of 2018, Netflix's streamed content includes movies, TV programs, and original series, which the company began producing in 2012. It also distributes feature films.
Headquartered in Los Gatos, California, with offices in Europe, South America, and Asia, Netflix dominates SVOD around the world; as of July 2018, it boasted 130 million subscribers from 190 countries. Its 2017 revenue totaled $11.7 billion and its workforce 5,400 employees.
Netflix scores are high in company culture. Employees have freedom, flexibility, and a voice. In 2009, the company released the Netflix Culture Deck, describing its management philosophy. Many tech-industry leaders praised the presentation, with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg saying it "may well be the most important document ever to come out of the Valley."
However, Netflix’s management style can put pressure on those looking to build a career there. Employees must make sound judgments on their own; they aren’t micromanaged. Unlimited freedom means they have to demonstrate strong skills and prove their worth. Netflix retains “outstanding” employees only, according to Culture Deck author Patty McCord. The former Netflix chief talent officer, who left Netflix in 2012, was blunt about firing those who don’t fit into this mold. However, the company provides generous severance packages when skilled staff no longer meet Netflix’s needs.
Generally, employees appreciate the freedom to work at their own pace and judgment to keep on top of workloads. The company has a 3.7 rating (out of 5) on Glassdoor, with 71 percent of employees saying they'd recommend the company to a friend, and CEO Reed Hastings scores a 90 percent approval rating. Netflix ranked third on Glassdoor's 2009 Best Places to Work; more recently, it was among LinkedIn's Top Companies in 2017 and 2018. Fortune named it one of the World's Most Admired Companies in 2018 as well.
Types of Jobs
You can search for particular positions via the Netflix job page or LinkedIn account. Tech jobs predominate. There are always numerous openings for:
- Cloud and platform engineers
- UI (user interface) engineers
- Software engineers
- Content platform engineers
- Data scientists
- Data engineers and analysts
- Database administrators
- System administrators
- Senior QA engineers
- Database architects
Netflix Compensation and Benefits
Netflix offers high salaries. "We pay employees at the top of their personal market," its website claims. It paid the second-highest median base salary according to Glassdoor’s 2015 report on America’s highest-paying companies. Glassdoor sets the average software engineer salary at over $103,000. A senior web UI engineer earns $181,000 on average, and a senior software engineer’s salary averages over $200,000.
The company also offers a strong benefits package. Employee benefits include:
- Free lunches
- Up to 12 months' maternity and paternity leave
- Unlimited vacation days, within reason
- Open working hours (at the California office)
- Health, vision, and dental insurance
- Employee stock purchase plan
- Mobile phone discounts
How to Land a Job at Netflix
The application process. Netflix responds to job applications through its website, and recruiters often reach out to potential candidates on LinkedIn. A phone interview screens applicants with general questions about experience and career objectives. A second phone interview may follow, and if promising, one or more onsite panel interviews will result.
Interviewing. Netflix hires people it knows will fit into the company’s culture. So read its Culture at Netflix statement carefully; your impressions of it will reveal if the environment is right for you. You’ll need to be familiar with their product, too, so If you’re not already a subscriber, sign up. The first month is free. Think of ways the service affects you and how to improve it.
Read the job description carefully, aligning key skills and experience to Netflix’s requirements. Research members of the interview panel and use that to build rapport. Netflix says it only hires “fully formed adults,” and you’ll hear this often in interviews. They expect employees to use their freedom responsibly and to produce results. Interview questions will investigate the applicant closely for company fit as well as analytical and technical skills.