What it takes to get a job at Netflix according to its chief talent officer, who explains the company's grueling 10-interview process and 'shocking' feedback


Despite the 450-plus layoffs at Netflix this year and challenging culture shifts at the streamer, its job boards remain packed with listings for positions ranging from data engineers to creative production managers to staffers for its games studio. The company is known as one of the highest-paying employers in Hollywood, with some roles offering up to $800,000 a year.

So what does it take to get a job at Netflix these days? As Netflix's chief talent officer Sergio Ezama told "Power of Why" podcast host Naomi Haile in February, hiring well is paramount to sustaining the company's culture. "We are very explicit when we say we hire the best players in the market," he said. "And those best players are fully-formed adults."

Recruitment at the company can include 10 or more interviews for each candidate. That may sound like a lot of sit-downs, but Ezama — a Spain-born executive who joined Netflix in 2021 after 20 years at PepsiCo — told Haile that "because hiring the right people is so important to us, that's where we spend a lot of time understanding that fit."

"It's not only that we have a lot of interviews — it's true that sometimes it's 10 and more — but it is how everyone comes ready to do those interviews," he said, adding that Netflix execs focus on "articulating for every interview, which are really the points we're after, in a way that is not repetitive." 

Netflix's culture highlights frequent and open feedback among employees. "It's a bit of a shocking thing" for those coming from other environments, Ezama said, but also "refreshing." In a more traditional organization, people lower in the hierarchy "don't feel like they can do that, or feel super comfortable," he said. "Here, it's amazing how often it happens, and how good the feedback is."

That same philosophy applies to the interview process, with multiple interviews allowing for feedback at every step that can help a candidate move forward, Ezama said.

"The other thing I think we do particularly well is almost giving the same time to the candidate to [get to] know us," just as Netflix gets to know them, he said. "Something that I do when I interview people and I have, for example, an hour — I would say the first half an hour is going to be for me, the second half an hour, it's going to be for you." 

Mazama shared that the first Netflix employees a job candidate meets are often the most senior members of the team — instead of a candidate working their way up to increasingly senior leaders during the process, as is standard practice at many other companies. 

"This speaks to the involvement of senior leadership, which I think is an important sign even for candidates, but it also helps with the process to be more efficient," he told Haile. "You don't want to spend a lot of time on a candidate then 10 interviews later, someone says, 'Eh, I don't see it.' So you have this early calibration. You know enough of the candidate to say, 'Yeah, I can see this is working.'" 

Once you're hired, Netflix pays competitively — keeping Hollywood companies on their toes, as other human resources chiefs have told Insider — and compensation at the company is also subject to a pay equity analysis every year as part of its diversity and inclusion processes, Ezama said.  

"We've run pay equity analysis at the end of the cycle to understand: What if there is unconscious bias in the organization and there are some groups which [are] not paid as they should be when you account for legitimate drivers of compensation?" he told Haile. "Looking at people with similar tenure, similar jobs, and things like that," he added, is a way "to make sure that you are being inclusive enough as you run your business." 

Ezama also spoke to Haile about his childhood in Bilbao, Spain, and the career journey that led him to Netflix. "It's hard work" jumping into a C-suite role at a new company after decades at another, he told Haile. "You need to really catch up with people who've been operating in that environment for many, many years. I've been playing tennis for 20 years. Now I'm playing basketball. So yeah, it takes a bit of time."

The full episode of this "Power of Why" podcast can be heard here

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