Is Netflix’s company culture of fear real? What happened when you were fired?

New / Eng ryujehong
Nov 28, 2017 51 Comments

A little bit of my background, I’m a software engineer with less than 4 years of work experience. I ask this question because recently I got a senior software engineer offer from Netflix but I don’t know if I should take it. I heard that they pay really really well but they also fire people like crazy, like 2 mistakes and you’re out. Most of the engineers on the team I interviewed have over 8 years of experience, will I be considered not an A+ player compared to them? In Netflix’s culture deck they say that they fire adequate employees right away and only keep superstar engineers.

My major concern: Job security is very important to me not because I have a family to raise but because I’m on H1B work visa, which means if I got fired I would no longer be able to stay in US unless I could get another employer to sponsor my visa within a month. I’m basically happy with my salary at my current job and I don’t want to ruin my career just because I take the bad money from an unstable job. Another thing is that under such pressure and fear of losing job, will one grow as an engineer? I always think that engineers learn a lot from mistakes, if one is not allowed to make any mistake, how do engineers at Netflix grow?

Since Blind is an (to some extent) anonymous society, can someone tell us about how it really feels like to work at Netflix? Is the culture of fear real? Is the pay really worth the workload?

And to those who got fired by Netflix, how long did you stay there before you got fired? And what happened before you were shown the door? Is real that Netflix is basically zero-tolerant to mistakes?

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TOP 51 Comments
  • New / Eng
    xofulb

    New Eng

    PRE
    VMware, Brocade Communications, Nokia
    BIO
    Take your coding puzzles and shove it up your ***
    xofulbmore
    Tough choice mate, money or mental peace? I would choose latter 8 out of 10 times.
    Nov 28, 2017 12
    • Netflix Johnny5
      I’ve been around for many years and half of my team is at least 3 years in. Don’t believe what you read from disgruntled employees. Very few I have ever met regret joining Netflix.
      Dec 5, 2017
    • New / Eng ryujehong
      OP
      @Johnny5 Hi thanks for your comment! At this point of time I think I’m no longer too worried about Netflix the company itself but more about my own skills and chances of meeting expectations there.
      Dec 5, 2017
  • Microsoft / Eng Ayrr11
    What is Netfilx?
    Nov 28, 2017 2
    • New / Eng
      xofulb

      New Eng

      PRE
      VMware, Brocade Communications, Nokia
      BIO
      Take your coding puzzles and shove it up your ***
      xofulbmore
      What Microsoft cannot be.
      Nov 28, 2017
    • New / Eng ryujehong
      OP
      Easy guys, both MS and Netflix are great company with many exciting opportunities. I post here to brainstorm with people on a career decision, not to belittle some company
      Nov 28, 2017
  • I would not take the risk of getting fired on H1b.

    Seek a company where you can stay for at least a decade, if you plan on getting the green card.
    Nov 28, 2017 1
    • New / Eng ryujehong
      OP
      I think you can still change job while waiting for green card as long as there’s no big gap between two jobs.
      Nov 28, 2017
  • Apple / Eng ProjPurple
    It depends on the person but I perform considerably poorly if I always have to worry about performance ; I tend to perform my best work when I am stress free and I excited about what I am working on. Secondly I am not even sure what sometimes your best work is - often stuff that I feel is relatively trivial can have huge impact and stuff that I have sweated and worked hard upon relatively less - much like the real world , where not everything is meritrocratic. Netflix’s culture deck would make me half the engineer I am and I have worked at some pretty stressful places ( still working at one ).
    Nov 28, 2017 0
  • Netflix F&R
    OP, it's not as cutthroat as you think it is. PM me with what team you'd be joining and I can give you any insights I have.
    Nov 28, 2017 0
  • Apple Bnhjk56
    If you can get into Netflix then why not try for google or Facebook? Almost Similar pay without any of the performance headaches. Google is almost a government job
    Nov 28, 2017 2
    • New / Eng ryujehong
      OP
      I’ve never interviewed with google or Facebook (cos I don’t think I’m smart enough to clear the algorithm questions) but based on what I’ve seen on the internet, I think the interview questions I was asked during my Netflix interview are way easier than those of google’s or Facebook’s.
      Nov 28, 2017
    • Apple Bnhjk56
      Don’t sell yourself short. Practice for a few weeks and attend the interviews. Never know until you try
      Nov 28, 2017
  • Netflix abcabc123
    I am on H1B and at Netflix for a few years. PM me if you have specific questions and I can help answer.

    Netflix believes in fail fast, folks who have made big mistakes are still here. We don’t fire because someone makes a mistake. We look for ability to learn. If making mistakes becomes a pattern and person does not self realize the severity etc then it does become an issue (should be the same in many other companies as well which want to move fast).

    Someone mentioned about Netflix turnover rate and it is on par with the valley so it’s no added risk from that perspective.

    Remember Netflix is just as much investing as you to ensure you are successful in your job. It takes a lot of effort to find good engineers and we don’t want to jump the gun on letting someone go but at the same time if it is clear (takes a few months/qtr in most cases) that the engineer is not and will not be successful in the role then it is better to make the change.

    PM me if you have questions.
    Nov 30, 2017 1
    • Netflix XyGl47
      This +1000
      Nov 30, 2017
  • Apple / Eng
    bender-😒

    Apple Eng

    PRE
    Microsoft
    bender-😒more
    From what I’ve heard, they don’t just fire you without notice. People get fair warning they aren’t performing at expectations. They give you a chance to correct. If you fail to do so, they chalk you up as a fluke that made it through the interview process and send you packing. Doesn’t sound all that unreasonable really.
    Nov 28, 2017 2
    • New / Eng ryujehong
      OP
      Yeah I think that’s true. I believe for any business to sustain, the company must have a reasonable workflow(effective feedback loop being part of it). I guess I’m okay with how their feedback works but I’m concerned with how demanding the job is, like if it’s too high a requirement and I constantly get bad feedback, then that’s definitely not something I want.
      Nov 28, 2017
    • Apple / Eng
      bender-😒

      Apple Eng

      PRE
      Microsoft
      bender-😒more
      Well they’re looking for self starters and people who just know how to get stuff done. Real senior level stuff. There’s probably not a bunch of hand holding. So if you can deal with situation of ambiguity and can take charge and work a situation and be a strong team player, I think you’ll be fine.

      The demands are going to be more along these lines. Not whether you’re an uber engineer. They’re looking for strong generalists. That’s why they only hire senior engineers.
      Nov 28, 2017
  • GE / Eng Aghd263
    Secure your GC first, make the jump later. You said you have 4 years of experience so I assume you’re young, therefore you have enough time to go back and take the risk at Netflix once you’ve secured your residency status.
    Nov 28, 2017 1
    • New / Eng ryujehong
      OP
      Thanks for the reply, I think you made a very good point from a new perspective! That’s exactly the reason why I post this on Blind - to get more people help me to think about this question from different perspectives
      Nov 28, 2017
  • Adobe sushiLife
    Netflix is cult-y. Keep interviewing elsewhere. There are challenging gigs with job stability, you don't have to be at netflix to get that
    Nov 28, 2017 0

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