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‘Ruthless’ test you need to pass to work at Netflix

Anastasia Santoreneos
·2-min read
The 'ruthless' Netflix test you need to pass to work there. Source: Getty
The 'ruthless' Netflix test you need to pass to work there. Source: Getty

There are a number of things running through an employer’s mind when they are interviewing a potential applicant.

Are they a good culture-fit? Do they have enough experience? Do they have too much experience? Are they dressed appropriately?

But Netflix bosses do things a little different, co-founder Reed Hastings revealed in his new book, No Rules Rules.

Managers at Netflix are encouraged to apply something called ‘The Keeper Test’ to all their staff members.

“If a person on your team were to quit tomorrow, would you try to change their mind? Or would you accept their resignation, perhaps with a little relief?” Hastings explained in the book.

“If the latter, you should give them a severance package now and look for a star, someone you would fight to keep.”

And the streaming service’s culture philosophy is posted on their own site for everyone to read.

“Given our dream team orientation, it is very important that managers communicate frequently with each of their team members about where they stand so surprises are rare,” the site stated.

“Also, it is safe for any employee at any time to check in with their manager by asking, ‘How hard would you work to change my mind if I were thinking of leaving?’ In the tension between honesty and kindness, we lean into honesty.”

While it sounds a little rough, Netflix said the test isn’t designed to punish employee’s mistakes, but rather to measure their “overall contribution”.

That means it could work in your favour, too.

For example, if you have a good long-term track record at the company, but have slipped up a few times in the short-term, The Keeper Test should, in theory, measure your average performance, and keep you from getting the flick.

But the culture at Netflix has come under fire previously, with a 2018 Wall Street Journal article exposing a “ruthless, demoralising and transparent to the point of dysfunctional” culture hidden behind the black and red screen.

The article interviewed 70 previous employees, who cited “blunt firings” and an unsettled environment.

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