Former Chief of Talent of Netflix shares her unique secrets for hiring and recruiting

patty mccord netflix

Patty McCord, Netflix’s former Chief of Talent has come forward with her surprising and revolutionary ideas for how to build the most efficient teams and maintain a great company culture. According to McCord, “Culture starts the moment a job description is penned and posted, and hiring the right people builds the foundation of a company’s culture.” The hiring and recruiting process, according to McCord, should be approached differently than what is the traditional standard. We’ve put together a few of McCord’s excellent tips for recruiting, motivating and retaining an excellent team.


Know how to ask the right questions

The most important thing you can ask a candidate in an interview is not actually a question– it’s a follow-up. McCord explains to question a candidate about his or her resume to get the true picture of what’s listed there. For example, if a candidate listed an achievement was actually a team effort (and how big was that team?) What did they learn from the experience? How did they fail in that process? McCord warns if you ask stock questions, you’ll get stock answers. Be creative and unique in the interview process, this will help to more fully understand the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.


Be sure you know what you’re looking for

Is your team missing a truly creative free spirited person to bring really out of the box ideas? Or maybe you are full of creative minds and are looking for someone a bit more traditional and orthodox to bring some order or balance to the team? Take into account team dynamics and look closely and what’s existing and what’s missing. Knowing your team needs to function more completely and to their fullest potential is crucial in the hiring process. You might get three candidates who all fit the position on paper, but it does not mean that all three candidates are right for the position in terms of personality or team dynamics.


Stay away from a homogeneous company culture

It’s common today for HR managers to place a heavy emphasis on company culture and to evaluate to carefully consider how a potential employee will fit in. McCord warns that this thinking can be dangerous.It’s very human to want to hire someone like you. Someone who thinks the same is passionate about the same things and will be a great fit to have a coffee together in the afternoon.

According to McCord, this is very dangerous. Without diversity, there are no conflicts, no pushing the boundaries to think outside of the box. The flow of new ideas is restricted, and a company’s potential eventually hindered. McCord advises that during the hiring and interview process, businesses must consider “what did this employee bring to the table that’s different?” Appreciate diversity in thought, background, and even hobbies and you will succeed in bringing new perspectives to your team.


Watch your language

McCord suggests the hiring process be free of negative language like “poaching” and even “firing.” Firing, she suggests, should be approached completely differently. You might have an amazingly talented candidate that’s just not the right fit for exactly the position, or it might be that the company is unable to give the employee what he or she needs. McCord’s approach is approach firing process in a healthy and positive manner and works together with the employee on how they can make a successful exit into something more suitable for them.

Similarly, “poaching” or taking talent from another company is perfectly understandable. McCord claims that people should be interviewing all the time because it’s one of the only ways to know how much your work is worth (because in the end, it’s worth what someone is willing to pay for it). For McCord to interview for other positions is very natural but she wishes the whole situation was less hush-hush. It’s possible if the company knew a candidate was looking around, it’s possible they can step up to the plate and retain that talent.


In essence, you should always be hiring

McCord explains that today because of social media connectivity we are all constantly engaged in our networks online, and this can be used to our advantage. Some businesses, like startups and tech, are hiring constantly as they grow and expand at rapid rates. Other businesses only venture into recruiting and hiring once an employee has left and a position has become available.

McCord advice keeping in touch with potential future candidates from time to time in order to maintain a solid relationship so that when the time comes, you have a few candidates in mind to explore for the position and you won’t be starting from scratch.

McCord was certainly successful and influential in her time at Netflix and left the company with some of the most unique, honest, and successful recruiting strategies in the Silicon Valley. If businesses and hiring managers can slightly tweak their approach from questioning to assessing an existing team’s strengths and weaknesses, then the entire hiring and recruiting process can be more exact and thus bring you more qualified and dynamic talent.

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