Inside Netflix's No-Intern Policy

A Quora discussion sheds some light on why Netflix chooses not to hire interns.

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By Ryan Bushey


This story originally appeared on Business Insider

It can be tough for college students to find an internship in technology. Companies like Amazon offer programs that challenge students but make the application process rigorous.

However, the same isn't true for Netflix.

We found a discussion thread on Quora explaining why Netflix doesn't hire interns. The thread contained six responses from people claiming to be current and former employees at the company.

Here are some of the responses:

James Schek, Netflix Content Delivery Network.

Schek explains that Netflix doesn't need to hire interns since it doesn't hire new graduates or junior developers. Netflix is not an entry-level company:

"Netflix generally does not hire interns, recent college graduates, or junior level developers. There are exceptions for exceptionally skilled candidates or someone with a very rare skill.

"There is also no formal career development or structured ladder at Netflix. Employees do not start from a 'bottom' and are guided towards particular paths. Employees are expected to choose their own path and take ownership of their own career development -- the company won't do it for you. Usually, internships are part of a company's career development strategy, whether formal or informal.

"Internships are also a recruiting strategy to increase the pool of qualified college graduates or gain access to university researchers. Those interns can be thought of as the beginning of a 'pipeline' that eventually produces senior engineers and managers.

"Since Netflix does not employ new graduates or junior developers, it negates many of the reasons to hire interns. Netflix is able to compete for senior level developers against other valley companies so there's no need to create awareness among early-career engineers, to create a career pipeline for training engineers/managers, or create a more positive image among college students entering the market.

"Basically, the benefits don't justify the cost."

Roy Rapaport, Manager, Insight Engineering, at Netflix

"Netflix's internal culture (see Culture) is built to optimize speed of innovation by making decision-making as decentralized and distributed in the organization as possible; that means we expect decisions to be made at the absolutely lowest possible level of the organization, and our engineers are, to a great degree, expected to operate in a self-directed way. For this, you need to have a great degree of context as to what's important to us, and some experience to know how to use that context.

"That's not an environment that, generally speaking, going to be conducive for interns to be successful in -- They require more hand-holding and active mentoring, and will end up impacting the organization in a less significantly positive way than the other employees."

Rob Fagen, Engineering Services Manager at Chegg

Fagen claims he used to work for Netflix, but this was his response:

"When I was at Netflix, I heard it put quite succinctly: if you don't get a puppy, you don't have to clean up its messes."

Essentially, the comments reveal that Netflix wants to recruit the best candidates possible. The company culture isn't ideal for interns to learn and grow. Internships are usually seen as a great way for companies to find new employees, but Netflix doesn't need them to find candidates.

Ryan Bushey

Ryan is a technology reporter for Business Insider with a focus on apps and gadgets. 

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