Netflix former CTO reveals recruitment tips

October 22, 2015

There are five things recruiters should do to recruit the best talent, according to the former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix.

Patty McCord held the position for 14 years until 2012. Since then she has been working as an Advisor and Consultant teaching companies how to find the best talent, according to her LinkedIn profile.

And hiring is something that McCord believes most large organisations gets wrong.

“Their objective is to put butts in seats instead of build teams and so I actually think that most large size recruiting processes actually keep you away from having the best talent,” she said in a recent interview with WNYC.

But there are five steps recruiters can take to change that.

Prepare for the interview

The first thing every recruiter should do is to prepare for the interview, according to McCord.

“It’s a little like painting,” she said. “The finished result is because it’s all in the prep. So rather than thinking about the person that you would like to hire, tell me what it is that you want this team to accomplish. And the more you can have clarity about what the problem is that you are trying to solve, the better off you are at the recruiting and interviewing part.”

Embrace social networking

A recent survey by Jobvite revealed that only 40% of recruiters have used social media to source candidates. McCord believes that the ones who haven’t embraced social media platforms are losing out on great talent.

“When I coach a CEO for a start-up, I say to them first of all, do you have at least 500 LinkedIn connections. 1,000 is better,” McCord told WNYC.

“You want to have all the talent that is possible, now and in the future for what you are trying to build.”

When asked if she doesn’t think it could lead to companies just hiring people like the recruiters, McCord says that she believes it is the other way around because even if she doesn’t know a specific type of candidate, someone in her network probably does. It is just a matter of asking around.

“It works great,” McCord says.

Get your team together

While having a big talent pool is great, having a team to go through the stream of candidates is just as essential, according to McCord.

She explained: “You want someone who can interview the candidate for technical skills, you want someone who can interview the person for problem solving skills whatever your problem is, you want somebody who interviews them for fit within the team and you want someone on the team with a proven track record of hiring great people.”

Ask the right questions

While companies like GoogleLinkedIn and even Netflix have all been known to ask tricky questions, McCord believes in another approach.

She explained: “It is much less about the clever interview questions, because the best way to do an interview is to have the candidate be comfortable, and you want to find out who their true self is.

“I used to ask them about their career goal as well and it was like geez, what is my career goal? To be employed? Instead I would ask, what don’t you want to do anymore? What don’t you ever want to do again? Then everybody pauses.

“The interview question is just the lead-in. Great interviews just have one question and then you just keep probing.”

Realise that you are not dating

McCord said that interviewing someone for a job is a little bit like dating, but that there is a difference.

“And this is where Silicon Valley goes wrong,” McCord said. “The Silicon Valley thinking says, ‘You know what, I want someone who is smart and I want them to be creative and I want them to be deeply technical and I want them to really love what they are doing. I want somebody pretty much like me.’”

The problem with that is that recruiters that think like that will end up with very homogenous teams.

McCord said: “One of the things that is always sadingly shocking to me is when I go into a consumer-facing company that has a product that appeals to everybody and it is all young white men.

“If you want to be successful, at some point you want people in your room that you are selling your stuff to. “