7 Things Netflix Recruiters Do to Create a True Partnership With Hiring Managers

October 5, 2016

Chances are, you’ve done some marathoning (or at least heard of) Neflix's hit shows like House of Cards, Narcos, and Stranger Things. Well, there’s a secret behind these award- winning shows: Netflix employees — or what they call “stunning colleagues.”

During LinkedIn Talent Connect on Wednesday, Nellie Peshkov, the streaming giant’s Vice President of Talent Acquisition, told a crowd of 4,000 Talent leaders that Netflix’s “biggest promise” to any new hire isn’t perks or benefits; it’s the opportunity to work alongside “stunning colleagues” and “fully formed adults.” And, finding this great talent is thanks to the development of a true partnership between recruiters and hiring managers.

In fact, when Peshkov joined the company two years ago, she was in awe of how managers of all levels take recruiting “so seriously” and that hiring managers and recruiters call each other “partner.” How did they get there? Peshkov soon realized that recruiters at Netflix do seven things that allow them to have “true” partnership with hiring managers. The result: stunning colleagues, every time. Here’s what they do:

1. Train hiring managers to help unearth new talent

At Netflix, recruiters train hiring managers to strategically source and network with prospects. This talent acquisition training isn’t focused on interviewing techniques, but rather how to bring in new talent from the start.

By the time you have that second meeting with the hiring manager, says Peshkov, instead of showing up with piles of candidates, show up with nothing. Come empty-handed. Use the time to source together. Go through your networks. See who is looking at prospects’ profiles. Check out their tweets. In short, set the stage for sourcing together and make it a part of the hiring manager’s job.

2. Ask questions — lots and lots of questions

There are a lot of meetings hiring managers go to that recruiters don’t. This needs to change, says Peshkov. If recruiters are going to hire “stunning colleagues,” they need to be a subject matter expert. They need to know everything about product features and group dynamics in the team they’re hiring for in order to know who will make a great addition. How else can you evaluate candidates effectively if you don’t know the ins and outs of the group? Peshkov advises: “Be courageous and get in there.”

3. Give feedback and advice — don’t wait for an invitation

Feedback is never easy to give because no one likes to give it. But a healthy and productive dialogue is very much needed between recruiters and hiring managers. Peshkov says: Don’t wait for someone to ask you for feedback. If you don’t agree with the hiring manager’s assessment of a candidate, tell them so — don't be afraid to disagree. You are phenomenal at reading and understanding people and your opinion matters. Before too long, the hiring manager will trust that your feedback is in their best interest.

4. Raise the talent bar

Recruiters know the difference between good and great. You do this all day long and you know what great looks like. “When your hiring manager is about to hire a dead beat talent, tell them to move away,” says Peshkov, “because when that A plus talent shows up, your manager will thank you.” Don’t be afraid to wait for that “stunning colleague” — they’ll be worth it.

5. Make yourself an invaluable partner

Recruiting is complex. Trust in your skills and abilities to bring value every time and make a difference wherever you can. If your hiring manager is about to let that purple squirrel get away because they’re too busy, it’s your job to call your partner repeatedly to remind them to follow up. It’s your job to provide a 360 view of candidates, so that when hiring managers do make their decision, they do so with confidence because they have you as their partner and have all the information they need to choose wisely.

6. Stay on top of trends and look to improve  

Yes, you’re invaluable to the hiring manager, but don’t forget you’re also invaluable to the entire company. Your job is to aim high, low, narrow, and wide to identify trends and seek information to make sure your TA team and company has the right strategy.

For instance, if candidates have no idea who you are and what your company does, it’s time to talk to the TA team about some major employer branding. Or maybe the team isn’t referring anyone. Speak to your executive. Have a sourcing party, says Peshkov, and don’t forget to always use the word “party” and people will show up.

7. Believe!

Recruiters, Peshkov has one last message for you: Have the confidence to know your value and your superpowers. Know that you’re phenomenal at what you do. That is how you will instill confidence in your hiring manager that no one does it better than you do. That is how you get to true TA partnership.

How to create a partnership at your company

To get a true partnership started at your own companies, focus on these three areas:

  1. Make sourcing a mutual investment. Engage your hiring manager in sourcing with you. It sets the right tone for how the two of you will work together throughout the search.
  2. Speak up during candidate assessment. Know that you are better at evaluating a successful candidate than anyone else and speak up about it.
  3. Talk about macro trends. Recruiters see trends all the time. Talk about it. Peshkov shared how a macro trend changed Netflix’s recruiting: For a long time, the company had a hard time hiring engineers for their Los Gatos, California, office. Recruiters finally realized that candidates weren’t willing to commute. That was valuable data to share with the team, says Peshkov. “Every recruiter has this kind of information to influence the business and make the right hiring decisions."

The best hires will come if you truly partner with your hiring managers. Try implementing Neflix's 7 strategies to kick things off and start hiring your own "stunning colleagues."

Catch more highlights from Nellie Peshkov's talk and more on the Talent Connect Livestream October 6th. Register now! 

*Image from Netflix

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