Leadership

Former Netflix HR exec: The one simple question that will determine whether you get hired or not

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg via Getty Images

HR managers take many factors into account when hiring for a new role. But if you're looking to score a job, it's crucial that you answer one simple question: Can you solve our company's problem?

That's according to Patty McCord, Netflix's former chief talent officer and author of the book "Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility."

McCord, who now advises companies and entrepreneurs on culture and leadership, tells CNBC Make It that the sole reason employers post job ads is because they're looking to solve a problem. If you want to get hired at a company, you must then show that you're capable of solving their problem and that you're the best option for the job.

"The way I interview is I start with the problem we're trying to solve and see if this is the right person to solve it," says McCord.

In fact, this ability to solve a designated problem is so important that it can sometimes supersede a lack of technical skills. She recalls past candidates who didn't have all the job's required skills but still managed to score a job at Netflix because they were "enthusiastic" about solving a certain problem.

"I'm telling you how it really works in the executive suite," says McCord. "How it really works is, 'Oh s---, we've got this big huge problem to solve. Do we have anybody who can solve it?'"

Focusing on your ability to target a problem an employer is facing also allows you to effectively navigate an interview and highlight your expertise.

"What you want to be is the person who solves that problem." -Patty McCord, former Netflix CTO

McCord explains that when creating a job posting, she starts by mentally narrowing down the problem that needs solving. She then creates a list of skills and work experience that directly relate to solving that problem.

McCord says that candidates who follow this same approach in an interview can tailor their responses to fit the company's needs. The strategy also makes it easier for you to demonstrate that you can accomplish the role's required tasks.

Finally, McCord notes that it's crucial that you fully research everything about the company prior to an interview. Doing so will help you understand the company's shortcoming and give you a leg up in creating solutions that will wow your interviewer.

"What you want to be is the person who solves that problem," she says. In fact, McCord says that having extensive knowledge about a company is the key differentiator that will set you apart from other candidates because it tells the interviewer, "Wow, this person really understands the levers of our business."

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