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01.08 – Onboarding at Menlo Innovations

01.08 - Onboarding at Menlo Innovations
It seems like everything we do at Menlo is geared towards establishing a bond with the new people joining the team in a way that they as quickly as possible can fundamentally understand our purpose and understand their role in accomplishing that purpose. And so it actually starts at their first touch point with Menlo which is often one of those tours. Often the people who are coming to visit us are curious about us enough that they might decide at some point they want to work for us. One of my standard jokes at Menlo is that people regularly offer us their children. And what I mean by that is often the parents will be the ones that first come in.
They see this space, they see this company and they say, my kid would love to work at a place like this. And they tell their child to come visit us. Now a lot of times the children are kind of skeptical. They’re like really mom and dad, you found the place I want to work every day? But they come in, they see it and it grabs them. So right at the first point of contact, long before we’re actually recruiting them, long before we’re pulling them through our weird interview process we’re communicating to them what our core value are in these tours. Now if they decide to come in, the interview process drives the point home.
Our entire interview process is experiential, its all audition. When you start doing things in the manner by which we work, we work in pairs during the interview, we collaborate with other human beings. We communicate to the interviewee that your job is to give the person sitting next to you who’s competing for the same position, your job is to get them a second interview. To exercise good kindergarten skills, to share, to collaborate with another human being. While my team is watching you do this, they’re deciding, is this the kind of person I want in here? That I would pair with someday? And so, by going through this kind of audition experience, people are figuring out right away, is this for me?
Is this consistent with what I want in a workplace? The first day in the job is actually the second day of the interview process. The first day in the job is a one day paid contract where they come in and work for us, for pay, for a single day in our space. So right away, we’re immersing them in our culture. It’s not the standard what I call two people lying to each other type of interview. This is a serious audition where you get to come in and actually do work side by side with our team members. And again, in that moment, you’re also learning our culture. And it’s not just learning it from me.
Not from a tour I’m leading or an interview I’m conducting. You’re learning it from the people who actually do the work. If you make it through that process then you go through a three week trial and you’re appearing with three different people over the course of those three weeks and you’re hearing the same consistent message over and over again from everybody you work with. A few weeks into this, you’re either bought in or you’ve self-selected out. And I think this kind of experiential interview was a way to really drive home your purpose driven culture, in a way that’s different than any brochure or website, speech that a CEO can give at the front of an auditorium.
It’s the real effect of doing work side by side with a team that you’re gonna be working with, potentially for years.
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