So you want to work for Yarno. I can’t blame you. It’s pretty nice - unlimited Barry’s tea, harbour-side views, and not a single person will ever ask you if you’re“working hard, or hardly working”. We’ve eliminated corporate malaise by taking the water-cooler out of the equation. The. Dream.
The thing about working somewhere quirky, a little less traditional, is that in order to get hired to work there, you go through a quirky, little less traditional hiring process. There’s no being asked what your weaknesses and then describing and answering with a strength in weakness’ clothing. No being hired because your dad plays golf with the CEO every second Sunday. No sitting in a waiting room with 10 applicants who look like you, went to the same school as you, and even dress like you. We like shake things up. Be a bit different. We’re not just looking for someone qualified. We’re looking for someone qualified who reflects our values and culture.
How do we find kindred employees? With our unique hiring process. I'll walk you through it...
We’ve had a lot of time to explore and refine our hiring process lately - we’ve gone from 7 total employees this time last year, to 16 of us today! Yarno is expanding, and we take hiring very seriously. We make sure we hire the right people, by attracting the right kind of person to apply. The first place to start with this task, is, of course, with the job advertisement.
How do you design a job application that attracts the right people to the job? You give it some flavour. You tailor it to appeal to the kind of people you want. You get Erin McGee, one of our very talented content writers to write it because she knows what the people want. Here’s a lil’ excerpt from the ad for our (recently filled) content writing specialist role:
We’re looking for a person who:
- is super organised and autonomous,
- a fantastic communicator,
- has a strong meme/gif game,
- can quote The Office/Simpsons/Ali G etc,
- and is most of all – dependable.
Of course there’s a lot more to that advertisement, but you can see where the process is different already - we’re not just looking for a qualified person. We’re looking for a qualified person who gets us.
So, you’ve seen the Yarno job ad. You’ve thought “alright, alright, this seems like a job I could do. A company I might like to work for.” The next step is obviously to submit an application. But there’s a bit more to the Yarno application than just submitting your CV and the same cover letter you’ve sent to 20 different companies. In order to get an interview at Yarno, you must first write a 250 word dissertation on why the almighty, emaculate and glorious, Bin Chicken is the most interesting meme.
You may laugh, but this is in fact a true test of literary skill, creativity, and thinking-outside-the-box-edness. These traits are prerequisites to working at Yarno, for good reason. One of our values is “Beginners Mind”. A person’s response to the Bin Chicken shows us for sure, without even having met them, whether someone has a naturally open and curious attitude. A person unable to embrace an application asking them to write about the Bin Chicken probably doesn’t have an open mind, isn’t willing to deviate from the norm. A person who comes up with something new, creative, and gives us response we haven’t heard before shows that they have the same mindset as us, that they’re a simpatico soul.
There’s no desired form or content to the Bin Chicken dissertation - Annette (or newest content writer) spoke of the humanity of the bin chicken - that despite the ugliness, that speckled red baldness on the top of its head, it too is a living, breathing, thing. She spoke of seeing it care for its children, and being caught by the realisation that Bin Chickens, too, are capable of love. I on the other hand, talked about being jealous that the Bin Chicken doesn’t have to abide by the 5 second rule. So, it takes all types.
Once you’ve made it through the rigours of our Bin Chicken-based application process, you may be invited to an interview. There’s no HR at Yarno. No hiring manager or head hunter. Just our teams. So, who interviews applicants varies greatly depending on the role you’re applying for.
For example, I was interviewed by Mark and Tess. Mark and Tess are directly affected by who is hired on the Marketing team because they work on the Marketing team, therefore, it makes sense that they decide who works with them on that team. Annette was interviewed by Joel and Erin, because they work on the content team, therefore it makes sense that they have decision-making power in who is hired on the content team. It’s a practical system. Why have someone unaffected by a decision make the decision? If you’re hiring someone to work on a team, you need to know that they’re the right fit for that team. Hence, it makes sense that someone who already works on that team drafts any new players in.
Yarno interviews also have a different feel. I asked our newest employees, Annette, Sid and Carmen how they would describe their interviews, and they all gave me words like “warm”, “relaxed”, even “enjoyable”. Imagine that! Enjoying an interview rather than finding it so stressful you sweat through your new polyester-blend blazer. My interview actually turned into lunch. We ate Marlie's (the most delicious lunch in North Sydney), and was introduced to the whole team. It was the best and most delicious job interview I’ve ever had.
The normal two interview process just isn’t enough at Yarno. We want to get to know a person before we bring them on to the team. We’ll conduct a third, fourth or even fifth interview. Or we might just chat on the phone for a few minutes. Email. Get to know who they are, and if they fit into the Yarno culture. It’s not just for us - you need to know if a job is right for you before you commit to working there. Work takes up most of your life. It’s important to know you’re not just in the right field, but at the right place.
This may seem intensive or excessive, but it’s only because hiring at Yarno is so important. When you work in a self-managed team, you have to manage yourself. So it’s important that we only hire people who are self-motivated. Or as Mark once said to me:
“We only hire A players. We take the time to make sure we only hire top quality people because no one is going to push an A player harder than themself. When it’s in your nature to want to perform, having a boss micro-manage you doesn’t improve your performance. In fact, it probably discourages you, and stops you from putting in the extra effort because you’re not doing it for the right reasons. That’s always been our theory anyway, and it seems to be working so far.”
You’ve been hired! Yay! Not only does that mean you’re going to be paid, you might even enjoy the work that you get paid for. Oh wow.
We don’t just hire someone and then leave them alone until they start working. We start integrating them into the team before they’re even officially on the team. Just ask Liam, who in the post-interview pre-starting work period exchanged emails with Joel “like penpals for a month.” Wholesome.
You also get a character of yourself drawn up. Then, you and the rest of the Yarno team complete a Yarno campaign all about Yarno culture, values, and roles, so you feel like you know the company you’re working for, before you even work there.
Oh, and on your first day you get a pretty sweet merch pack including a hoodie, hydroflask, notebook AND hat. You can see our newest hire Sidd is pretty psyched about it all:
For me, this is one of the biggest ways that Yarno differs from other companies; instead of just throwing you in the deep end, saying “here you go” and leaving a new person to figure out what they’re actually meant to do, at Yarno you actually get told what is expected of you, how the company works, and you know, shown the important things, like where the bathroom is.
Ah Yarno, always at the forefront of the revolution.