LRN Interview Questions & Reviews
Getting an Interview
- Popular Job Titles:
- Executive Assistant (2)
- Misc (1)
- Engagement Executive (1)
- GreenOrder Analyst (1)
- Presumably A Leadership Role -- They Don't' Have Titles (But Do Have A Chief Executive Officer/Exec Committee)! (1)
- Product Development [But There Are No Job Titles At LRN] Buyer Beware! Cultish & Manipulative Process! (1)
- Job (1)
- Leader (1)
- Software Engineer (1)
- Marketing (1)
- Technology (1)
- Technology Area (1)
- Sales Development Executive (1)
- Sales (1)
- IT Project Manager (1)
- SME (1)
- Sound Designer (1)
- Enlistment Executive (1)
- Senior Quality Assurance Engineer (1)
Leader Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 5 months - interviewed at LRN in December 2010.
Interview Details – Extended hiring process, went almost five months from first interview to job offer.
Interview Question – Why would you want to work here after your last job, which seems so much more exciting and important? Answer Question
Negotiation Details – There is no negotiation, but this was not explained to me until I nearly had my offer revoked for asking for more (was asking for $3,000 more a year).
Executive Assistant Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 months - interviewed at LRN in December 2013.
Interview Details – Went to two interviews. Am hour long each one. Grilled about how I feel being in such an environment where there are no titles and no one is the boss. I was contacted by a recruiter for this position. After the 2nd interview my recruiter called and said they are unable to make a decision at this time. What a waste of everyone's time.
Interview Question – Most of the questions were how I would feel in such an enviornment. They also reasoned twice, "what is it you think we do?" Answer Question
Product Development [But There Are No Job Titles At LRN] Buyer Beware! Cultish & Manipulative Process! Interview (Negative Experience)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 3 months - interviewed at LRN.
Interview Details – Very long & disorganized process that borders on disrespectful. 3 week periods between contacts.
Several unethical bait 'n switches occur during the hiring process, the most common occurring at the very end of the cycle:
1. Offering an startlingly lower salary than discussed.
2. Hiring you in a temporary contractor role with no benefits even though the job posted was for full-time.
3. Trying to staff you in a completely different role than the one you thought you were interviewing for.
4. Using the 'flat', 'no titles' talking point to befuddle you into a role that (were it to have a title) would be a massive career demotion for you.
Because even though LRN may have a role for you in mind, any attempt to get clarity on 'what you'll actually be doing' will be evaded or you will be chastised for failing to embrace a flat-mindset.
Cultish, CEO is not what you'd expect at an ethics organization. Comes off as narcissistic and condescending. Interviewers want you to praise his book/thinking to show you fit. People seem scared of him.
Offices are pretty, but employees in the office did not seem happy.
Here are questions YOU should ask of LRN:_______
1. "What is the average attrition rate of employees at LRN?" (true answer: approx 6 mo-1 year)
2. "How long has it been that way?" (true answer: +9 years)
3. "Did LRN award bonuses the last three years?" (true answer: no)
4. "Explain to me in granular detail, what are the specific metrics that the organization would have to hit for me to receive my FULL bonus?"
(True answer: Your bonus is tied to annual corporate-wide targets set by the CEO that are based entirely on magical thinking. There's no way the organization can realistically hit these stratospheric numbers because the CEO just sort of came up with because they sounded good. Every year, everyone's too scared to contradict him).
5. "Realistically, do you think LRN currently has the staff in place to hit that bonus threshold?"
(True answer: no. those functions are massively understaffed. CEO seems to be redirecting personnel away from the activities closely associated with traditional revenue streams)
6. "If I was to ask 3 employees who just departed why they left, what would they say?"
(True answer: they would say - "keep looking, everyone's scared of the CEO, there's no growth and everyone's underpaid". The interviewer will probably say something like: "well, LRN is not for everyone, we need people really inspired by our mission")
7. "What is the process for getting a raise in a company with no titles and therefore no promotions?"
(True answer: there is no real process. the process is you agitating to ask a scary CEO to give you more of his scroogedollars. Some meager salary adjustments do occur, but nothing commensurate with what you'd get if you got an actual raise in a normal company. which means that the more years you devote to LRN, the more underpaid you'll be at that stage in your career - because you've missed out on all the salary increases you'd have had access to over the years in a normal job. Which is one of main reasons why everyone seems to leave LRN.)
In summary: Buyer Beware!! Seems like a creepy cult.
The hiring process felt unethical & manipulative.
- Have you read the CEO's book "HOW"? What inspires you about LRN's mission? View Answer
- LRN is a flat company with no titles. How do you feel about taking on non-traditional job responsibilities? View Answer
Negotiation Details – The negotiation phase was the most shocking, upsetting part.
After months of a long drawn out process, (disorganized to the point of being disrespectful), this ETHICS ORGANIZATION comes back and totally, deliberately lowballs you or tries to shoehorn you into a totally different role.
Let's say you got paid 60k at your last job, but told LRN you were looking for 70k to move, they will come back at the very, very end and say: "welcome aboard, we're prepared to offer you 57k". Completely manipulative. Which besides being a bait n' switch, isn't based on any role-specific benchmarking. Just stinginess.
Hypothetically, if you're still interested you might be able to negotiate it up to 62-63k (even if it requires you relocating to pricier NYC from a less expensive city).
This experience is not unique. Almost everyone at LRN is notably underpaid and felt betrayed/manipulated during the salary negotiation. Seriously, the first time you go out for drinks with coworkers, ask for a show of hands of who feels underpaid and manipulated during the hiring process. All hands will go up.
But before you do all that... it's better if you reflect for a second on what this means:
What sort of organization that touts ethics and building trust, would undermine that trust at such a critical stage of enlisting a new employee into the organization?
Best-case scenario: it's just due to terrible disorganization and negligence, that is so rampant it manifests in ways that blatantly contradict what LRN claims to stand for.
Worst-case scenario: its an early sign of the hypocrisy to come. LRN recites its talking points, but isn't too bothered when it doesn't walk the talk. It's all surface and no substance. All the effort goes to polishing the outside of the shiny apple, but little attention is paid to whether or not the apple is rotting on the inside. In any ethical environment, the personal well-being and development of its population matters. At LRN it doesn't matter.
(real answer: it's the worst case scenario.)
Misc Interview (Negative Experience)
Interviewed at LRN
Interview Details – Came in for an interview with two people. The process was pretty straightforward and clear. Very conversational, but confusing. Ended up having pretty interesting conversations, but one interviewer seemed really arrogant. Overall, I left with a bad feeling about this place, unsure of what value that actually add to companies. They claim a "flatness" but there are clearly cubicles in the office. I dont get that. There is a cultish feel to the place, and from what I have read, the CEO is horrible. Also, their YouTube videos are just hilarious. They span from incredibly confusing montages of random clips, to interviews with the staff where you dont come away with anything about what they actually do, to attempts at humor which fail miserably and actually give off the vibe that their sense of reality and company culture is terribly misguided and irrelevant.
Interview Question – What do you think we do? Answer Question
Very Easy Interview
Engagement Executive Interview (Negative Experience; Very Easy Interview)
I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at LRN.
Interview Details – Incredibly long string of uncoordinated and repetitive interviews (at least 12). Scheduled with HR to lock out a half day and took time off from work - the scheduled interviewers cancelled and shuffled in other employees who were unprepared (understandably). Following an interview with a rather condescending gentleman in a senior position, I easily decided "LRN is not for me". This firm feels too political in nature. While promoting ethics in the work place is noble, the company felt too dependent on its CEO, as if it were a religious philosophy with HOW as its text, and seemed deficient pragmatic business sense. I ended the process early before meeting with Dov having discovered it wasn't my best option for my career trajectory.
Interview Question – A thoughtful ethics question posed by a C-level executive. If you read HOW, these questions are simple to solve. Answer Question
Presumably A Leadership Role -- They Don't' Have Titles (But Do Have A Chief Executive Officer/Exec Committee)! Interview (Negative Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 months - interviewed at LRN.
Interview Details – I was recruited to interview for an undefined senior role with LRN. I met with several people (I think leaders, but they wouldn't call themselves that) at the company. I must say this was the most disorganized, unprofessional organization with which I have ever dealt.
Interview Question – Be prepared to speak about how you don't care at all about structure, how you're willing to take a huge pay cut for an ill-defined job that (if it doesn't work out) won't necessarily give you any transferable skills, how you are obsessed with their ill-defined positions and organization. Those who have been there for a long time seem really to drink the kool aid and they expect you to stroke their egos about how wonderful it is to work at a flat organization that pays you poorly, apparently treats its employees poorly, and doesn't even know what they want you to do if you're "lucky" enough to be hired. And their recruiter was among the least professional with whom I've ever dealt. After such a negative interview experience, I decided -- appropriately I'm sure -- not to work there. If this is how they treat candidates, how do they possibly treat employees? Answer Question
Technology Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at LRN in August 2012.
Interview Details – First a few emails with a few basic questions, then a phone conversation, invite to come in and meet with a group, a few more emails, 1:1, and another 1:1 again. There is no magic bullet to interview or the process. You have to be aligned with the culture of the organization and hence there is no preparation one can do to succeed, other than reading the book HOW.
Interview Question – If there was anything you could change in your life, what would that be? Answer Question
Negotiation Details – Really glad to see that the organization is very careful in hiring people who fit the culture of the organization from the start.
Very Difficult Interview
GreenOrder Analyst Interview (Neutral Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
The process took 3 months - interviewed at LRN in June 2011.
Interview Details – The first round interview was a 1:1 phone interview. Second round was a 1:1 skype interview. Then they send you "HOW" a book by LRN's CEO which you read before coming in for the third round which is a series of 1:1 interviews with analysts, senior analysts, and other people on the hiring board. This round also includes a skills assessment of a general math/science question to see how you think through simple logic as well as a business case interview. Then, the next round is a case presentation in which you have 5 hours to complete a case analysis and present your answer in 5 slides or so. If they like that, then you write short essays based on HOW and your personal fit with the company and your values etc. The final round interview is a series of conversations with the President of GreenOrder and the CEO of LRN. Be ready to discuss your weaknesses, failures, criticisms, regrets etc almost once per person who interviews you and don't lie or give a hidden response. The company values honesty.
Very Easy Interview
Executive Assistant Interview (Positive Experience; Very Easy Interview)
I applied through a staffing agency and the process took 1 week - interviewed at LRN in July 2011.
Interview Details – I was sent to LRN by Office Team which is a division of Robert Half. LRN is located in a beautiful building in midtown Manhattan. Before the interview I was briefly interviewed on the phone from their corporate office.
LRN is a company which is trying to promote the idea that excellence in workplace behavior leads to higher profits. The president is Dov Seidman. I was interviewing to be his executive assistant.
Lovely offices, very open and eco-friendly. I was briefly interviewed by Dov's present exec. assistant. She was very pleasant. Then I was interviewed by Dov and unexpectedly another woman joined in. They were both very pleasant and friendly. Dov said it wasn't an "interview," just a friendly meeting to get to know one another which is disingenuous, because of course, it is an interview. He is charismatic and describes himself as such. Both he and the woman were frank and I believe quite honest about the position. It would be a 24/7 position, frantic, maniacal pace. Dov said that although he is a friendly type guy, it's an insane situation with 20 balls up in the air all at once.
I decided the position wasn't what I was looking for, but for an EA who can cope with that sort of constant pressure and frenzied pace, I recommend it. I told Dov and the woman that it didn't sound like the right position for me. The woman said she would keep me in mind for something less intense and we all parted cordially.
Interview Question – Are you sure you want to be an Executive Assistant? View Answer