Approximate time to read: 2 minutes

The Automattic hiring process is known for being pretty unique. But having been through it myself and now managing other people through it, I genuinely think it’s an amazing, forward-thinking way to do it.

There are plenty of blog posts around which tell you of the hiring process but with many of these from the perspective of those who failed in their application, the results can be inaccurate or lacking some detail. As a member of the Automattic hiring team, I thought I’d give a more definitive outline.

Now, up-front, I have to point out that I’m also part of the hiring team specifically for the WordPress VIP team and, more specifically, for the Enterprise Happiness Engineer role. So, the process in other areas of Automattic and other roles will vary, so please bear that in mind.

Generally, the hiring process will consist of up to 5 stages…

  1. Your initial application (i.e. looking at your cover letter and resume)
  2. A post-interview challenge. Usually some kind of technical exercise or project to do
  3. Your first interview. Performed remotely, usually via Slack. For VIP, this asks you about the previous challenge, drilling down into anything you may have got wrong or missed. We will assess your general technical expertise, which may not have been obvious from your resume or challenge answers. For many of the developer roles the next two stages aren’t required and you’ll go straight to the trial after this.
  4. A test. Usually technical questions, a project or a further, more complex, exercise – for VIP we provide a number of examples questions that we may receive from clients and ask you to respond as if replying to them.
  5. Your second interview. This is more around you and your work mindset. Obviously, it also touches on the previous test too.
  6. A trial. This is what you’ll read about the most – you’re taken on as a paid contractor and will work aside other Automattic employees. You do this in whatever time is available to you – we don’t set minimum hours to work but, of course, we need to see enough output to make a fair judgement of your work. This stage often takes 4-6 weeks.
  7. A final chat (aka “The Matt Chat”). By this time, HR will have said that they’re happy to employ you but as no stage before will salary have been discussed. At this point, you speak to Matt (Mullenweg), HR or, for VIP, Nick Gernert – salary is discussed as well as final role details and they make the final decision to accept your employment.

It may take some time to hear back from that initial stage – usually days to weeks (in my case it was months but I’m told this is an exception!). After that it may take a few weeks to get to the trial.

Each hiring team has its own process and it will therefore vary depending on the role that you’re applying for. However, the above list represents, I hope, a fair idea of what to expect – if you’re lucky it may be shorter.

Here are some write-ups from some people who have been through (at least some of) the application process, which I would recommend…

The WordPress VIP team at Automattic are hiring

We provide consulting, support, hosting, training, and other services to some of the biggest and best WordPress sites for clients like Time Inc., Facebook, TechCrunch and The New York Times

Join the conversation


  1. I’m interested in applying to Automattic. I think I have good skills in PHP and JavaScript but I have no experience with WordPress. Do you think this would hinder my chances?

    1. It depends on the area of Automattic, and I wouldn’t want to speak on behalf of others, but I suspect it would (it would for VIP).

      My best recommendation would be to set up a local development environment that mirrors the production ones used by For VIP you can do that using these instructions:

      I would also recommend exploring the WordPress Developer Resource site, found at This is a great way to understand WordPress at a deeper level.

  2. I’ve worked with PHP, WordPress, Drupal, Node.js, Microservices, and I’m now a solution architect for an event driven Microservices architecture.

    Would the Software Engineer position expose me to architectural challenges?

    What does VIP really entail?

    Are there any hands off opportunity like engineering manager or product owner?

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