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 Support 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…
- Your initial application (i.e. looking at your cover letter and resume)
- An initial technical challenge. Usually some kind of technical exercise or project to do
- A first interview. Performed remotely, usually via Slack. For most VIP roles, the next two stages aren’t required and you’ll go straight to the trial after this.
- A test. Usually technical questions, a project or a further, more complex, exercise.
- A second interview.
- 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 3-4 weeks.
If you ever get through to this, then applicants who can work 20-40 hours per week on it have the best rates of success. I’d also recommend taking the first few days off from any current commitments that you may have, as this usually consists of initial training.
- 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…