How We Hire
Learn more about Automattic’s hiring philosophies and processes. On this page, we cover important information about our application process and hiring principles, and provide a glimpse into the lives of current Automatticians.
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Our Guiding Principles
Our process is fair and inclusive.
People from different backgrounds, with different identities and experiences, help make our products better. Just as our users come from everywhere, a diverse staff helps ensure that we create products that are accessible to a wide range of people. And it all starts with Automatticians. Read more
Improving inclusion starts within.
To support, deepen, and expand Automattic’s Diversity and Inclusion efforts, various Resource Groups have come to life thanks to efforts from passionate Automatticians. An ARG is a group of Automatticians who identify with each other through a shared characteristic or life experience. Read more
Increasing diversity starts with hiring.
We’re serious about increasing diversity in the tech industry. We want to build an environment where people love their work and show respect and empathy to all. We’re striving to increase participation and highlight the efforts of people from underrepresented groups. Read more
Our Hiring Process
At Automattic, our hiring process differs by role to help us ensure that we’re hiring Automatticians who will thrive. We are committed to making our process a fulfilling and learning experience for everyone involved — an opportunity for candidates to demonstrate their unique skills and abilities, and also learn about us and our way of work.
Depending on the position you’re applying for, you might experience any of the following:
The first step in our hiring process for every role is applying! Each of our open positions is listed on our careers site, Work With Us.
After you’ve identified the position you’re interested in, you will be required to submit an application. Depending on the role, you might see fields to submit a resume, cover letter, and a few application questions. Make sure to dedicate time and effort to all aspects of your application. Our hiring team places a strong emphasis on thoughtful cover letters and thorough responses to application questions.
Once you submit your application, it goes straight into our Applicant Tracking System where a recruiter or hiring manager (yes, a real employee!) will review it. Fun fact: We don’t use software to analyze or decline anyone who applies.
After our team has evaluated your application against the requirements of the role, they will contact you via email to let you know whether or not you’ll be moving to the next stage of the hiring process.
Want more information on how to build a strong application? Read our Application Tips from Automattic’s Talent Team.
For many candidates, one of the first steps in the application process is a Slack Interview. Slack is a text-based messaging platform that we rely heavily on as a fully distributed company. Automatticians use this platform as an easy way to share their ideas, interact, and engage with colleagues around the world. Because Slack communication is an integral part of our day-to-day, we use Slack interviews to gauge candidates’ ability to clearly convey their thoughts via text-based messaging. It’s also a great way for candidates to gain a sense of whether or not this way of communicating works for them :)
We recognize that, for most candidates, this will be a completely new experience. To help prepare you for a Slack interview, see our most important tips below!
- You’ll see Friendly Raccoon when you log into Slack. This is a tool that our developers created to facilitate the Slack channel creation. We have folks across Automattic rotate to our Talent team to help with projects just like this! Please note that Friendly Raccoon will not be conducting your interview, and that candidate interaction with this tool is optional.
- Don’t forget to log into Slack on time. Signing into your account a few minutes before the interview is key.
- Feel free to take the time you need when answering questions via text. We’re not timing your responses, and a thoughtful and error-free answer is better than a quick one.
- Come prepared with a few questions you’d like to ask your interviewer. We always leave time at the end of the interview to make sure we answer any questions you have about the role, team, and working at Automattic.
- Have fun! Reflect on whether or not the style of communication you’ve experienced in the process so far plays to your strengths and set you up for success in your career at Automattic.
For more helpful information and tips on the Slack Interview, see Jerry’s tips for text-based interviews.
Though the majority of our company uses asynchronous text-based communication, some of our positions require more face-to-face or verbal communication than others. For many of these roles, we’ll use Zoom interviews so we can get to know you better live.
Each Zoom interview typically consists of a 30- to 60-minute conversation with a member of the hiring team, where they’ll ask questions about your past work experience and future career goals.
Be sure to come prepared with specific examples of your achievements, learnings, and highlights from your past experiences that show why you’re a great fit for the position and for Automattic.
Code Test (for Engineers)
If you are applying for an engineering role, one of the early stages in the application process is completing a code test. We will invite you to a Slack channel, and also assign a code test buddy who will take point reviewing your work and answering any questions you have along the way. You can interact with your code test buddy however you like! The code test may involve a WordPress plugin or some other existing codebase that needs some modifications. Your goal will involve anything from extending/completing existing functionality, or making the plugin more secure and performant. We will provide you with a hosted environment to save setup time, or otherwise instructions to set things up on your end.
The goal of the code test is to give you an opportunity to demonstrate your approach towards problem-solving, design/complexity, and also communication. We don’t expect familiarity with other platforms or frameworks (background knowledge in WordPress internals is not required).
You can take as long as you like to complete the code test, and we intentionally don’t track anything in relation to time. We don’t track time from Automatticians, as we trust our colleagues to make the best use of their time. The hiring process is no different and we trust you to do what is best for you. That being said, we also don’t want to take too much of your time. On average, we expect the code test will take no more than 10 to 20 hours, and this is done asynchronously over the course of approximately a week.
All positions at Automattic involve a paid trial in the application process, which is a short project or set of tasks that will be assessed by our hiring teams. We’ve found that the best way to evaluate working with someone is to do just that!
Trial projects vary depending on the role you are applying for, but they are based on very real areas of work within our teams. Similar to the code test, you will be assigned a Trial Guide who will provide feedback on your project and can help with any questions that come up while you’re working.
Depending on the role you are interested in and the time you’re able to commit, the trial can last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. Most candidates complete the trial while working full-time and we know life is busy! Because of this, we encourage all candidates to determine their own working hours and schedule during this project. If you’re curious about specific time requirements, check in with your recruiter for additional information.
You can read more about tips and the philosophy behind our trial project in the What to Expect During the Trial guide and this Harvard Business Review article (Note: The HBR article is from 2014 and Automattic has grown significantly since then. We have made a few updates to our recruiting processes and our candidate volume has increased, but our philosophy behind the trial remains the same).
“The more we thought about why some hires succeeded and some didn’t, the more we recognized that there is no substitute for working alongside someone in the trenches. So we gradually changed our approach.
“The most significant shift [from other companies] we’ve made is requiring every final candidate to work with us on a contract basis.”
— Matt Mullenweg, CEO
Executive Lead Chat
Once a candidate successfully completes their Trial, many teams require a Final Chat before proceeding to the offer stage. The Final Chat is typically conducted by an executive leader within the business unit. Matt Mullenweg used to conduct these himself, but Automattic has grown significantly over the past few years!
The main purpose of this chat is for candidates to learn a bit more about Automattic. At this point, we want to give applicants as much information as possible to ensure the position is the right next step for their career. The executive leader will typically engage candidates in a conversation about their background, interests, and motivation to join Automattic. They are also there to answer any remaining questions candidates have about the role, team, and company as a whole.
Almost to the finish line! At this stage, the hiring team has received approval from our CEO, Matt, to extend a formal offer. A member of our HR team will message you directly via Slack to set up a time to align with you on compensation and a start date.
During this conversation, you’ll share your compensation expectations (if you haven’t already!), and, assuming the conversation has gone well, our HR partner will extend a verbal offer, taking into account the range for the role you’ve applied for, your related experience, and additional factors.
Following this conversation, HR will send a formal offer letter for your review and signature. Once signed and returned, a member of our onboarding team will reach out with further details to make sure you have everything you need for your first day as an Automattician!
Hear From Automatticians on Their Hiring Journey
Curious about hearing stories and experiences from current Automatticians? Explore a few personal blogs and team YouTube playlists below.
A Few Employee Blogs
“I started at Automattic on November 20, 2019, and it’s an incredible place to work. I’m constantly impressed by my coworkers’ kindness, intelligence, and compassion.” Read more
Darren Ethier (Code Wrangler)
“Automattic’s hiring process is done entirely over Slack and for the duration of the whole process I was added to a private slack channel (#hi-darren-ethier) where all the interviews and follow-up discussions happened.” Read more
YouTube Playlists – Employee Video Intros
Watch the Youtube playlists below to see some current employees and friendly faces chatting about life at Automattic.
- Meet our Code Wranglers
- Meet our Mobile Engineers
- Meet more Automatticians
Role and Team Specific Information
A few teams at Automattic have created their own resources and guides to document their specific recruiting processes. Some teams have also put together informational blogs about their projects and teammates. If you’re applying for one of the roles below, follow the links to learn more!
Learn more about Hiring for Developers
Learn more about Hiring for Happiness
- Happiness Blog
- Podcast with Andrew Spittle on Happiness hiring
- Testimonial (including advantages of async interview)
Learn more about Design
Learn more about Hiring for WordPress VIP