Automattic

How We Hire Developers

We’re fortunate enough to receive thousands of applications per year and start hiring conversations with hundreds of people. If you’re one of them, here’s what to expect.

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.

Unconscious biases are real, so our interviewers actively seek to make our process less biased and more fair through:

  • Training – we’ve found Facebook’s course on Managing Bias and Google’s workshop on Unconscious Bias @ Work to be quite effective.
  • Using a standardized hiring rubric to ensure objectivity, fairness, and consistency.
  • Documenting our hiring decisions with written evidence structured around the specific qualities we’re looking for.

Our process is enjoyable and a learning opportunity · Our second most important goal, in addition to finding great new Automatticians, is to be the best Automattic ambassadors there are. This means:

  • We are unfailingly kind to candidates, no matter their skill level, attitude, stage in the hiring process, or our final decision.
  • We provide timely, clear, and honest communication and feedback to candidates, as well as access to our people for any questions and concerns.
  • We never miss an opportunity to share the Automattic story: how we do things, what our mission is, and why it’s a great place to work.

At the end of the process we hope that candidates have learned something about Automattic, about programming, and/or about themselves; and feel that their experience was instructive and worthwhile — no matter the outcome.

We give people the courtesy of a quick response · We ensure transparency throughout the process and will always seek to provide quick, timely feedback and to move people through the process as efficiently as possible.

OUR HIRING PROCESS

When you apply and are selected for an interview at Automattic, it kicks off a five-part process conducted via Slack, GitHub, and P2s. It gives you (and us) a chance to see what it would be like if you worked here – and it means that by the time you’re hired, you’re familiar with how we do things and can hit the ground running.

1. Screening chat · We’ll invite you to our Slack to kick things off. We’ll tell you a little about the process and give you a chance to ask some questions; we’ll also ask a few things to learn about you.

2. Interview · Interviews are conducted via Slack – they’re text-only. That’s how we work day-to-day, so we want to interact with you in that medium. The initial interview is a 90-minute chat (which we’ve found is the equivalent of a 60-minute face-to-face interview) with an engineer, which covers subjects like motivation, technical depth, problem solving, and managing complexity. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to ask questions, too.

3. Coding challenge · If the interview goes well, the next stage is a take-home coding challenge with a near-real-world piece of code that closely replicates our normal work. We use it to evaluate your abilities around security, performance, and problem solving, as well as how you communicate and adapt to an unfamiliar codebase.

This exercise should take no more than 4-6 hours of actual coding time. We generally allow a week to complete this stage, though it’s fine if you need more time — just let us know. We timebox this part of the process so that you have clear expectations around how much time to spend, and because we know that you have other obligations in your life. Unlike a whiteboarding interview, you can do this at your own pace and with your own tools.

4. Trial · Here’s where you really get to see what it’s like to work at Automattic. Trial projects help both of us to determine mutual compatibility and let us evaluate your work, communication, and effectiveness. This work is paid, part-time, and designed to last between two and eight weeks, for a total of around 40 hours of work. This is very flexible, and we’ll craft it to work with your schedule – both when you can start and what your availability is. If you’re able to work full-time on the project, great. If you can only work two hours on alternate Tuesdays, that’s fine, too.

5. Offer · This is the point at which we discuss salary and start date. We can be very flexible about start dates, in order to accommodate things like notice to previous employers or time off prior to commencing employment with Automattic.