My Journey to Joining Automattic

Recently I joined Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, Jetpack, WooCommerce, Tumbler and many other amazing products. This blog describes the story behind me joining Automattic.

Backstory

WordPress has been something that has hugely influenced my life. I got familiar with web development playing with WordPress to create my own website when I was a teenager. I then found my passion for coding and programming and choose CS when I got admitted for graduation. WordPress sparked my interest towards this field of programming and later became something I regularly work with and love. Had there not been an easy and customisable tool for creating websites, I would probably be doing something else. Automattic being the company led by co-founder of WordPress Matt Mullenweg and contributing so much to the WP eco-system has always been in my radar. Working here was a dream of mine which I never thought I’d achieve. However, more important than all that, Automattic creed is something I find speaking my mind.

Is it a difficult process?

Though I say it was “dream of mine which I never thought I’d achieve”, the recruitment process was not that difficult. In fact it was probably the most pleasant recruitment process I have ever experienced. I even argue that getting an offer from Automattic is easier than any other company, even if it is not as appealing as A8c. The reason behind that is, Automattic does not hire to fill fixed number of positions. The company is growing fast and the hiring bandwidth is so large. You do not have to compete against others, you just have to show that you and the company are a good fit. At this point, I should confess that, I got in, in my second try. Not because the hiring process was difficult, but the limitation of my mind set. The problem was, I did not think it is realistic that I could make it.

Attempt 1

I saw a job posting by Automattic on stack overflow. I am someone who tries everything even if I don’t think I can. So, I applied for the sake of applying. If they reach out to me, even that would be an experience. There is nothing to loose.

The slack interview

I received an email inviting me to join slack and take part in the screening process, great! So, I joined slack and got introduced with my interviewer. It was not a rapid fire Q&A session. It was more like a chat where she got to know about me and my past experience. Strangely, this was not a test for my WordPress knowledge, and having prior WordPress knowledge is not required. By the end of our chat, I was notified that I could go to the next step. ๐ŸŽ‰

Code test

The next step is a take home project. It was an existing project where I was instructed to fix few issues and find faults in the existing implementation. Basically to check whether you can solve problems and if you have a good instinct for debugging and common issues. There was no set duration given and an engineer from a8c would be available if I needed any clarifications or discussions. He will also review my submission and decide if I am fit to go to the next step. Well, the project was easy and straightforward, I submitted it after few days. The engineer reviewed my submission and gave me feedback on the good and bad. I was then moved to the next stage. ๐ŸŽ‰

The trial

This is final step of screening and if you are successful at this stage, you will receive an offer. On the trial I worked with a8c on a real project. The timing and commitment to hours are something I could choose, and there was a fixed $25 per hour payment. I was given a trial buddy, an existing employee of a8c whom I could discuss with and he would also determine if I am going to be a good colleague. I was given more access on slack to different a8c channel, and some internal websites.

Unfortunately, I still did not take it seriously that I could really make it. Back then, I had a bad habit of not being able to say no to new work opportunities. I was working a full-time, a part time some irregular freelance gigs and the trial ๐Ÿคฏ. As a result I could not keep up with my own committed hours and did not communicate the progress with my trial buddy. When it was as if I had ghosted, my trial buddy let me know that the trial is not working out and he is ending it ๐Ÿ˜ข. This is not surprising. Communication is oxygen to a remote-first company and being communicative and pro-active is the key to the mechanism. Only after I failed, I realised how close I came and that it was realistic to get a chance to work at a8c ๐Ÿ˜”.

I was finally convinced that I could make it but I was informed that I could apply again after a year. So, I waited…

Attempt 2

After failing last time I had put the one year mark in calendar. I needed to apply again and this time, do it seriously. So, I waited 365 days and applied again. I could skip the slack interview step and moved directly to the code test. After completing that, the time for the trial came. This time I focused a bit more and made sure to communicate proactively. If you are reading this and are going to face this stage yourself, my recommendation is to give it some focus. Well, take the flexibility of committing comfortable number of hours and schedule but don’t take it too much and get carried away like I did the first time.

I tried my best and after enough work was done for assessment I heard the good news that the trial was a success ๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿฅณ. I worked on the trial for 40~ hours.

Conclusion

Trial is the last step of the screening process. After the trial ended successfully, I met someone(online) from the development experience team to find the right place for me in the company. I let them know my work preferences and they helped me find the right team to work on. Only thing left after that was finalising the contract and discussing compensation.Which happened promptly within the next few days and I got to join the place I never thought I could.

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