I have decided to explain the steps taken when applying for Happiness Engineer at Automattic.
For context, some months ago I set some goals for myself, as I found a couple of things I wanted to do differently.
Things about myself that became clearer:
- Freedom and autonomy of my work, tasks and ultimately, my life are essential;
- I need to work on something that I know is helping people;
- Teaching and explaining techie things to non-techie people is where I thrive;
- I need to see a sense of purpose and the passion.
A couple of options existed that filled these requirements. One of them would be to work remotely for a company that has a product or service that is actually helping people navigate technology. One of the companies that appeared and matched was Automattic: the company that powers WordPress.com, WooCommerce, JetPack and many other products.
Since I spent the last months working on WP friends’ projects I got to know a little more of WordPress and WooCommerce. I was amazed by the platform and its capabilities!
After a lot of time, and seeing this message dozens of times:
.. I finally decided to apply. In the worst case scenario, I would re-apply 6 months later. Between this and not applying at all, it was actually a no-brainer.
Automattic has its own recruitment process. It is made so that you will only progress if you really want to. Be warned: it will make you sweat and, as you start thinking about it, will crawl into your nights and dreams as you wait for the next phase to arrive.
Happiness Engineer at Automattic Recruiting Steps
As I write this, I have actually no idea how far I will get into the process. However, I will give an overview of the general process so far and the perception I have of the next steps:
Automattic asks for an email application where you can / should answer some questions specified in the job posting. It seems rather simple. It took me some time to gather the information I needed and write a text that would be simple and included everything I wanted to say. To be honest, as the process went forward and I prepared myself for the next steps, I already found a couple of things I would change in that initial text 🙂
If you are selected, you will be sent instructions to complete a small project. There is no time limit to delivery and all I can say is: for me, it was really fun! I did learn a bit in the process. I believe they manage to understand some things with this project: if you really want to work there, if you know WordPress, if you are capable of making decisions and being autonomous in your work. I do advise anyone that does this, to take high-level notes on the steps to complete the project – I did and it was really useful later on.
I was invited to a Slack Interview on the 9th January. Automattic provides support mostly via written forms (forums, live chat or email) – so the recruitment happens in writing. I really like this way – as an Introvert, it is not always easy to express what I want to say in video interviews and via Slack becomes more natural. I started to prepare for this interview:
- I read all blog posts I could find on other experiences of the recruiting process
- I dove and volunteered in the forums to understand the subjects and ways to respond them
- I read Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
- I watched all YouTube videos by Automatticians I could find
1st Slack Interview
The interview was… well: strangely nice and comfortable!
An hour before I disconnected all my communication with the world, made a Mu Tea for myself and just gave myself this time to relax. As the hour came, so did Karen’s first ping, and so it started!
Although I had read statements of previous applicants saying how nice it was I had to go through the process to feel it. Maybe the fact that I use Slack on a daily basis helped but it felt really familiar and as a friendly chat instead of an interview 🙂
After approximately an hour of chatting I was informed that I would receive an email with follow up questions.
And that was it..! A really great experience so far!
Delivered Follow Up Questions
I set the next afternoons and evenings aside to focus on this deliverable and started to contribute to WordPress forums to understand the wording, the types of questions, etc.. I read a LOT of support documents and research around numerous subjects.
At the end of the 11th January, after triple checking all of them and feeling overall satisfied (and kind of proud) of my work, I sent it in.
And I prepared myself for another wait. I knew, from what I had read in countless posts, I would either receive an invite to another interview (for the trial?) or a rejection email…
Feedback or.. Major Facepalm
I received an e-mail from my recruiter. My heart started racing as I was expecting a yes or no kind of feedback.
Instead, I read “I am not seeing the replies to the sample questions.(…)” explaining that the file I had sent was the wrong one!
I cannot express the number of emotions I felt at that moment. My instinct was to make it right as soon as possible! So I answered right back with the correct file and a HUGE apology.
Part of me though: “You had one job!“. The other tried to feel hopeful: “this will probably not be a reason for rejection”… or will it?”
I felt I could allow myself to read a bit more about the company (managing inner expectations and all) and got the “A Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work” by Scott Berkun. What can I say? If I wasn’t hooked before, now there was no coming back!
I set some time apart for this interview, as I wanted to be calm and fully focused.
As with the first interview, I disconnected all devices and distractions an hour before, made a tea, and sat at the computer reviewing the answers I had sent last time. Once again, it was really nice and all questions were posed as they would be in a conversation over coffee, which drives sincere answers!
At the end – I was invited to the next step: the trial period!! YAY!!
Thank you so much for reading all this. The Second Part of this post is here – check out how my Trial process went.
Feel free to ask questions or leave comments below 🙂