Billion dollar tech startup Automattic hires employees without meeting them or talking on the phone

Automattic office - San Francisco

You might not know the name Automattic, but you have most certainly used a website powered by its platform. The company is most widely recognized as the creator of the popular website building software WordPress.

When it comes to getting a job at the tech startup, an interview isn’t always necessary.

Automattic currently employs about 315 people, scattered across the globe, almost all of them working from home, it says. Although it does have a dog friendly office in San Francisco.

Remote workers get a $2,500 budget to “trick out” their home offices, plus a new Mac or other technology they may need. Teams communicate through Skype and Google Hangouts, or via WordPress tools.

The company uses the money it saves on office space to fly its employees to far off exotic locations for meet ups.

So how do you hire people remotely and create a culture that simply works?

“Our hiring process is a bit different than most companies,” writes Dave Martin on his blog. Martin is responsible for leading the design team, the growth team and the “Help Scout” product.

“We don’t schedule chats, we don’t fly people out, and we rarely even have a single voice call before people are hired,” he explains.

Instead, CEO Mullenweg screens all applicants, spending one-quarter to one-third of his time on hiring.

When a hiring manager at Automattic receives an application, they know that the candidate was already pre-approved by the CEO.

The potential candidate is invited to a Skype chat at their earliest convenience.

The manager asks “strategic” questions, like how comfortable the person is with various programming languages, to share a link/screen shot of their work, and their thoughts on things, Martin describes.

If the Skype project goes well, the applicant is asked to work on a trial project for which they are paid $25/hour with no deadline to complete the task at hand.

Even as the programmer works on their project, all of their contact comes through the form of a private blog and not phone calls.

Do a great job and you are referred back to Mullenweg for a final chat and if all goes as planned — a job offer.

The process appears to work. Martin has reviews 251 resumes in the last year, given out 41 trials, and hired 14 people — all without making a single phone call or meeting in person.