I’m a big enthusiast for WordPress, the software that runs this site. The crew who write it (A company called Automattic) have just celebrated WordPress’s fifth birthday, and as part of their continuing success, they’ve recently expanded their software team by hiring Warwick Poole as a “Systemologist”.
Nothing strange there, you might say, apart from the weird job title. But when you learn how the Automattic team screen their prospective employees, you sense some of the off-the-wall cleverness that defines their approach to writing code, typified by their slugline slogun “Code is poetry”.
Now it’s a mantra in recruitment advertising that when you write a job ad you write it so as to only attract one person, because you only want the individual who is the perfect fit for the job, and any other applicants would be unnecessary. A large number of applicants results from a badly worded ad.
Automattic decided to first of all screen the possible catchment for new employees by not placing their job ad in any of the usual places. Instead, they hid it inside the HTML code of their website‘s pages so that only a curious geek who was seriously interested in their code and in the company would ever discover it and go on to apply for the job. In time, the perfect candidate duly visited the website, found and responded to the hidden job ad and by doing so, selected himself as the ideal prospect . They gave him the job.
Jeff – First off, congratulations on becoming the 21st employee for Automattic.
Warwick – Thanks, I am very pleased to be involved with Automattic.
Jeff – Mind telling us how this all came about?
Warwick – I am a longtime WordPress user. So I have known about the company for a while. I found Automattic´s recruitment note hidden in their HTTP headers (an innovation typical of this group) and got in contact. Then I met some of the Automattic team.
Jeff – What will your primary focus be while employed by Automattic?
Warwick – For the next few weeks, supporting WordPress.com users and helping bloggers with any support questions they have. All new employees work the support desk for 3 weeks as a way to grok the user experience and to get to know the product(s) well. It´s a great idea. All companies should do this.
Check this: http://automattic.com/about/how-we-work
Automattic are still looking for a coulple more people, but they are now making it a bit more obvious by having a dedicated Jobs page. However, Matt Mullenweg (CEO of Automattic) revealed to Jeff Chandler that there also still a secret announcement waiting to be found on the Automattic website. (hop to 00:55:00 in this podcast).
Factoid of the day: Automattic’s flagship software serves up half a billion WordPress pages every day from its WordPress.com free blog hosting site.