Use tryouts to build great teams


When you recruit and hire people you really want this to be successful. A “bad hire” is bad in so many ways. So, we would engage in competency-based interviewing, run countless assessments, perform reference and background checks (even asked references if they knew other references – the extra mile). Candidates would go through a week-long engagement process to better understand us and our organisation. At the same time this was for us to better understand them in terms of who they are, any knowledge gaps, necessary development plans, training plans and how and where they would best fit.

Only then we would make an offer and (if they accepted) the new employees would go through a serious on-boarding and specific assignment training program. All this would be guided by a dedicated experienced mentor. Needless to say, perhaps, we are really serious about building the best teams and organisation possible.

However, at Automattic they use something we all should add to our best hire practices… Matt Mullenweg (CEO of Automattic) calls it: tryouts. It is as simple as it is effective.  He says: “At Automattic we focus on what you create, not whether you live up to some ideal of the ‘good employee.’ […]  every final candidate [is] to work with us for three to eight weeks on a contract basis. […] they can work at night or on weekends, so they don’t need to leave their current jobs. […] They can size up Automattic while we evaluate them.”

The results are great (in 2013 they hired 101 people and only 2 did not work out).

Something to add to your best hire practices!

PS: the final interview is with the founder… by text message! 


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