Applying To Be a Happiness Engineer (Part 1)

Back in July of this year (2018) I knew I needed a change.  I had sold my original WordPress theme business at the end of 2016 and I had felt a bit unsettled ever since.  What I was doing wasn’t working.  It was time for a real change.

One morning while out on a walk, I started thinking and praying about what options were out there.  All the people who work at Automattic that I’ve met over the years shared one thing in common:  they all seem to absolutely love their jobs.  When you meet multiple people who are so happy with their employer, it tends to make a mark on you.  On my walk, I started thinking about that and the opening at Automattic for a Happiness Engineer my wife had told me about.  I decided I would jump in and apply.


Getting started is pretty straightforward.  You can find out which positions are currently open in the work with us page.  Even though I have a background as a developer, I was interested in being a Happiness Engineer.  In my previous theme business, I always loved interacting with my customers and trying to help them achieve their goals so being a Happiness Engineer was a good fit for me.

Each job has their own way to apply.  Be aware that these instructions can change at a moment’s notice.  I started planning out my application and the instructions under “How To Apply” changed to something related, but different a bit later.  Just be aware and make sure you follow the current instructions.

I had read in several posts from a few years back that it took up to several months to hear back about an application.  That left me a bit worried that I might not hear anything until November or so (this was in July remember).  Thankfully it was only a few days before I heard back from the hiring team.

From here I was given a task to perform and no I’m not going to tell you what the task was.  It wasn’t particularly difficult, but it did require attention to detail.  After that task was complete I had my first chat with someone on the hiring team.  Since Automattic is a completely distributed company most of our interactions are via text-based communications.  When you consider that, it makes sense that the interview was conducted via Slack and not in person or over the phone.

Our initial chat interview took about an hour to complete.  I was nervous going into it, but the person I chatted with was easy to talk to and engaging.  They put me at ease quickly.

After that first chat interview, I was given another task to perform.  This one was more a series of small tasks than one large one.  After I submitted it I had a second chat interview with the hiring team lead.  This one was also about an hour and the hiring team lead was encouraging and helpful.  Not long after that, I received an email that I had been selected to join a trial.

My family had a vacation to Disney World planned for my kids’ fall break so I was a bit worried about that conflict.  I didn’t want to interrupt the trial, but I also didn’t want to miss our vacation.  Thankfully I was given two start date options for the trial so I picked the second one that started a week after we returned.  Crisis averted.

So that left me with about two months to wait after my last chat before I would start the trial.  To find out what happens there, you’ll need to read the next post.  If you have any questions, please feel free to post them here as a comment and I’ll happily get back with you.

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