Back To Career News

The Case for Getting Hired by Audition


You can polish your resume until it’s visible from space, but all the action words in the world won’t express your true worth to a company. Likewise, a company can set up interviews with every member of the current staff, take you on a tour of the facilities, show you every project they’ve worked on in the past 20 years, but until you work there, you won’t really know for sure whether you’ll like the job. So what’s the solution?


(Photo Credit: Victor1558/Flickr)

Matt Mullenweg, founder of Automattic, thinks it’s hiring by audition. Writing at Harvard Business Review Blog Network, he explains:

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Before we hire anyone, they go through a trial process first, on contract. They can do the work at night or over the weekend, so they don’t have to leave their current job in the meantime. We pay a standard rate of $25 per hour, regardless of whether you’re applying to be an engineer or the chief financial officer.

During the trials, we give the applicants actual work. If you’re applying to work in customer support, you’ll answer tickets. If you’re an engineer, you’ll work on engineering problems. If you’re a designer, you’ll design.

Automattic ends up hiring about 40 percent of the people they audition, Mullenweg says, and the candidates who make it are uniquely qualified to work in the company’s structure, which allows employees to work at home and focuses more on results than face time at a desk.

For the company, this hiring method allows them to ensure that workers are really dedicated — because there’s no guarantee that they’ll be hired, most folks do their work on the weekend or in the evenings after they finish work at their current job.

From the perspective of a worker, however, the arrangement seems even more beneficial: they get to try out a job before they agree to take it, and they make a little extra cash in the meantime.

Tell Us What You Think

So how about it: would you ever “try out” at a job, before you took it? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Read more from Jen

Leave a Reply

Notify of
What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.