Since I started working with the hiring team at Automattic we’ve had a consistent focus on hiring Happiness Engineers all over the world. At times, we’ve even focused our recruiting efforts in specific areas like Spain, Argentina, and Brazil. Over the last few years, we’ve noticed that without intentional efforts, we just don’t get as many applicants outside of North America as we do other regions. And it’s important to us to have a globally diverse team at Automattic. Additionally, over the last couple of years, our support teams have a goal to offer 24/7 live chat coverage to our customers. Since we have flexible schedules and the privilege of deciding when we work, one way to accomplish this without the need for graveyard shifts is to hire people around the world.
We already have a very diverse team, but we continue to invest time and attention to this issue. In an effort to connect with potential applicants in South Asia, a few of my colleagues organized a trip to Mumbai, India and Colombo, Sri Lanka to speak in front of groups that might be interested in a role at Automattic.
To start things off, my colleague Musannif Zahir, a VIP Account Engineer and I traveled to Mumbai where we met up with Happiness Engineers Nagesh Pai, Gaurav Meshram, and Khyati Gala. Musannif’s goal for the trip was to find developers and technical account engineers to join the VIP team at Automattic, the folks that work with our enterprise customers. I was on the lookout for potential support engineers, or Happiness Engineers, as we call them here at Automattic.
We started things off with a morning presentation to a group of students at the Vidyalankar Institute of Technology.
After a delicious Indian lunch, we drove across town to speak to the Mumbai WordPress Meetup group. Musannif talked about WordPress and Automattic and our Enterprise work, while I spoke about the way we work at Automattic and how a 100% remote team can function efficiently. We also met up with another colleague, Omkar Baghat.
That evening, we took a late flight to Colombo. We had a partial day of rest, met up with our colleagues Yuvraj Vaghela and Mahangu Weerasinghe for a dinner with the WordCamp speakers and organizers.
The next morning we attended WordCamp Colombo. WordCamp Colombo was a first-time event and very solidly organized. If the enthusiasm level of attendees was any indicator, it was quite a success. My presentation was about bridging the gap between developers and customers and I also sat on a panel about careers in WordPress with Prasath Nadarajah, Rahul Bansal, Yuvraj Vaghela, moderated by Musannif. A highlight of the event for me was meeting the author of the Contact Form 7 plugin, Takayuki Miyoshi. In terms of recruiting, I had an opportunity to speak with a number of women, some designers, a developer, and a handful who seemed interested in support.
Afterwards, we took a double-decker bus to the after-party. We ate a typical Sri Lankan meal at a beach-side restaurant and watched a fire dancer performance.
Up until this point, every moment of every day was working, speaking to the community, and stealing quick naps. It was thus far, a haze of exhaustion and I am pretty impressed with myself that I was able to deliver, fairly eloquently, three separate presentations. The day after WordCamp was our first opportunity to sightsee so Yuvraj and I went to the National Museum of Colombo where I got a very good summary of the history of Sri Lanka up to the British colonial times. I was hoping for a bit more on more recent history, but it was interesting nonetheless. Following that, we met up with Musannif for another, our final, Sri Lankan meal, this time Lamprais, rice and chicken wrapped in a banana leaf. I could eat Lamprais forever and ever.
And that was that! We rode a tuk (another highlight of the trip!) back to the hotel to get our stuff and went off to the airport. One very long airplane ride later I was home 🙂 All in all, a fantastically successful trip.
If we measure the success of this trip in the number of applications we receive, we won’t know if it’s a success for a few months. But in terms of what we’ve learned about the community and how to approach future recruiting efforts, I am super excited and optimistic for the future.
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