How to Prepare for Your Trial
We encourage you to focus on areas of growth as you prepare for the trial. Reflect on your prior knowledge, current experience, and the feedback you have received on your application and interview. Two potential areas of focus are included below, and remember: these are suggestions to help you prepare for your trial, and are 100% optional.
Focus #1: HTML/CSS Experience
If you’d like to build up your HTML/CSS skills and WordPress.com knowledge prior to officially beginning your trial, we suggest Free Code Camp.
Focus #2: Customer Service Skills
Happiness Engineers support our users in times of need, but we also go beyond problem-solving to educate our users. To get familiar with our communication style and public-facing support resources, here are a few resources to explore:
- WordPress.com forums are a great place to start. Review examples of how we’ve responded to users to get a feel for our “customer service” communication style.
- WordPress.com support documentation is a key resource we use in direct support communications. Practice finding and linking to support documents in sample responses to a user, so that you can empower and educate them beyond your direct support interaction.
How to Practice
Feel free to use the site that you created during the application process to keep learning and trying new things — make it a frequent practice so you can see the site evolve! It can be as simple as posting an image every day through the mobile app on your phone. Play around with categories and tags. Then, you’ll have sufficient content to work with when you need to test a question or problem as you support our users.
Need some inspiration on things to try? Here are a few suggestions.
- Set up different themes and notice how that changes the display of content/features on your site.
- Check out our growing list of blocks — some might be new to you.
- Blog from anywhere! If you’re used to creating a post through WordPress.com with a web browser, try creating a post from your mobile device, or the desktop application, or even email!
- Add video, such as uploading your own video, embedding a YouTube video, and making a playlist.
- Explore the various image options (including blocks) and apply those to a few posts.
- Use “Publicize” to share new posts automatically to social media accounts.
We will ask you to write reflection posts in a personalized “P2 Trial” when your trial begins (no sooner!) so that you can track your own progress and showcase how much you’ve learned. See more in FAQ: During the Trial.
FAQ: Before the Trial Starts
Q: What is your advice for being successful during the trial?
A: Successful trials are communicative (via Slack and the Trial P2), aren’t afraid to ask questions, and embrace and apply feedback during the trial. They complete all assignments in a timely manner, focus on accuracy, and have a positive attitude!
Q: I was offered a trial, but haven’t yet received a contract. What now?
A: We generally send contracts 2-3 weeks prior to the trial start date. If you haven’t received one yet and your trial start is less than two weeks out, please reach out in Slack or via email.
Q: What is a trial lead?
A: A trial lead is a member of the HappEx (Happiness Experience) team or a Happiness Engineer who will be evaluating your work during the trial, providing you with feedback on overall performance, and making a decision whether or not to move you forward to your HR chat, and hopefully, a job offer!
Q: What is a buddy?
A: A buddy is a full-time Happiness Engineer who will answer questions you might have and provide feedback during your trial. It’s important to act on that feedback (especially related to your support interactions) and proactively ask questions.
Q: What is P2, and how will I use it in my trial?
A: P2 is the internal blog tool that we use to share updates across the entire company. We use P2s to preserve information, and we say “P2 or it didn’t happen” to remind folks not to let things get lost in the back scroll of Slack! Slack is great for immediate conversations, but for any discussion that has a decision or update attached to it, use P2 instead. You will have your own Trial P2 that you will use throughout the trial, and will learn how to use this resource when you start the trial.
Q: I got emails from you about Zendesk and Google Calendar. Do I need to do anything?
A: You can disregard those emails for now. You will get more instructions on setting up your Zendesk account and adding hours to the calendar during training.
Q. You said that trials take 15-20 hours per week. Is there a maximum number of hours?
A. Yes, the maximum of 20 hours is firm. This time parameter helps us to fairly evaluate everyone.
Q: How often do trials invoice Automattic for their hours worked during trial?
A. You can invoice us monthly or at the end of the trial. You will get more information when your trial starts.
Q: If I work only a few days in the month, should I invoice for that separately or add it all to a single invoice?
A: You can include those days in the invoice for the rest of your trial (so, one invoice is fine).
Q: Can I use a different WordPress.com username for my trial?
A: Yes, you can. Please let us know as soon as possible so we can make all of the necessary updates for tracking your progress (hint: remember the importance of “early and often” communication at Automattic).
Q: I can’t get my proxy to work!
A: If you’re having trouble with the proxy set up, please reach out in our #opers Slack channel.
FAQ: During the Trial
Q: My trial has begun and I can’t access one of the tools I need. What should I do?
A: Reach out to your trial lead; they will assist you in getting the access you need.
Q: Should I be using my trial channel or a DM to chat with my buddy?
A: We prefer that you communicate in your trial channel as much as possible, but we do understand that sometimes you prefer the privacy of a DM. Keep in mind your trial lead is evaluating you based on your communication skills (among other things!) so chatting in your trial channel will help with this evaluation.
Q. I have feedback on the training tools/resources. Where do I share that?
A. If you have feedback on any of the training, please reach out in the #training-happiness Slack channel, and a member of our Training Core will look into it further.
Q. Do my calendar hours need to be updated to reflect the hours I actually worked?
A. You only need to update the hours if they change dramatically. The calendar is more for planning purposes.
Q: What kind of work do I invoice you for?
A: Billable hours include time spent in training, interacting with Automatticians and users, updating your Trial P2, or reading P2 posts or Field Guide pages related to your trial. Reach out to us in Slack with any questions.
Q: What happens after a successful trial?
A: If your trial is successful, your trial lead will write up a summary of your trial after your final chat. They will send that to HR, who will ping you for a chat. Once you start full-time, you will join the Onboarding program, where you will spend about 6-8 weeks getting up to speed on how to be a Happiness Engineer. You will be assigned a division and team during the Onboarding period.
If you are a current or pending trial and have a question you think we should add, please reach out to your interviewer or trial lead in Slack! Good luck in your trial!