Automattic runs a well-oiled employer brand and candidate feedback machine

About Automattic

Company Size: 1,900+
Location: San Francisco, CA
Industry: Internet Web Development Software
ATS: Greenhouse
Company Size:
Location: San Francisco, CA

Industry: Internet
Web Development Software

Growth opportunity
• A Transparent and human experience that candidates will remember, that also reflects their unique hiring processes.
• A better way to share employer brand content and resources with candidates that's more visually engaging and streamlined, deepening the candidate's understanding of the company and culture.
• A frictionless way to capture candidate feedback and understand candidate sentiment.
• Improved booking and scheduling experience
Outcomes with
• 4.58/5.00 candidate experience rating
• Replaced their candidate survey tool entirely, saving TA budget.
• 45% candidate experience survey completion rate (industry standard is 20%)
• 10+ Minutes given back on interviews for more compelling conversations
• 10% increase in offer-accept rates

• Centralized brand content and invaluable behavioral insights about candidates' interest and values

• Automated scheduling with load balancing, smart suggestions, and tailored invites

• 4.8/5.00 candidate experience rating (79% of candidates score Automattic with the happiest emoji)

• 45% candidate experience survey completion rates (compared to 5% with their previous survey tool) 

• Corresponding decrease in withdrawal rates for key departments

Automattic is the company behind, WooCommerce, Tumblr, Day One, Simplenote, Jetpack, Akismet, Pocket Casts, and more—making it a publisher, an e-commerce giant, and a social media network all in one. The company’s goal is “to democratize publishing and commerce so that anyone with a story can tell it, and anyone with a product can sell it.” Automattic has been a distributed company since its founding in 2005, and today there are more than 1,900 “Automatticans” in 95 countries, speaking more than 120 languages. “Of course, this means that our recruiting technology has to be fit-for-purpose and innovative as a company that is truly global,” says Nitin Moorjani, Director of Talent Ops. “The mission I have in Talent Operations is to enable our Talent Infrastructure as best as possible; from processes to programmes that drive growth, scale, and innovation. Candidate experience plays an important part in this. So how can Talent ensure we treat candidates as customers, with the same considerations we treat our hiring teams?”

“The concept of candidate portals was so refreshing to see when we first met with We could see the immediate value this would bring, and we were super impressed with how positive the feedback was as soon as we launched. We nearly 10x'd our candidate experience survey completion rates. We were able to confirm through data that we genuinely offer an awesome experience, regardless of what the outcome was. And even better we could see insights and feedback that were actionable to continuously improve the way we do things. We were able to bring back to life a programme that was previously a challenge.” 

- Nitin Moorjani, Director of Talent Ops @ Automattic

"We ended up moving away from our previous candidate survey tool, because the numbers spoke for themselves. It really was a no-brainer after our initial pilot with"

Automattic’s hiring process is longer than most because it involves month-long trial periods in which candidates effectively join the company to see a project through to completion. “We give them access to our systems and to the team,” Nitin explains, “and we get to see how they work to solve something. And by the time it’s solved, the candidate has experienced what it’s like to work at Automattic—the culture, team comms and dynamics. So everyone has conviction when the offer letter goes out, which is why some quarters we see 100% offer-accept rates.” But the duration and the intricacy of the hiring process often made it difficult to communicate over “ten or 15 different email threads,” Nitin says: “Here’s what the trial will entail; here’s the information you need to get started; here are all the systems you’ll need to sign up for.” The team needed a central platform that would reflect both the singularity and maturity of its hiring process.

When reached out, Automattic was working with another candidate experience provider, but “it wasn’t going well,” Nitin recalls. “We had more use cases than it was built for.” What’s more, he says, “the candidate portal Chris and Kyle showed us was an actual paradigm shift. We couldn’t have imagined anything like it until we saw it. The initial surprise just hooked us.” Nitin’s team introduced the concept to the business and “everyone loved it,” he says. They ran a pilot and “the results were incredible. We nearly 10x’d the number of survey responses we got, candidates were engaged with our content, and every bit of feedback we got concerning the platform was delighted. No one had ever experienced a central portal with everything they need—photos and details of who they’ll meet next, company content that ‘unlocks’ as they progress—in a single place like this.”

Automattic is no longer with their previous candidate experience provider, Nitin says. “ performed too well to do otherwise.”

Centralized brand content + behavioral insights: "It lets us know what candidates value"

Automattic’s Talent team has an impressive archive of employer brand resources: “content about our leadership team, about our distributed work philosophy, about our company creed, employees’ stories, and more,” Nitin says. Prior to implementing, all of that messaging was embedded in email communications with candidates. “We dropped content and messaging into so many emails that there’s no way we didn’t overwhelm candidates,” Nitin says. “But then, this has been the status quo for most recruiters: multiple email threads with multiple links for every candidate. If a candidate couldn’t find something we sent them, we’d send it again in another thread, which only compounded the problem.” 

" gives us insights into what candidates are looking at and how long they're spending with certain content. That's priceless information for us. It lets us know what the value, which ultimately helps us optimize our messaging and know what to lead with in our interviews"

With’s portal, the team now centralizes all of its content in one place. “And every time a candidate passes to the next stage of the hiring funnel, they get access to new content in their portal—the details about their upcoming interview, or a deeper dive into company culture, for example. It’s a way of keeping candidates engaged as the process draws on.” What’s more, when the team’s messaging happened over email, “we could never see how candidates engaged with the content. But gives us insights into what they’re looking at and how long they’re spending with certain content. That’s priceless information for us. It lets us know what they value, which ultimately helps us optimize our messaging and know what to lead with—and speak to—in our interviews.”

Automattic’s team is currently thinking about leveraging’s portal for pre-boarding "We see an opportunity to also optimize the post-hire experience. New hires will have been familiar with the platform at this stage so we could also impact employee experience as soon as they're hired". “Otherwise,” he explains, “we offer an incredible experience during the hiring process and then move candidates to a less-compelling, less human-centric platform. has built something that’s transferable and applicable to the post-hire experience. Right now my goal is to ensure that the platform is adopted and maximized, but I’d like to centralize our onboarding content here, too, so we can give new hires the same terrific experience they had as candidates.”

Collective candidate feedback: "Almost immediately, our survey completion rates surged"

Nitin says that "simplifies this with pulses, which is more open-ended and not as constrained as a survey. It takes a few moments of a candidate's time, and they are free to share anything they'd like. The concept of pulses felt frictionless from the get-go"

Collecting candidate sentiment has always been a critical element of hiring at Automattic: Even prior to using, the team surveyed active candidates at various stages of the hiring process. “But there were a number of problems with our early surveys,” recalls Nitin. “For one thing, they were quite long. Our survey platform also didn’t integrate well with our other systems, so data collection was sometimes manual; and engagement was meager—completion rates were lower than 5%.” That wasn’t going to cut it at Automattic, where “the voice of the candidate is significant,” Nitin says. “Surveys are a primary channel for candidate feedback. We’re not going to become a world-class hiring organization without them."

Nitin says that “essentially reimagined the candidate survey.” The portal features pulse checks, which aren’t full surveys, but what he describes as “very open-ended ways of capturing feedback.” Candidates choose between five emojis, from very frustrated to very happy. Every pulse check also includes a text box where candidates can give written feedback about whatever is present for them at that stage of the process. “No leading questions,” Nitin says; “they just speak to the parts of the process that they want to speak to.” Nitin describes this new feedback model as “super powerful. Almost immediately, our survey completion rates surged from 5% to 44%. This was within the first week of our pilot, so we saw very clearly that this new mechanism was working.” A greater volume of candidate feedback means greater signal on some critical questions: Where does the team need coaching? Where do they need training on best practices? Where are they not aligned? 

“Almost immediately, our survey completion rates surged from 5% to 44%. This was within the first week of our pilot, so we saw very clearly that this new mechanism was working.”

Nitin adds that the feedback recruiters are seeing has mostly been “uplifting. 79% of candidates are clicking on the happiest emoji. And because candidates are actually engaging with the pulse checks, recruiters are finally seeing the kind words and encouragement that they haven’t had access to in the past. Our recruiters carry a lot of reqs, and the overarching mandate right now is “do more with less.” Their plates are full. So those one-off compliments from candidates are no small thing. They can be game-changers in a day.” "makes the world of later-stage scheduling virtually effortless" recently introduced a scheduling feature “which took us by surprise,” Nitin said. “We’ve always had issues—I haven’t worked at a company that doesn’t—because scheduling is inherently complicated. This is especially the case for a global company like Automattic, since we’re working in over 90 countries with a lot of time zones. The team at deeply understood our particular pain points.

”In the portal, candidates can self-book and skip the time-intensive back-and-forth with recruiters or coordinators (which Automattic calls “specialists”). offers load-balancing for equitable workloads, smart suggestions to optimize interviewers’ calendars, automated calendar holds, and tailored invites with the right details for everyone. “It’s made our scheduling super slick,” says Nitin. “Because the portal is integrated with our ATS, it pulls in all the data so our specialists don’t have to manually enter it. What’s the source? Who’s the recruiter on the role, what time is the interview scheduled for? All those details are automatically taken care of. LinkedIn hasn’t done this; our ATS can’t do it. But integrates scheduling with the entire candidate experience—seamlessly.”

"Withdrawal numbers have gone down across the board"

Nitin says that while the biggest impacts Automattic has seen thanks to have been increased survey completion rates and company ratings, he’s also watched withdrawal rates go down since the team implemented the platform. “A lot of factors go into withdrawals, and so of course I can’t posit a direct correlation,” he says. “But we did compare the number of candidates who withdrew pre-portal with the number of candidates who withdrew post-portal, and the numbers have gone down across the board.”  “What I do know,” Nitin continues, “is that the portal drives engagement, and engagement keeps candidates actively in process. So it makes sense that would have a positive impact on that commitment.”

“We did compare the number of candidates who withdrew from our process pre-portal with the number of candidates who withdrew post-portal, and the numbers have gone down across the board.”

The advantages of for Talent Operations 

From a Talent Ops perspective, Nitin is clear where the benefits lie. “Any Talent Ops/RecOps person wants simplicity, high adoption, a terrific user experience, and a swift ROI with any solution.’s platform is super clean—from the UX and UI, to the integrations with Slack, Zoom, Greenhouse, and Gmail. It was remarkably easy to set up. And there’s a true partnership with the team: We have feedback and they implement it—though it’s often a feature they were already working on, because they have their ears to the ground when it comes to our day-to-day pain points.”

Nitin adds that a portal such as this has been long-awaited in the recruiting space. “I think talent professionals have known that something had to turn up as a new category in this space, because candidate experience is in need of a fundamental revision. That new category is finally here. And thank goodness, because we’re all being asked to do more with less. Talent Ops needs to be very strategic about what their team’s infrastructure looks like: What ecosystem will give us the best ROI; how do these tools connect with each other; how do we make that connection seamless for both recruiters and their candidates?”

“Talent professionals have known that something had to turn up as a new category in this space, because candidate experience is in need of a fundamental revision. That new category is finally here.”

 - Nitin Moorjani, Director of Talent Ops @ Automattic