Ok, I promised you some radical ideas and here is the first of many. Whenever we go recruiting we do it as Automattic and I think that is a problem. I’ve been to a dozen events and people have no clue who Automattic is. It’s a really bad problem when you first have to explain who the heck you are before trying to convince them to work for you.
Once you do tell them who you are they are all excited because most people (who we are trying to hire) have heard of WordPress. It’s a big brand with lots of name recognition. The only way I get out of being made felt bad by my former law school classmates is I tell them I work for “WordPress” (I know it’s a tad misleading) and they are all impressed. If I told them I worked for Automattic they probably would try to give me some cash or something as they feel bad for me 🙂 .
So I think our recruiting efforts should be done by our most recognizable brand, WordPress.com. I know there is some weirdness over WP.org vs WP.com and we don’t want people thinking the open source project is owned by Automattic but I think those issues can all be resolved. I’ll estimate that our applications and such will go up by 3453% if we started recruiting as WordPress.com and moved our job listings to careers.wordpress.com (or something similar).
Automattic won’t go anywhere, we’ll still be employed by Automattic but I think it would be ok if the corporate entity was not as visible. This is done all the time in the web world. MailChimp’s parent company is Rocket Science Group, have you ever heard of them? I haven’t, but I’ve heard of MailChimp and since all their job listings are on MailChimp.com (their most recognizable brand) I’m sure they have no trouble recruiting people.