Job tryouts and other no-commitment hiring practices

The April 2014 issue of the Harvard Business Review includes an article showcasing a mid-size technology company, Automattic, that uses tryouts for all new hires. Regardless of the role they will eventually play (including, the article says, CFO), new employees start on a temporary contract at a whopping $25/hour, and within 3 to 8 weeks are given a permanent job — although only 40% make it.

I’m also hearing from colleagues and friends that other companies, from all sectors of the economy, are hiring contractors exclusively, at least for individual contributor roles,  converting a portion of them to permanent status at the end of a temporary contract,the length of which is undefined and can span many months, without benefits. Not a good deal for the worker!

We have all interviewed people who were superb interviewees but did not pan out on the job — and I know several talented support managers who have trouble finding jobs because they are poor interviewers — but this systematic use of tryouts bothers me. Are we such inept interviewers that we cannot see past the smooth operators? Such unconnected professionals that we cannot check an unsolicited reference? Such wimpy managers that we cannot swiftly fire a bad hire?

Please share your current experiences and success rates…


Sweet Sixteen

Today’s the sixteen anniversary of FT Works. I’m so thankful to our customers over the years for allowing us to flourish for so many years — and also to my partners, who have made this adventure possible, and enjoyable.

Looking forward to the next 16 — and beyond!

The FT Word – July 2014

The FT Word

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to the July 2014 edition of the FT Word. Topics for this month:

FT Works in the News

This post was written from Hong-Kong, where I was presenting a customized version of the Managing Customer Success workshop for the AsiaPac team of Cisco/WebEx. Can your Customer Success Managers use a strategic boost? Please contact me with your requirements. We deliver custom training worldwide!

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Françoise Tourniaire
FT Works
650 559 9826

About FT Works

FT Works helps technology companies create and improve their support operations. Areas of expertise include designing support offerings, creating hiring plans to recruit the right people quickly, training support staff to deliver effective support, defining and implementing support processes, selecting support tools, designing effective metrics, and support center audits. See more details at

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