No, you did not read that headline incorrectly—would you be willing to work at a company for a week before actually getting an offer to work there? Would it change your mind if you were actually being paid for that week?
Well, that is exactly how things are done at Weebly, one of the top platforms on the internet for people to start an online business with ecommerce and integrated marketing services. In fact according to their website, “More than 40 million entrepreneurs around the world use Weebly to grow their customer base, fuel sales and market their idea.”
So how did Weebly get to this point? Well, it all started back in 2007 according to a recent article on CNBC.com, according to their co-founders Dan Veltri, David Rusenko and Chris Fanini.
According to the article, “We were hiring our first person. We knew it was a critical hire and we couldn’t make up our minds,” Rusenko, CEO of the web publishing start-up, told CNBC. “So we thought, well why don’t we bring them in for a week and work with them? We’ll pay them and just see whether it works.”
Rusenko told CNBC it was “one of the best things we ever did” as a company, and it actually led to them developing what they call “trial week.”
If you think about it from a hiring prospective, their “trial week” idea makes a lot of sense. How often have you heard of stories where a person was a completely different worker than they let on in their interview? It would give employers a real advantage when it comes to trying to decide between two or three candidates—take things from the “paper and interview” stage and actually see how the candidate performs when put to the task.
The article echoed this sentiment, stating, “It allows Rusenko and the company to evaluate job candidates beyond the bullet points on their resumes, and better understand their personalities, how they would function within the team and what their work output is like.”
The intriguing thing about the Weebly story is the evolution of the “trial week” program.
It all started when they were expanding their team from three people to four, but now they have over 300-plus employees and employ this process for all of their hires. According to the article, when the “trial week” is up, candidates present the project they were given to a three to five person team, and are evaluated based on the quality of their work and ability to work in the team environment.
So, what’s the pass rate? 75 percent, according to Rusenko.
Is this a good model, or not?
Obviously the model has helped boom Weebly into one of the most successful businesses in its market thanks to building an amazing team, but is this actually a good model for hiring?
As I asked before, would you be willing to work for a week at a company (while getting paid) in order to earn a job offer? The answer to that question is a little more complicated than most think, and in this situation it would solely depend on the requirement of Weebly.
If you need to work regular, full-time hours for the week when you are supposed to be at your current job, it is difficult to blindly leave a job without a concrete offer in hand, even if Weebly is hiring at a 75 percent rate from the trial week. So on one side, Weebly could be leaving some excellent candidates on the table, and on the other, some job seekers could miss out on a great opportunity because they do not want to put their current job status in jeopardy.
It would be helpful to know how Weebly handles the trial week situation with a currently employed job seeker, so I reached out to their executive team. Unfortunately as of the writing of this article, they have not yet reached back out with a comment.
The idea of the trial week is a very good one, as long as candidates who are currently employed have an equal opportunity to prove their worth to an employer and employers are willing to pay them—like Weebly—for their week of work.
Not only does the program provide an opportunity for the employer to get to know candidates, but it allows candidates the opportunity to get to know the company before they agree to work there. Understanding complete expectations and job circumstances before signing on the dotted line make for a better team culture, which Weebly has obviously identified.
Of all the approaches we have discussed to the job seeking process, this is probably one of the most unique I have written about to date. And with 40 million customers, it is safe to say it has been at the center of Weebly’s success and will be for years to come.