Talking Talent at Atlassian

I attended Atlassian’s Open House party last night. 300 plus people turned up.

Few observations:
A strong employment brand alone does not guarantee a steady flow of talent. Organisations who attract talent does so because they work hard at it.  Universally recognised brands are often the ones rolling up their sleeves.

Talent needs to be farmed, there is really no shortcut. You buy an engineer a beer with the knowledge you might need his skills a year from now. You invest time and money on uni students because they will join the ranks of productive citizens someday. Much of recruiting is giving first and taking later. At times it looks like karma at work. Atlassian founders are alumni of  UNSW programs. I ran into young UNSW students enjoying generous scholarships donated by Atlassian. Reaching out early is key. The good news is technology and an increasingly connected world makes it much easier. Perhaps, just-in-time recruitment thinking is not being utopian; it’s close to reality in many organisations, than imagined.

Met a couple of developers who hailed from various parts of the world – Germany, Brazil, USA and Thailand. When 457 visa is used the way it is meant to, good comes out it. 52% of engineers in Australia are born overseas. Some sectors by default requires a borderless talent strategy.  More than we realise, decisions at the policy level will greatly dictate talent movement and the fortunes of many organisations (and nations).

The likes of Joris Luijke admit they face great challenges to find good engineers (“it’s like pulling a tooth out”, I am told).  Acknowledging a problem is part of the journey to recruitment success; it forces you to take a deep look at the solutions available. Joris posses an acute sense of the staffing challenges faced by growing organisations, and he’s sharing his wisdom in Melbourne come November.

Have a look at our population map (page 3). Sarah Nguyen is Gen Y. Be prepared to see her generation taking a central role in the workplace (she believes majority of HR professionals are female. Data anyone?), if not by influence then by sheer number.

Red Oak beer is smooth. Atlassians are good host. When’s your Open House? Some pictures using iPhone.

The beer queue is long

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but is worth the wait

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Without doubt, the most popular person of the evening.

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The basement opens out to a garden – perfect setting for beer, food and chat.

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Food glorious food

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Lesson time – Atlassian’s presentation on company history

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Listening! Recruitment speaker Ross Clennett at the receiving end.

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Wall of fame (or infamy) – media coverage of recruitment @ Atlassian

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Eight down, 24 more engineers required.

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Is this how they make software?

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Brain food (No Harry Potter stuff here)

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Talent Advisor – Sarah Nguyen

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And the band played on

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2 replies
  1. S.
    S. says:

    I went through Atlassian’s recruitment process last year.

    Shambolic and intrusive would have been the words I would use to describe it.
    (Being asked your salary history for every job you’ve had/weeks between interviews)

    Perhaps it’s improved, but if it had been any other company other than Atlassian I would have walked away well before they got to the point of rejecting me.

    Maybe my experience is atypical.

  2. Sarah Nguyen
    Sarah Nguyen says:

    Phillip – Thanks for sharing your thoughts and pics. We’re glad you enjoyed the beer!

    S – Sorry to hear you did not have a good experience with our recruitment process. Our process is quite rigorous and thorough which may be construed as intrusive. At the same time, however, we do try to be as open and transparent as possible and aim to give candidates a lot of feedback throughout the various stages, particularly if they are unsuccessful.

    We’re continually refining how we do things, so if you’d like to get in touch and discuss this further, feel free to drop me an email (sarah.nguyen[at] or give me a call on 02 9262 1443.


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