Six things you need to know to get hired by Atlassian

Better brush up on your giant Jenga skills if you want to work at Altassian. Photo: Alex Heber.

The competition for top tech talent has seen the market leaders turn up the heat on company culture and added extras.

Australian tech company Atlassian has perks galore to lure the best, as well as talented people to work alongside of and a no bullsh*t culture.

The Sydney office bar with craft beer on tap.

The company has been on a humongous growth trajectory, adding more than 300 new staff last financial year to take its total workforce to about 1,000 people.

In September Atlassian announced revenue was up 44% to $215 million for the year to June. Customer numbers have also jumped, with about 43,000 companies now using the software, up from 35,000 in April.

“We’re really at the stage where every 18 months we’re almost doubling the size of the company,” Atlassian APAC recruiting boss Caitriona Staunton said.

Atlassian APAC recruiting boss Caitriona Staunton.

“Some teams are only just forming now and we know they’re going to be teams of 100 in a year or two.”

Late last year Atlassian embarked on a global recruitment drive, showing potential candidates what it was like to work at the tech company, which still has more than 110 positions to fill by June 2015 in its four offices in Sydney, San Francisco, Austin and Amsterdam.

“But it could be more than that, it really depends on how fast we can meet people and induct them into the company,” Staunton told Business Insider back in November.

Atlassian CFO Erik Bardman. Image: Supplied.

Earlier this week Atlassian appointed a new CFO, Erik Bardman, as the company prepares to IPO in the US. A successful listing would not only benefit the company’s co-founders Mike Cannon-Brooks and Scott Farquhar who own about 78% of the business, but also a number of employees with share options.

Atlassian is a global company. On average about 8% of its workforce is on secondment, building out new offices and setting the tone for Cannon-Brookes’ famed “no bullsh*t” culture.

The company is attempting to scale up its Australian workforce but an international hiring strategy is also an important part of the recruitment mix.

Atlassian co-CEOs Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes

“Unfortunately Australia is not churning out enough of the tech talent to fill the jobs that it’s creating,” Staunton said.

Bardman was one of several recent executive appointments, alongside former Cisco executive Didier Moretti as VP and GM of the Service Desk business plus Citrix veteran Bernardo de Albergaria as VP and GM of the collaboration business.

New staff receive full relocation packages for themselves and their families if they have to move and before they start. Atlassian sends local employees on a vacation before they start.

To get hired Atlassian usually deploys three people to interview a candidate: Someone from the team, a manager and someone from a different department. Each person covers a different area.

“We definitely try to hire for the potential of what someone could be for us as opposed to just fitting a mould,” Staunton said.

Here are six things you should brush up on if you’re looking to become one of the “Atlassians”.

1. LinkedIn profiles are examined.

Staunton estimated about one third of the people Atlassian hires aren’t looking to work at the company, which means to discover talent, LinkedIn is an important place for the company’s recruitment team to search for candidates.

“A lot of the people we hire, we initiate the conversation. About a third of those that we hire are extremely happy in their jobs and aren’t looking, but we convince them to consider us,” she said.

But when someone does send in a CV, Staunton said she scans it to see what technologies a candidate has worked on and what impact they’ve had. One page is her ideal length.

“I’d prefer seeing achievements and impact over responsibilities that are on their job description,” she said.

2. Technical skills need to be solid

Atlassian calls it the “T-Bar” which means its looking for people who have a breadth of experience across technologies as well as an area of expertise.

“We test the technical stuff really, really early on because that’s a yes or no as to whether someone knows a product really well,” Staunton said.

The company has developed challenges to test Quality Assurance candidates and it’s also looking at rolling it out across other departments.

“That gamification is really interesting and it’s probably where we want to look next. We’ve had some innovations recently,” Staunton said.

“It’s a way to pre-select. If they’re doing awesome on those test then we definitely want to talk to them. If they’re too challenging then maybe they need to go back and brush up.”

3. Working with people needs to be a strength

Atlassian’s Sydney lunch room is this big, industrial space with high ceilings and big windows looking out over the city. It’s furnished with big long lunch tables and feels like the cafeteria at school.

The tech company relies on collaboration between teams, after all that’s what its messenger platform HipChat delivers. Even the company’s new Sydney office has been designed so workers can always be communicating, the meeting rooms are all on wheels and everything can be rearranged to suit how a team needs to work.

“The reason for that is a lot of the teams at Atlassian collaborate and work together and so we look for people who can understand how they overlap and work together,” Staunton said.

4. You need to emulate the company’s values

Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes.

Ensuring a candidate emulates the company’s values is “the most important” aspect the company’s talent team is looking for when they’re interviewing.

“[Values include] open company – no bullsh*t. We look for fearlessly honest people to come and work here,” Staunton said.

“We look for people who are extremely passionate not just to improve their own work but our products, the workplace.”

To determine whether a candidate can “be the change you seek” for example, the company’s recruiters ask for examples about past experiences.

“We love to hear when people have seen a problem and go and fix it. We love when people share examples of really embracing the team spirit as well so not just working as an individual but also having a wider care for the team,” Staunton said.

But if you haven’t got integrity you’re out, Staunton said: “It comes down to the values.”

“We look for people who make ethical decisions as well. So sometimes there are some tricky questions about how they might deal with a decision, again from their past a tricky decision that they had to make and whether they took the ethical path,” Staunton said.

5. Be prepared to wear Atlassian ‘swag’

Atlassians love their t-shirts – and call the company clothing “swag”. Every time the business achieves something special it’s Atlassian swag all around.

“It’s part of our culture,” Staunton said. “We try really hard to celebrate wins.”

When Atlassian reached 40,000 customers last year everyone got a t-shirt, it also happens when a product is released.

“Anytime we achieve something we give everyone a t-shirt to celebrate,” she said.

Atlassian t-shirts have become a bit of a commodity in Australia’s tech scene. Employees at other tech companies regularly wear the Atlassian shirts. Staunton said she’d been asked for them by people too.

But Atlassian now has an online merchandise store so it’s t-shirts for everyone!

6. Be prepared to talk about what you’re doing.

Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar.

“In here it’s transparency on steroids,” Staunton said. “Every time someone does a piece of work or project they share it on the internal Wiki so every employee can read what they’re up to and give feedback.”

She said it’s a policy which can be quite “nerve-wracking” for a new employee but receiving feedback can make you do a better job.

But it isn’t just one way – once a year employees rate their managers using what the company calls an “Upward Feedback Survey”.

“As a manager myself that’s been really helpful because I get feedback from my team on a number of different dimensions on what I’m doing well and what I can work on,” she said.

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