Inside Atlassian's big bang HR campaign

by Miklos Bolza05 May 2016
With tech companies worldwide currently battling for candidates, thinking outside the box is crucial for any recruitment drive. HRD talked with Catriona Staunton, Atlassian’s head of APAC recruiting, to see how this global software firm has attracted new recruits in this competitive marketplace.
One of the firm’s biggest challenges is the lack of good candidates in Australia, she said.
“We just don’t have people in the technology industry with 10-plus years’ experience in the numbers that we need because the industry is still relatively new here.”
To overcome this, Atlassian recently ran an international recruitment campaign to nab five user experience (UX) designers in five days.
“We chose to visit four cities that our research showed had a strong supply of UX talent: London, Amsterdam, Berlin and Stockholm,” she said.
“We needed a big-bang campaign idea to really get that group of people to sit up and notice us as a great place for designers to work.”
The big campaign hook was the location of Atlassian’s headquarters, Sydney, as this was an asset which set the firm apart from most other software companies.
“We came up with the hiring tagline We’re seeking Design Thinkers, Talented Tinkerers and Wannabe Surfers to join us in the sunshine of Australia,” she said. “Before flying our interview team to Europe, we ran an online advertising campaign with that tagline to warm up our target UX audience.”
Atlassian then took that surfing idea to the next level, Staunton said, by strapping a company-branded surfboard to a VW Kombi van and driving it around the streets of Europe.
“We used the hashtag #UXSurfers to allow people to follow our little hiring bus as we travelled around Europe interviewing and picking up ‘UX Surfer’ hires along the way.”
The firm was amazed with the response to this hook, she added. “My Twitter feed was full of tweets from people who saw our bus or our ads – and that’s the sort of branding that money really can’t buy.”
Overall, the recruitment campaign was a success with the five hired UX designers already making an impact at the company, Staunton said.
“Their families are loving their new lives in Sydney, and they’re helping us scope out our next international hiring adventure.”
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