Hiring 32 Professionals: All agencies welcome to submit candidates*

*Conditions apply

Sounds fabulous, doesn't it? Surely it can't be true?

But it is! There really is a hiring boom in one organisation, in contrast to the hiring hibernation occurring almost everywhere else in the recruitment forest. And you don't have to have ANY previous relationship with the company to submit candidates.

Surely this is too good to be true? So what's the catch?

You bet there's a catch. And this catch provides a revealing glimpse into a possible future for many recruitment agencies providing, or aspiring to provide, top talent to the top end of town.

In this instance, the top end of town I am referring to is not a Top 100 company. They aren't even publicly listed. In fact they are positively tiny (200 employees, $35 million sales), on the landscape of corporate Australia.

The company I am talking about is Atlassian.

Atlassian are a Sydney-based, enterprise software company. They provide products to over 15,000 customers in 113 countries (not bad for a company only 7 years old).

Even if you haven't heard of them, I would suggest you might want to look very closely at what they are doing in the world of recruitment.

It's an instructive insight into what happens when an organisation, regardless of size, has a super-cool brand, combined with lots of opportunities and is prepared to play the recruitment game on their own terms.

This fascinating glimpse into the future has occurred because Atlassian is in the market to recruit 32 engineers for their Sydney office (they also have operations in Amsterdam and San Francisco).

The Atlassian careers site caters for recruiters who want a piece of this hiring action. The guys and gals in the Atlassian marketing department have even given us a new name - Bounty Hunters and they've set some new recruiting rules.

Here are the rules, as listed on their website.

Rule 1: You can't empty your candidate database into our inbox
The first time you send us candidates, you can only submit a maximum of 4 candidates (across a 5 month period).

Rule 2: Great candidate, means a great relationship
Make sure that these candidates are awesome. If one (or more) of these 4 candidates is hired, you are eligible to submit more candidates and become our recruitment partner.

Rule 3: Unsuitable candidates, sorry mate!
If none of these candidates you put forward is good enough, then we must unfortunately part ways.

For you tennis fans, it's a bit like how Hawkeye is used - the players have 2 unsuccessful challenges per set, once you've used them up, sorry, no more chances.

Well if it's good enough for Wimbledon then maybe it's okay for recruiters?

The next step for the brave Bounty Hunter is to fill out an online ‘information request' form to see what else Atlassian require prior to submitting candidates.

Within minutes, into your Inbox drops a sloppily constructed email (obviously this Gen Y focused company doesn't care much for old-fashioned things such as good grammar and accurate spelling) which details your rewards if you strike placement gold.

Here's what is on offer to the Bounty Hunter, from the good folks at Atlassian HQ:

Fee Applicant's Salary
$19,000 Greater than $141,700
$17,000 Between $125,350 - $141,699
$15,000 Between $109,000 - $125,349
$13,000 Between $92,650 - $108,999
$11,000 Between $76,300 - $92,649
$9,500 Less than $76,299

Noting that the boffins at Atlassian quote the fee inclusive of tax, I'll save you the trouble of getting your calculator out and tell you that the percentages on the above fees within the quoted salary ranges, top out at 12.8% and drop to 10.8%.

Well those fees aren't great but times are tough so let's have a look at the Bounty Hunter Terms and Conditions to see what little gremlins are hiding in the fine print.

Let's start with Section 4 - what Atlassian term ‘The Recruiter's Obligation'.

I've reproduced this section in full. All comments in italics have been added by me. All bolded words in are original text with bold added by me for emphasis. Prose, use of capitals, grammar and spelling has been left exactly as per the original document.

The Recruiter shall:

4.1 Use its best endeavours to ensure that each Applicant introduced by it to Atlassian is suitable for the job offered by Atlassian. Recruiter is to perform adequate reference checking prior to submitting applications.

4.2 Put forward a maximum of four Applicants to Atlassian for further evaluation. Only at least if one of the four Applicants has been Engaged by Atlassian, can Recruiter put forward more candidates to Atlassian (too bad if you had a great candidate who turned down an offer or Atlassian were too slow to make an offer).

4.3 If requested by Atlassian, submit additional information about the Applicant using the forms / documentation provided by Atlassian (at the recruiter's cost and privacy laws allowing, I assume).

4.4 Never, at any time during the Term of this Agreement, attempt to solicit the business of the Atlassian directly, or attempt to contact any officer or employee of Atlassian for the purpose of gaining information as to the recruitment requirements of Atlassian, or for the purpose of attempting to entice away or solicit any employee with Atlassian with a view of offering or obtaining alternative employment, engagement or otherwise for the said employer [sic] (in other words, don't proactively call anybody here about our recruitment or to headhunt our people).

What happens if the candidate doesn't work out?

6.3 In the event of termination of an engagement within 3 calendar months of its commencement, the Recruiter shall refund the client the full fee.

Oh, in case you were wondering, Atlassian's terms are 30 days from the date of the placement invoice, which cannot be earlier than the start date of the candidate.

So, given this glimpse into the Atlassian recruitment approach, here are a few questions for you to consider, before you begin bounty hunting:

• Are you willing to play Atlassian's game? Why?
• If you chose to play, how do you make it work for you?
• What if your top 3 clients started a similar game? Would you play? Why?

Are you ready to play the recruitment game on the client's home court with their rules?

Views: 168

Comment by Ravi Revuri on September 1, 2009 at 12:21pm
Excellent piece of information. I will be interested. Whom to contact?
Comment by Ross Clennett on September 1, 2009 at 6:43pm
All the information about the Atlassian campaign to recruit 32 enginners can be found on their website at http://www.atlassian.com/32/
Comment by Ross Clennett on October 13, 2009 at 12:00am
As a postcript to this blog post the major Australian business daily, The Australian Financial Review, ran an article (page 58, 13 Oct 2009) on the Atlassian recruitment campaign mentioning my blog post and the accompanying comments. You can view the article at http://bit.ly/7NekU


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