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How one tech company used data to find and hire talent around the world

To build out its tech team in Sydney, Atlassian leveraged LinkedIn Talent Insights to identify and attract talent from across the globe.

How one tech company used data to find and hire talent around the world
[Images: DavidZydd/Unsplash; Dekdoyjaidee/iStock]

Over the course of the past two years, more than half of new technical employees at Atlassian have picked up and moved to Sydney from countries around the world. As Bruno Sales, a sales development engineer, puts it, “One day, I received a message, and now I’m on the other side of the world with a job that I love.”

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It’s that simple. Or was it?

As most businesses know, to scale effectively, finding the right talent is key. Atlassian, the software company behind products like Jira and Trello, has been growing rapidly to support our mission of unleashing the potential of every team.

It was clear, early on, that with the limited supply of tech talent in Australia, we would need to cast our nets farther and wider. So our team focused on three key things: data, showing candidates why they should choose us, and providing a unique candidate experience.

How would we know that Sales, a Brazilian-born engineer working in Florida, could be the next great member of our team in Sydney? Here’s what we’ve learned in our journey.

Data is essential to your hiring strategy

We’re witnessing an important shift in the recruiting industry, where companies are turning to real-time insights about talent to help inform how they hire. According to a study from Deloitte, 84% of business and HR leaders view people analytics as important or very important, and 79% are likely to use data in their hiring process.

Talent data pulled from LinkedIn Talent Insights pointed us toward particular markets for tech talent (like Spain, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, and Israel, for engineers). From there, we dug deeper to understand how big each talent pool is, who the strongest players are, and what’s going on with the type of talent we’re looking for, so we could create the right approach.

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We could also see where talent was moving to and from, both at a company and national level. This was a big indicator of which competitors in that area were aggressively hiring, and who was winning talent from whom, giving us a clear picture of where to look for the best technical employees. Digging into the talent migration data, we analyzed which markets were exporting talent most often and, given our focus on relocation to Sydney, in which markets it made the most sense to geo-target our recruiting efforts. We knew, for example, that Brazilian tech talent seemed to be leaving for international opportunities. It was intel like this that ultimately allowed us to find and hire Bruno Sales (even though he’d already made another international jump to the U.S.).

Your employer brand needs data, too

Knowing where to look and what’s going on in those markets is an important first step–after that, it’s going back to the insights to learn where and how to focus your branding strategy.

LinkedIn research shows that half of candidates won’t even consider working for a company without a strong employer brand, no matter how much money is on the table. Combined with the knowledge that 80% of talent acquisition professionals and HR managers around the world agree that a great brand makes it easier to recruit top talent, it’s clear that this is an area that requires focus. Showcasing to potential employees what it’s like to work at your company and what your company stands for is important to your overall candidate experience. In relocating international folks like Sales, time and effort are required to effectively educate your candidate audience on the things that make your company unique. Beyond the search for talent, we also needed to build the tools, like our “Relocation 101: Moving to Sydney” video, which would help us land the talent we needed.

Because it takes more than cool office spaces and perks to get a high-demand tech professional to move to another country, having strong employer brand content that resonates with candidates is paramount. We focused on leveraging digital channels–blog posts, social media campaigns, and videos–to convey our unique culture, the innovative tech we’re working with, and the work we do. Simply put, we look to provide a transparent view of what it’s like to work at Atlassian by responding to candidates’ questions, like, “What is it like to work at Atlassian?” or “What’s it like on the engineering team?”

But it’s not just about creating content, it’s about targeting the right people with your message. One tricky part of recruiting technical talent is that while developers like Bruno Sales are our No. 1 one talent target, they’re also more prevalently available than designers or product managers. To justify spending more on employer branding campaigns to target designers, we looked into several local talent pools to show how the number of developers compared to designers. It came in at about 25 to 1, providing support for our instincts and for investing more in campaigns targeting designers. Even though we were hiring fewer designers than developers, we had the supply-and-demand analysis to show why we needed to invest more per hire in the design space than we had on the engineering side.

A standout candidate experience makes for more successful new hires

Clearly, data can help find and attract the talent you need, but even if the right candidate applies for your job, or takes the interview, it doesn’t mean you’ve won them over: 41% of applicants who have subpar candidate experiences will go elsewhere, according to research from the Talent Board. With skilled tech professionals in high demand, we need to make a great first impression.

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For candidates moving to our headquarters in Sydney, that means making them feel welcome from the first interaction. We don’t just hand over a relocation budget and say, “See you when you get here!” Move Happy, our relocation program, provides new Atlassians with airfare, temporary housing, work visas, help finding schools and permanent housing, furniture and vehicle shipping, personalized welcome gifts, and even pick-up at the airport. We also set up regular events so new hires can continue to connect with other Atlassians going through a similar transition.

Having the right data and insights served as our source of truth to back up the conversations our team was having about where to look and how to reach out to candidates, and helped us better understand where to invest our resources. From there, a top-notch employer brand focused on our culture and the work we do, paired with an unmatched candidate experience, helped us double our headcount at our Sydney headquarters in the past two years–with great new hires like Bruno Sales, from as far away as Florida.


Devin Rogozinski is the talent brand global lead for Atlassian.

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