Australian international software company, Atlassian , have provided me with plenty to comment on in the past 15 months.
On 31 August 2009, I first wrote (see my blog) about the very different tactics Atlassian were adopting for a specific campaign they had just launched to hire 32 engineers for their Sydney head office.
This post generated 39 comments and, subsequently, prompted a story in the Australian Financial Review about the Atlassian campaign and the response from the recruitment agency world.
The impact of Atlassian’s hiring and retention strategies have been noticed (and recognised) far beyond the Australian recruitment agency world. Here’s a roll-call of their recent successes
- 1 of the 25 Best Small & Medium Companies (USA)
- HR Leader Highly Commended Award for Employer of the Decade (Australia)
- HR Leader Highly Commended Award for Employer of Choice (Australia)
- HR Leader Award for Innovation in Recruitment and Retention (Australia)
- Fairfax Employment Marketing Award for Best On-Site HR Team (Australia)
- a 2009 Hewitt Best Employer Highly Commended Award (Australia)
Now Atlassian are embarking upon the next phase of their expansion and have released the terms of engagement for any recruitment agency wanting to refer candidates to them.
To save you scouring the whole document here is my Reader Digest summary of the relevant bits:
Atlassian have abandoned their fixed fee for offers within specified salary ranges (which translated into fees in a range of 10.8% to 12.8% of salary) in favour of a more traditional fee of a percentage of starting salary-plus-super.
Recruiters can submit a maximum of 4 candidates but the more candidates you choose to submit the lower the fee you must agree to if any of your candidates are hired (ie 1 candidate submitted = 18%* fee, 2 = 17%, 3 = 16%, 4 = 15%) * denotes including GST
Unlike the original Atlassian32 terms, recruiters must choose how many candidates they will submit at the time of signing the terms of engagement. If you choose to submit one candidate, then a week later you source an even better candidate – tough luck, you can’t submit them.
As was the case previously, a full three month money-back guarantee applies to all placements
- As long as you are happy to sign the Atlassian terms then ANY agency can submit candidates
There’s plenty of vacancies available at Atlassian. Currently there are vacancies in 15 different job categories within the Atlassian Sydney head office but unless you specialise in placing software engineers (or closely related) then you’re unlikely to get too excited by looking at the vacancy list.
Plenty of recruiters have expressed their unhappiness with these terms and have chosen not to submit any candidates.
Playing the devil’s advocate, I see the traditional alternative to Atlassian’s terms of engagement with recruiters as far less appealing. This alternative is the dreaded tender/PSA submission.
Preparing PSA submissions are inferior to the Atlassian terms because:
- They take a huge amount of time to research and complete
- You are required to provide a significant amount of confidential information.
- The process from start to ‘winners announced’ typically takes months.
- If you lack a track record with the client then the chances of being selected are slim
- Large agencies have an advantage because they have the resources to respond to tenders more effectively and they appeal to risk-averse clients (the nobody-got-fired-for-choosing-IBM principle)
- Your skill in writing winning tender submissions may not be a reflection of your skill in successfully filling clients’ jobs
- In almost all cases, the lowest price wins
None of these factors come into play at Atlassian.
It’s very straight forward – if you have the candidate(s) Atlassian want, then you win.
I’m a fan of keeping recruitment decisions out of the hands of tender writers, procurement departments and bureaucracies. What about you?