Three and a half years ago I wrote a blog post titled How to get a job at Atlassian that described the process I went through to get hired.

I now find myself on the “other side of the table”, looking through resumés from applicants and trying to find the A-players who will best fit the role and the company.

So, here’s my updated guide for “how to get a job at Atlassian” that will help great people get a job with us and will hopefully scare away applicants who are merely tyre kickers.

Hint: Invest your time

It’s truly amazing how many people submit generic applications for jobs. These applications are easy to spot, too — they arrive within hours of a job being advertised online and contain nothing specific to the job being advertised. In fact, they often refer to incorrect job titles (“J2EE Developer” rather than “Java Developer”) and wrong company names, indicating that the applicant hasn’t bothered to proof-read their cover letter. Worse still are the applications that don’t include a Cover Letter.

I’ll give a hint to these type of applicants — if you don’t invest time in your application, we don’t have the obligation to invest time in reading it.

So, how should you invest your time? For a start, you should spend time researching Atlassian:

  • Read our website
  • Read our blogs (which you’re doing now, so you’re ahead of most people already!)
  • Search for Atlassian on Twitter
  • Watch the Core Values video
  • Try the online demos of some of our products
  • Look at our pricing (it’s our most popular link on the website!)
  • Read through some of our documentation

If you’ve used Atlassian products before, you’ve probably done a lot of this already. If you’re unfamiliar with Atlassian, you should spend a good 2-3 hours on the above activities.

“What?” you say, “If I spend 3 hours on every job application, I’ll never get a job!”

Well, if you think that Quantity is more important than Quality, then this is true. But we prefer people who are more interested in Quality.

Hint: Write a Cover Letter

You’d be amazed how many people do not give us the courtesy of including a Cover Letter. This is crazy! The Cover Letter is the first thing we’ll read and it’s your chance to grab our attention. It’s your chance to show what you know, or what you’ve learned, about Atlassian.

We’ve given lots of information about the role in the advertised job description, so make sure you address these points in your Cover Letter. If we’re looking for someone with hands-on experience with JavaScript, tell us how great you are with JavaScript! If we want someone with a passion for Usability, tell us a story about how you applied your passion. This is your chance to show off about how great you are for the role.

One piece of advice… don’t say that you’re “perfect for the role”. We’ll only know that once you go through our interview process. It’s unlikely you know exactly what the job entails, so claiming that you’re perfect is more a sign of arrogance than confidence.

Your Cover Letter can be a stand-alone document, or it could be included as the first page on your Resumé. I personally give an extra ‘mental point’ to people who submit applications as a PDF since they’re much quicker to access than a Word document and indicate a higher level of technical competence. Think of it as a way that applicants apply ‘customer service’ concepts to their submission.

Oh, and please proof-read your application, or better yet get a friend or loved-one to give it a once-over. Otherwise you might say things like:

“My broad knowledge in software projects and strong technical experience should make me an idle candidate for this opening.”

Hint: Tweak your Resumé

The best Resumés are ones that give us a feel for “you”. For each role you’ve had, give a brief description of the company (don’t assume we know them) and tell us what you accomplished. Don’t just say “Asterix debugging of signals to Dataract system” because we don’t understand what that means. Tell us why this was important to achieve, how you overcame difficulties and what was the result for the company.

Let us get inside your head so we can see how you think, what motivates you and how you respond to challenges. Saying that you “performed other job-related duties and responsibilities as assigned by the Technical Project Manager” doesn’t tell us anything unique about YOU!

Don’t worry about any particular format, but it’s a good idea to clearly identify the different roles you’ve had, the dates you were in each role and how your work in that role relates to the job that we’ve advertised. Good job hunters tweak their resume specific to the job being sought, such as emphasising Java experience and down-playing .Net experience when applying for a Java-specific role.

How we interview

The interview process varies by role. Technical roles will involve a coding test, and possibly even a ‘screening test’ before we meet face-to-face. This is designed to weed-out people without sufficient experience.

All evaluations are done by people in similar roles, so a Java Developer will be evaluated by a Java Developer, a Marketing specialist by a Marketing person, etc. So, it’s your chance to show us what you really know, rather than just hitting a magical keyword that lets you through to the next level.

Atlassian then uses Topgrading to assess candidates. This is a process where we sit down with applicants and go through their entire work history. We want to understand what you’ve done, what motivates you and how you’re perceived by your workmates. This can be a time-consuming process (2-3 hours if you’ve got a long work history) but it gives us a thorough understanding of your work history. It has also saved us from hiring people who seemed good at the start, but were later found to be not appropriate for the role. There’s no real way to ‘prepare’ for Topgrading, it’s really just a matter of being open and honest in sharing information.

The Bottom Line

We want to hire great people. Your job in this process is to make it easy for us to see that you’re fantastic for the role. Tell us about your victories, your skills, your preferred working relationships. Show us that you know about Atlassian and how much you’d really like to work here.

The Atlassian reputation can be a bit intimidating, but don’t shy-away if you think you’ve got a chance. For example, if you’re very skilled at most things on the list but not quite everything, then still give it a try because we can always adjust a role to the individual. Just remember — if you love Atlassian’s products and the Atlassian culture, we’ll probably love you too!

But if all you know about Atlassian is what you read in the job ad, please do your homework before applying. You’ll be glad you did!