Improving Game Recruitment
Failure, it’s a hard thing to share and discuss when you’re still in it…
…but here goes.
With almost 30 years of experience in making games, I’m finding it very hard to land my next gig, and for the first in my working life, there’s a strong possibility I’ll need to take a role outside of games….and it’s heartbreaking.
There are many factors contributing to my current situation (including my personal interviewee style) but time sensitivity is being my biggest, personal hurdle. Unfortunately, one of things I’m perpetually confronted with, is the slow paced information and communication loop between myself and the companies I talk to.
What I’ve found, and this is a very broad generalization, is that the game’s industry recruitment process is lethargic. I have no experience outside of games to make a comparison, but from the inside looking out, it still has room for improvement.
Out of the places I’ve spoken with, only a very small percentage of them provided a great HR/Recruitment experience. Great HR/Recruitment are those who first and foremost, serve their company to find, land and look-after their people. They’re also outward facing ambassadors of their company’s persona to potential hires, so how they conduct themselves is a direct reflection upon the company itself. With this in mind, your initial, current and parting interactions with those interested in your company, should be great.
This is not what I’m experiencing.
To sum this up, I picked out a few things that I’d like to see improved, some of which, I’d attempt to put in place once (and if) I land a position back in the games.
“Out of the several companies I’ve talked to, only one company provided feedback on my interview”
Company Specific Requirements; Focus
Provide potential candidates with a very clear statement on what are the most important aspects of the role they’re applying for. It may say “Lead Artist”, but is it more important for them to be an implementer or a manager? What did the last person fail at? What does the company specifically need from the person in this role to succeed? Sometimes what a company wants is written between the lines, or not written down at all.
I’ve had recruiters give me explicit information about a role which have influenced the way I interview, which later turned out to be the wrong approach for the role. It’s important for Recruiters to be completely in-sync with the teams and people they’re working for.
Outside of the basic requirements of a specific role, there are usually “company specific” attributes that carry more weight there. This could be a focus on character, adding to culture, expanding/adding a specific skill-set etc.
Having more specific requirements about a role will also help you as a developer, gain clarity on what you really want from a potential hire.
I know HR people are incredibly busy, but sending an email to a candidate to let them know how things are going, is good practice and a great reflection on your company. It means you care and you’re organized. There’s nothing worse than being “left in the dark” for long periods of time, without information.
I’ve experienced everything from a few hours to almost two weeks without a proper follow up to an interview. From a candidate point of view, this will always trend negative if there isn’t a quick and regular amount of communication between you and them.
If somebody isn’t the right candidate, tell them asap. This could even be done at the tail end of the interview or via email the next day.To coin a phase about procrastination, “Eat Your Frogs!” It’s not in anyone’s interest to prolong an inevitable call, and in not doing so, it merely incurs more effort and work for both parties.
I’ve experienced this firsthand when I waited almost a month and a half, before I was told “we really like you, but we’re going with somebody else”.
It’s a known tactic to keep candidates “on-the-hook” until all candidates have been interviewed, which makes sense, but others will hold out and wait for new candidates to apply.
If you’re honest and clear as to why a person isn’t right for your company, nobody will complain if they find out sooner, rather than later. In fact, for me at least, it’s a refreshing change and helps mentally “clear the slate”. I’d respect the company for being so efficient and focused.
Which brings me to my next point…
“It’s not in anyone’s interest to prolong an inevitable call”
Out of the several companies I’ve talked to, only one company provided feedback on my interview and, more importantly, this feedback was given by the actual person from the development team hiring for the role. This is very classy, and even though it was a negative outcome, it was an overly positive experience that made me appreciate that company even more.
If you’re a successful candidate or not, having feedback sent your way from the company about the interview process is a great way to show – 1) You fully understand what you want and don’t want, from the role 2) You want people connected to you, in anyway, to grow and develop 3) You’re a company with integrity and worth fighting for.
…and For Bonus Points
This is a non-serious point, but it has certainly made me smile in the instances that is has happened…..SWAG!
It’s always nice to have a memento from any type of experience, and an interview is no different. Company branded merchandize is also a scalable component which could be as simple as a pin or card, ranging up to t-shirts, goody bags, hats etc.
At one company I interviewed with, I found a backpack full of blueray movies, some games, a hat and sweets, placed on the bed of the hotel I was staying at; slick!
Even if things don’t work out, you have placed one extra component into the wilds of fee marketing and, left a good impression on your candidate.