With the video game industry growing by leaps and bounds and showing no signs of letting up, there are plenty of gaming jobs. However, having many jobs available is no guarantee of landing a coveted position, and the dreaded job interview is where most candidates struggle. No matter how qualified an applicant is, completing a successful job interview consistently ranks as one of the most trying events in a person’s life. Interviewing for jobs in video gaming is no exception. In fact, many people report they would rather have their teeth drilled than be interviewed. Studies performed by top recruitment firms show job candidates who are the best prepared not only feel the least amount of trepidation but are also the most successful at landing the best positions. To help you impress the hiring manager and land the job you want, here are eight tips from video game recruiters on how to secure a video game job:
Tip #1: Preparation is Key
Job seekers should begin preparing for their job interview long before one is even scheduled by working to improve their professional footprint and image and researching potential employers. Here are a few key points:
• Candidates should carefully evaluate their professional network, including the past, present, and potential employers, coworkers, industry contacts, and other job seekers. Candidates should also submit resumes to as many top recruiting firms such as DAM.
• It is a must for video game job seekers (artists, animators, game designers, etc.) to have a professional portfolio that displays a collection of their best work. Many employers require candidates to submit a portfolio along with their application. A well-designed website is best for easy referencing and the highest visibility.
• Job seekers should thoroughly research the company they will be interviewing with and, if possible, the interviewer(s). This provides background on the company’s work and focus and insight into what working for the company will be like. Having background information on the business will also help when it comes time to answer and ask questions at the interview. Hiring managers are always more impressed with candidates who show they have taken an interest in the company. Working with a recruitment firm can help candidates when it comes to researching potential employers as they will often have more information on their client than is publicly available.
Tip #2: Don’t Overdress
One benefit of performing research is getting a glimpse into the company culture, including the dress code or lack thereof. The company’s website will often have photos of their employees that will provide clues into the accepted or expected manner of dress. While most studios don’t have a strict dress code, showing up in a three-piece suit is usually a big mistake for the typically laid-back atmosphere in a gaming studio. While the top executives may dress up a bit, candidates for programming jobs and the like should leave the tie at home. If in doubt, a good rule of thumb is to dress in business casual attire for the interview.
Tip #3: Make Eye Contact
This can be tough for many people as some find it very challenging to look another person in the eyes while trying to think of an excellent answer to a question. However, being able to make eye contact is one of the most powerful forms of human interaction and communicates confidence and a desire to make a connection.
Tip #4: Use Examples
Instead of just answering questions in the shortest way possible, try to work in examples of past experiences to demonstrate your capabilities. This is especially important when applying for design and programming jobs to show the interviewer your ability and initiative. Come up with some examples that show your ingenuity and commitment to your job, supervisors, coworkers, and the creative process itself.
Tip #5: Ask Questions
Far too many job candidates just sit politely and only answer the interviewer’s questions. However, most recruiters want to see the candidate show a genuine interest and motivation in the position and the company by asking their own questions. Asking questions also allows candidates to discover if the company will be a good fit for them, and a list of thoughtful questions can be developed during the research process.
Tip #6: Be Honest
There is no sense in trying to pretend you are something you are not, as an experienced interviewer will often be able to tell if a candidate is not being truthful. Even if the applicant does succeed in pulling the wool over the interviewer’s eyes, it won’t take long for the company to figure out that the person they hired is a fraud. Kelly Barschig, Vice President of Talent at “That’s No Moon” studio, stated the worst candidates are the ones who apply for every available position just in the hopes of finding a job, whether they are qualified for the position or not.
Tip #7: Follow Up
One of the most essential steps in the interview process is following up with the recruiter after the interview. However, as necessary as this is, it is the one step most job candidates neglect to perform. Following up after the interview can make the difference between landing a position and being passed by. The follow-up can be as simple as a note thanking the interviewer for the opportunity and can be done by email or postal mail and should be done within 48 hours after the initial interview.
Tip #8: Persistence
It is often said that looking for a job is a full-time job, and landing a position you truly want takes effort. While it can sometimes seem like you are just spinning your wheels and banging your head on the sidewalk, it is imperative not to get discouraged. While you may face many rejections, all it takes is one employer who recognizes your potential. Developing your skill set and preparing for interviews may differ from your idea of a good time, but, as with anything, you get better at it the more you do it.
Landing highly coveted jobs in video gaming may be challenging, but applying these eight interview tips will help you to secure the job of your dreams. Another thing job candidates should do to get a leg up on the competition is to establish a relationship with a video game recruiters like DAM. DAM is the top recruiting firm for the game industry in the U.S. and is an invaluable resource for job candidates. DAM represents some of the most prominent game studios in the world and has access to hundreds of unpublished job opportunities not available to the general public. DAM also provides help with interview preparation, and because the client studios pay all of their fees, DAM never charges job candidates a fee for their services.