Our monthly studio recruitment update looks at Mind Candy, Jagex and Secret Crush
We kick off a brand new regular studio recruitment slot by quizzing Mind Candy's recruitment boss.
Name: Richard Chipchase
Title: Head of Recruitment
What does your company offer that other studios don’t?
Think of everything that you wish a studio could offer. It’s all pretty much here. It’s a second home to all our staff. Somewhere they can hang out after work if they want to, chill out in the break out zones on giant glumps or play fuss-ball or swing-ball in the games area.
We regularly get a chef in who cooks up a storm for the entire company, we have film night supported by sushi and pizza, free breakfast and food supplied in the bespoke kitchen area that is fully taken advantage of and of course, we have a tree house. You heard we had a tree house, right?
What are the other perks?
Our environment is visually stimulating, creatively inspiring and brimming full of passionate like minded staff.
All our staff have shares in the company so they feel vested in Mind Candy’s success. We believe in a genuine work/life balance and we don’t crunch. Yes you read that correctly.
What’s the best answer you’ve ever been given in an interview? And did you hire them?
I can remember several CV cover letters that really made an impact. We take cover letters really seriously. Generic, ‘cut and paste’, [insert company name here] doesn’t work for us. We want to be able to see and sense someone’s personality.
Here’s excerpts from one that made an impact and yes, we hired him:
This is right up my street!
That on paper may make you say ‘So what?’, but I have a genuine understanding of digital technology, not just enough knowledge to mention buzz words hoping I’ll get away with it.
While I’m not professing to be a developer by any means, I have taken it upon myself to learn basic HTML so when I look at a web page, I understand how it’s constructed.
Anyway, enough about that… my absolute ideal role is working in a social gaming company, I’d love to work with you and be a part of taking Mind Candy to the next level.
You get the gist here. Passion, energy, vision, entrepreneurialism, fun – these are just some of the attributes we look for and when we can feel it in an application, we get a sense of how they might perform in an interview. Might.
So what was the worst?
Our question: You’ve spent a week preparing for the interview, what’s your vision for the role? Their answer: Which job did I apply for again?
What are your tips for ‘winning’ an interview?
Winning an interview means different things to different recruiters.
For me, and Mind Candy, winning an interview is much about a candidate being entirely themself. Comfortable in their own skin, able to articulate their vision for the role and how they sit within the company.
At the stage where they meet me, it’s all about cultural fit. Could I spend three hours on a flight with this person? Do they seem like the type of individual that will feel at home in our studio, crank out amazing results and compliment our culture?
I’m incredibly passionate about this part of the process as it’s a huge responsibility to be part of retaining our cultural identity.
We see dozens of CVs with skills we could definitely take advantage of but if this means diluting who we are and what we stand for, we won’t even consider it.
Two top tips – don’t wear a suit and if you’re presenting, don’t use clip art!
Why should developers still be interested in working for a big studio when the ability to ‘go indie’ and self-publish has never been easier?
Anyone asking that should come over to us for a visit – I’ll let you make your own mind up once here.
During the last two months, three hires have come from clients who were visiting and the meetings were entirely non-recruitment related. Speaks volumes.
What area of the industry needs more investment?
The Government needs to invest more in the UK games industry, provide better tax relief for businesses in the sector, and create the amazing ‘clusters’ that exist elsewhere in the world.
In these areas the games industry then feeds back into and supports education, which then feeds into their recruitment.
This month: Lead artist
We ask Francesco Genovese, Recruitment Manager, Jagex for his tips on how to obtain the role.
“Experience as a senior (or previous lead) is a must along with: knowledge of management, planning, work distribution, sign off/approval and a very good understanding of pipelines.
“You don’t necessarily have to be in the games industry, but that would really help.
“Also, being prepared and having the skills to lead by example, regardless of which side of art they want to lead.
"Artists they will manage really do need to be confident that they know what they are talking about. Technical and paperwork abilities can be learnt, but art skills come from a little talent and a lot of hard work.
“They also need to be comfortable with communication, the job often means giving creative people feedback, how that feedback is presented can make all the difference.”
Originally conceived as a ‘volunteer project’, Secret Crush has been founded by former Kuju creative director and Edge writer Ste Curran.
He left his role at Brighton-based Zoe Mode to focus entirely on Secret Crush, which is currently looking for coders and artists.
Said Curran on his blog: “This project isn’t a charity and I’d love for it to make money some day. I am not counting on it.
“But in order for it to get anywhere at all it needs some immediate love, leadership and dedicated attention so that’s one of the things I’m going to be focused on for the rest of this year.”
More info at: www.supersecretcrush.com
This month: Lightning Fish Games
WILL FREEMAN has been promoted to editor.
He will drive the publication’s editorial direction and have day-to-day responsibility for the print magazine, reporting to editor-in-chief Michael French.
Freeman (pictured above) joined Develop in December 2008 as staff writer and became deputy editor in March 2010.
The respected journalist also writes about games every week for UK broadsheet The Observer.
He previously worked for games retail monthly In Stock, has also written for Pro-G and once worked in games PR.
“Will has become a key part of the Develop team since he joined us, and is respected by the development community - his promotion is well-deserved,” said MICHAEL FRENCH, editor-in-chief of Develop and its sister brand MCV.
“As editor he will further strengthen the Develop brand, which is already the leading outlet, in both its print and online guises, solely focused across on the games development community.”
Meanwhile, Develop has also hired CRAIG CHAPPLE, 24, as new staff writer. He joins Develop just months after being awarded a 1st Hons for Journalism.