We spoke with by Realtime Worlds' production manager Russell Murray about how to improve your potential for a prospective role in production.
What are good things to mention in your CV when applying for production roles – and what’s not good?
You really don’t need to list much more than the basics, so on a per project basis include the project-management related activities you’ve been involved in such as planning, tracking, reporting, your place in the team hierarchy, and the scale, complexity and length of said project.
Any experience or training you’ve had with a recognised methodology is of value, too. A clear, concise CV points to the candidate themselves being organised and efficient, so try to avoid padding – it obscures the very information that could get you interviewed, and at this stage you are only trying to avoid being declined, not hired.
What skills do you look for in producers?
With the complexity and scale of projects we develop, we now look for producers to be able to do more than milestone planning and tracking and issue resolution. Producers must also be able to delegate to and drive a large hierarchy of managers to build and maintain team momentum, deal with changes in project scope, analyse and improve team working practices, and plan around project risk… and keep smiling throughout!
Are there any qualifications that you think are useful to have?
Beyond university degrees – which we do like, but certainly aren’t a pre-requisite – we’re seeing more and more people with qualifications in recognised project management methodologies such as Scrum and Prince 2. Whilst this does point to a candidate having an understanding of core concepts and a desire to improve skills, it’s only attractive to us when combined with experience in applying it to a development project.
Regarding the interview – are you looking for in particular?
We almost always hold a telephone interview before a face-to-face interview – it’s a really quick way to assess what level of skills and experience a candidate really has and it also gives us a better idea of whether and how they might fit into our team.
In a face-to-face interview we simply go back over all the skills and experience mentioned and just get the candidate talking – we look for confident and concise descriptions, and watch for the ‘can do’ attitude and self-awareness I mentioned previously. We are also trying to assess how keen the candidate is on the role.
Do tests play any part of interviews for production roles?
While we do set tests for artists, coders and even designers, we don’t set aptitude tests for producers – we feel that we can adequately assess a candidate’s experience, skills and attitude from their CV and the telephone and face-to-face interviews we hold. And in addition we strive to refine a role description for each candidate throughout the process, which in itself tells us whether there is a good fit or not. We do review every candidate after three months in the role, but we’ve never had a problem.