CCP’s HR manager Scarlet Dangerfield explains why it’s good to make games as a service, and why you should get involved
[This feature was published in the November 2013 edition of Develop magazine, which is available through your browser and on iPad]
Name: Scarlet Dangerfield
Title: HR Manager
Developer: CCP Games
What differentiates CCP Games from other developers?
Each of our five studio locations foster a unique environment, while still fitting cohesively within the whole of CCP and towards a shared vision of creating the highest calibre virtual worlds fuelled by ‘meaningful human interaction’.
Collectively they work with well-developed, cutting-edge technology, and yet enjoy relative autonomy within the global effort. We have employees from over 30 countries, speaking over 20 different languages, representing a truly international community, and we are growing.
CCP Shanghai, China: The home of the free-to-play PS3 first-person shooter Dust 514, housing 130 employees in a new office and looking for creative talent.
CCP Reykjavik, Iceland: Our corporate headquarters and the birthplace of Eve Online, situated next to the harbour with views of dramatic Icelandic mountains, water and the city. And it is within walking distance of a vibrant, yet cosy downtown.
CCP Newcastle, UK: A key technology centre for CCP and now home to development of the newly announced virtual-reality based space dogfighting game Eve: Valkyrie.
CCP Atlanta, Georgia, USA: Located inside the Atlanta perimeter in the progressive city of Decatur. America’s top ‘Foodie City’ boasts a great environment and a low cost of living.
CCP San Francisco, California, USA: CCP’s main marketing hub is located here in beautiful San Fran, rubbing elbows with the world giants of tech.
How many staff are you currently looking to take on?
CCP is currently hiring globally, in a variety of departments, from programming, to game design, marketing, production, human resources and art. You can check out the full list of our current needs at www.ccpgames.com/jobs.
What perks or privileges are available to staff at your studio?
For the last year, CCP has had an internal goal of focusing on developing our employees. We are in the process of deploying a training system to help our employees stay on top of the latest trends and technologies in their respective fields, along with growing in other fields of their interest.
This is in addition to some training initiatives that include teams being able to use 20 per cent of their time to explore special projects, and art teams bringing in models to encourage our staff to do on-site live drawings.
On top of that, CCP offers fantastic benefits packages that differ in each location. Some of the benefits include 16 holidays per year, unlimited vacation and sick leave, rich medical benefits, 401k (pension), an on-site cantina that provides free breakfast and lunch daily, global company-wide trips (we all recently flew out to Turkey in October), on-site gym, monthly barbeques, a childcare support benefit, flexible working hours, an on-site doctor and optional masseuse among all of the usual perks of working at a games company – like being able to play games during the day.
What should aspiring developers do with their CV to get to an interview?
It’s pretty simple; just make sure your resumé highlights how you are a good fit for the opening you’re applying for. Make sure to include any relevant experience, education, and awards.
Also make sure you include your most up-to-date code sample, writing sample or demo reel. Demos and samples get the most attention. Include not only work from previous companies, but also samples of work you do in your free time. It shows off your interests and the work that you would do when you are not being paid to. If it’s in the theme of something we are working on that’s even better.
Even if you’re not looking for a new job, make sure your LinkedIn profile – and other social media – is up to date. Our recruiters are always checking out LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook for possible candidates.
Who is the best interviewee you have ever had?
The best interviewees are the ones that will go above and beyond the norm to show their interest in the position. Be it a cantina staff member that comes to an interview with a proposed menu along with baked snacks to surprise the staff, or a character artist that created a new demo for the interview that incorporates their vampire characters based off a Vampire: The Masquerade role-playing game.
These are the enthusiastic candidates that we get excited about and that get job offers. CCP is a home to people who are passionate about their work and the industry as a whole. Show us that passion alongside your talent.
And who was the worst?
At CCP we have a pretty intensive screening process, so most candidates we end up bringing on site are usually hired, resulting in few interview horror stories. I can say candidates that do not get job offers though are candidates that show up late, unprepared or not at all.
What advice would you give jobseekers for a successful interview?
Research, research, research. During the first step of HR screening, we start weeding candidates out that 1) are not a good fit with our culture; 2) do not know our products; and 3) do not know CCP. This will continue throughout the interview process with your potential teammates and then hiring manager. The best way to learn about CCP is by visiting our website.
If your studio has recruited talent internationally, what was the process like for your studio and for the applicant?
The recruitment process is essentially the same for international candidates as local candidates. They still go through the same rounds of tests and interviews. We do make sure to provide the international and
non-local candidates with plenty of information on the project and location from their first screening, just to ensure that they are aware of what they are getting into.
Why should developers join when indie and self-publishing have become so much more accessible?
We love and support indie development and self-publishing. CCP basically started that way and we’ve got a history of helping to kick-start things like the Oculus Rift and supporting Eve players in their software development efforts through our own API and more.
That having been said, CCP offers a chance to work on a particular type of game that’s consistently at the top of the industry, whether it’s Most Innovative Game at E3 2013 with Eve: Valkyrie (at the time it was even a tech demo) or PC Gamer’s 12th-greatest PC Game of all time in Eve Online or Dust 514, which brings innovations to an entire console platform through its real-time interactions with Eve Online and microtransaction business model on the PlayStation 3. We make games as a service as well, meaning that, if anything, we plan on staffing up on each project over time like we did with Eve Online.
We think it’s good to keep an indie vibe going though, and many of our structural and development decisions are made with that in mind. We are an independent developer ourselves and enjoy the autonomy that affords. It helps fuel our innovation when we can take some risks here and there.
To read our other Recruiter Hot Seat articles about studios looking to hire, visit our archive