HR generalist for Seismic Games, Heather Hughes, talks about the studio staying as indie as possible while building a dream company
What differentiates your studio from other developers?
Seismic Games focuses on delivering high production titles on mobile, VR & AR platforms. Over this next year, we are launching a number of exciting licensed games in collaboration with some truly great entertainment companies. As a studio, we actively foster highly collaborative environments; all of our employees are major contributors and feel invested in the company’s growth. We focus on team building, and during the recruiting process, we examine how an individual contributor can help grow our different teams.
How many staff are you looking to take on?
During 2017, we’ll increase our headcount from over 50 to approximately 80 employees. We will eventually expand to about 100 employees.
Everyone here has a unique set of skills, but what unites us is our love of games
Heather Hughes, Seismic Games
What perks are available working at your studio?
Our perks are generally centred around professional development and play. There’s some fluidity among our various projects, so employees don’t end up feeling stuck doing the same thing for months on end, and they have opportunities to acquire new skills. We create mentorships by pairing new hires with more seasoned employees.
We also host employee events such as game nights, movie outings, happy hours, escape rooms, and the like. All of this in addition to employees receiving our great medical, vision/ dental programs as well as an opportunity to own options in the studio. We’re big on experiential perks.
What should aspiring devs do with their CV to get an interview?
Keep your submissions concise and clean. For example, don’t self-assess (as in indicating four out of five ‘stars’ for a specific skill set); we’d do that over the course of an interview anyway. Putting it on your resume gives the impression that you’re simply trying to fill space. If you don’t have much experience in the industry, but still want to apply for a junior role, demonstrate your love of gaming by detailing side projects.
What advice would you give for a successful interview at your studio?
Arrive prepared. If you’re an artist, bring your portfolio and devices with your demo reels queued. If you’re an engineer, you’ll likely be asked to do whiteboard work, so practice explaining your work. During our interviews, we’re assessing your skills and experience to see if it makes sense to add you to our team. We’re not sitting here judging you as a person, so if you flub, don’t feel embarrassed! Laugh it off, or take a minute if you need to, and then keep going.
What impresses in an interview?
What impresses us is a passion for games... Not just enthusiasm, but actual passion. Have strong opinions, follow Twitch streams, play competitively, and obsess over design and gameplay. Everyone here has a unique set of skills, but what unites us is our love of games. And what doesn’t impress? Interviewees who haven’t made an effort to learn about who we are, or who list skills on their resume for which they are not prepared to be tested on.
How have your recruitment needs changed at your studio?
We added three (unannounced) projects earlier this year and rapidly went into high gear for recruiting. It’s been a demanding period for our hiring managers, who are uncompromising when it comes to the level of talent we’re seeking. Sometimes that means waiting a little longer than we’d like to fill a role, which can be frustrating, but we’re committed to hiring the very best people for our teams.
Why should developers join you when indie and self-publishing have become so much more accessible?
Seismic IS indie stock. While many of our employees have worked for major publishers, they have also worked for and even risen through the ranks of independent studios. The executives and team leaders here are seasoned; they’ve learned from others’ mistakes what business practices to leave behind (such frequent crunches that lead to employee burnout), and are focusing on building their dream company.
We consciously develop a company culture that fosters a collaborative, tenacious, and playful environment. It’s important to us that our employees are able to carry that wildly creative spirit into other areas of their lives.
Company: Seismic Studios
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Hiring: Engineers (Junior, Lead and Unity)
Where to apply: http://www.seismicgames.com/#careers