Reflections' Olga Bugheanu on how to get a job at the Newcastle-based studio
Name: Olga Bugheanu
Title: Talent acquisition manager
Company: Ubisoft Reflections
What differentiates your studio from other developers?
Today, there is the real feeling that something special is happening within Reflections. For the last two years we have been working on massive triple-A titles like Watch Dogs, The Division, The Crew and Just Dance 2015, while encouraging our team members to take risks and explore. This drive has resulted in some amazing prototype projects and an increasing obsession with player’s needs. We are doing more to understand players, to bring them with us on this journey.
We’re in the fortunate position of having the stability of Ubisoft behind us along with the freedom to use the best tools, to design new ways of making games and collaborating and establish our own frontiers.
With over 220 staff of 20 different nationalities, and this year celebrating a 30-year legacy of making games in the North East, it’s a fun place to work that allows you to be your best.
How many staff are you looking to take on?
Right now we’re looking to attract over 40 developers – people who want to be part of our future growth and share the next stage of our adventure with us. Specifically we are looking for programmers, level designers and artists.
You can find all of our current vacancies on our website. However, if you are an expert in the industry of any discipline, we would love to hear from you. We are lucky that we attract and retain the ‘best of the best’, from our interns to experts.
What surprises people when they come to work at your studio?
Our location, Newcastle, surprises people. It’s a brilliant city, with a great culture, great nightlife and it’s surrounded by amazing countryside and a beautiful coastline. Reflections is also celebrating 30 years of making games this year, which is a real buzz for the whole team.
What should aspiring devs do with their CV to get an interview?
Be good. Be different. Differentiate yourself from the crowd. Go to networking events, write a great covering letter. Talk to us, we want to be surprised by your knowledge, skill and vision.
Who is the best interviewee you have ever had and how did they impress you?
The candidate got the easy things right, they turned up in the right place at the right time and they were completely prepared, engaged and engaging. They brought their own work into the room and sold it with such confidence that I knew, without hesitation, they would be our next superstar.
And who was the worst?
We had a candidate with a great CV who had tested extremely well – we were so excited to meet with them. But when they came to the interview, we could not get them to speak. Not about themself, about the work, about their journey to the studio.
We understand that candidates can get nervous, but this was a really awkward situation for everyone involved.
What advice would you give for a successful interview at your studio?
Be prepared. Research the company, find out about the role and ask questions in advance of interview. Be interested in your interviewer and be articulate about the job and yourself. Bright sparks who do their homework can’t fail to impress.
If Reflections has recruited internationally, what is the process like?
The recruitment arena for Reflections is global. It is all about who is the best, not where they are.
We currently have 20 nationalities within the studio and we’ve become adept at helping employees and their families move to the UK and facilitate all the important details such as visas, and insurance.
How have your recruitment needs changed at your studio?
In the last year we have grown from 160 staff to over 220. We have a lot of demanding projects on the go but the challenge is always to think beyond that.
We’re working to future proof the studio by both attracting seasoned experts and home-grow our own talent with a focus on interns and developing graduates.
Why should developers join a studio like Reflections when indie and self-publishing have become so much more accessible?
Developers should forge the path that best suits them. Reflections is part of Ubisoft, the world’s fourth largest publisher, and is using this as permission to take risks. We have a raft of projects, from triple-A collaborations to small prototypes in-house, and we’re always looking for the next frontier to push.
If you’re good, and you want to join us on that journey, we want you with us.