Game Industry Recruiter Taking In Questions

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adrxzero
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Hey Polycount,

My name is Alejandro (https://www.linkedin.com/pub/alejandro-rodriguez/38/4a5/72a) and I recruit for the games industry. Thought to open up a thread to field questions any of you might have about all things from an in-studio recruiter's perspective.

Feel free to ask me questions like: what is headcount, what is going thru the head of a hiring manager when they look at your resume/portfolio, why do recruiters reach out to me for openings that I cant fill, what happens to your resume when you press submit, etc..

Replies

  • Eric Chadwick
    Hey thanks for posting here.

    I've always wondered why in-house recruiters don't send out rejection emails. Applicants are usually just left wondering... was their application received? Was their resume read? Has the postiion been filled?
  • Beard3D Bandit
    Hi adrxzero!

    I do have a couple of question if you don't mind me asking. The questions I ask mainly has 3D Environment Art in mind.

    1. What impresses you/fellow recruiters and Hiring Managers the most when viewing portfolios for Junior 3D Environment Artist positions? (Ex. color use? material creation? etc)

    2. What are some of the MAJOR no's when provided with a portfolio and resume? Stuff artists should avoid with all their mighty strength. (and some brain power :p)

    3. *For you personally* Do you have certain 3D Environment Artists that you consider the best of the best, portfolio wise?

    If you manage to answer these I would be grateful, I do have other questions, but I'll keep it to this for now ;)

    Thanks
  • Eric Chadwick
    These questions have been asked many times before. I'd recommend checking out these pages on our wiki:
    http://wiki.polycount.com/wiki/Portfolio
    http://wiki.polycount.com/wiki/Game_Industry

    I'd still like to hear Alejandro's ideas though, more info is always helpful!
  • Beard3D Bandit
    Thanks Eric! I will check the links out, much appreciated.
  • miguelnarayan
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    miguelnarayan triangle
    Recruiters always say they will store my resume and application for future work they may need, but I never get a response again. Is this just a nice way to tell me to move on? :P
  • Eric Chadwick
  • CapableWizard
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    CapableWizard polycounter lvl 3
    I don't know a huge deal about the recruitment process so forgive my naivety!

    I get quite a few emails from recruiters (both in-house and external) and most of the time they are totally inappropriate - for example completely different disciplines or in the US where I clearly don't have a visa to work. It definitely seems to me like there's an element of "spray and pray" in recruitment. What are your thoughts on this?

    Thanks for this btw, it's interesting hearing from a recruiter's perspective!
  • PyrZern
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    PyrZern polycounter lvl 5
    - Why do sometimes recruiters contact me for coming across my 'resume' online. Then ask for my resume again ??

    - Or they ask if I'm interested in this or that position that has nothing to do with my resume at all ??

    + What/How should we put in the resume for the duration we spend working on our Portfolio ??
  • adrxzero
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    adrxzero Polycount Sponsor
    @Eric,

    So to answer your question about rejection emails I have to go into detail on what happens behind the scenes and what may be the cause of a lack or delay in a response from a team.

    A lot of times HR teams do not want to outright reject someone until the hired candidate starts their first day of employment, since we do not know the future we never know if a person we reject might be the person we needed to hire because 3 of our targeted candidates declined job offers. It is the trait of a good recruiter to reach out and tell candidates if they are a fit for the role.

    When you do not receive a rejection letter one or more of the following things is happening:
    •The team is swamped with applications (happens all the time)
    •the recruiter's ability to manage the workload and their priority on relationship building
    •the team is caught in the middle ground of not knowing whether to pass or move forward with your application
    •the open position is a "permanent opening" with the purpose of taking in candidates and maintaining an open flow of applications
    •the team is leaving the position open to wait for the right candidate to come in
    •the position is "open" but they already have someone in mind

    Another reason why some HR departments do not have the recruiter decline you in a direct email is because there are instances that the candidate might take it personally and fight back in dastardly ways (glassdoor, reach out to a superior, ... etc ), so when you get a rejection email normally they are from an anonymous source. I believe that recruiters should use this response as a last resort, because we as recruiters have to build a long term relationship of trust with the candidate.

    Also telling no to someone is hard, especially if you believe in them.

    I can relate and understand that the waiting game is a terrible state to be in, I hope more recruiters are able to find the time and motivation to follow up with people after they apply.

    Thank you for sharing that wiki, that is a great resource with a lot of helpful information. Also that gif is so true!!! I hate that too!

    I will be adding more answers soon!
  • MrHobo
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    MrHobo polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks for putting yourself out there like this :)
    I've always wondered about cover letters, specifically for artists.
    Does anyone genuinely care or really read them when there is a portfolio and a resume that would address many of the issues that a cover letter normally would?
  • adrxzero
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    adrxzero Polycount Sponsor
    @miguelnarayan

    As a recruiter I always mean it when I say that you will be contacted once something comes up. It is our job to remember someone's strengths and you never know what might come up.

    Please do not take that as a kind way to tell you no forever. It is more of a "not today", as a recruiter I look forward to seeing you improve and contacting you once the opportunity comes up.
  • CandyStripes05
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    CandyStripes05 polycounter lvl 6
    MrHobo wrote: »
    Thanks for putting yourself out there like this :)
    I've always wondered about cover letters, specifically for artists.
    Does anyone genuinely care or really read them when there is a portfolio and a resume that would address many of the issues that a cover letter normally would?

    Always wondered this!

    Especially when some studios require you to fill out a small questionnaire when you apply that basically asks everything I would ever put into a cover letter.
  • adrxzero
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    adrxzero Polycount Sponsor
    @CapableWizard and @PyrZern

    Unfortunately sometimes recruiters do not have a holistic understanding of what they are searching for, so they start matching keywords on a resume. Once they find a large amount of candidates, recruiters shotgun it to the hiring managers hoping they would pick out the good ones. The recruiting trade has a numbers game philosophy with quantity of candidates quotas and what happens is that sometimes recruiters do not pay attention to the small details.

    Wise is the recruiter that aproaches each search as a learning experience and is open to training from the hiring manager. So it goes without saying that Recruiters that get games are rare and still might need lots of traning to understand what they are looking for.

    Also @PyrZern, can you please expand on this question: "+ What/How should we put in the resume for the duration we spend working on our Portfolio ??" Are people asking you how long your portfolio took to develop?
  • Stinkfoot
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    Stinkfoot polycounter lvl 6
    MrHobo wrote: »
    Thanks for putting yourself out there like this :)
    I've always wondered about cover letters, specifically for artists.
    Does anyone genuinely care or really read them when there is a portfolio and a resume that would address many of the issues that a cover letter normally would?

    THough already seconded, I too would like to know this. I've always assumed that most of the stuff (aside from working experience in the field of course.) has a lower priority than the actual skills required seen on the portfolio.
  • Shyralon
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    Shyralon polycounter lvl 4
    First of all thanks for starting this thread and answering questions, it's really awesome that you do that :D

    I've wondered the last week how to show my portfolio.
    I mean, having a website and putting the portfolio link in the application is an obvious thing, but does it make sense to additionally attach a pdf with your portfolio work (together with cv and stuff)
    I've heard from a few people who are doing it that way already and I think it has the advantage that the recruiters don't have to open their browser and search for the link, so it's easier for them. But on the other side you can show your projects in much more detail on your portfolio website :/
    What's your opinion on this?
  • adrxzero
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    adrxzero Polycount Sponsor
    @Beard3D Bandit

    Apologies for the wall of text, there are some points I should make that I do not think are too well known.

    1. What impresses you/fellow recruiters and Hiring Managers the most when viewing portfolios for Junior 3D Environment Artist positions? (Ex. color use? material creation? etc)

    This answer depends on the team and the recruiter, who have to take into consideration the following: current project needs, work environment, culture fit, long term goals, team composition needs, talent level and promise for development, work ethic, etc.

    Some teams place a priority on finding a good talent to help fill in the gaps the team as a whole is missing, others on culture fit, but all teams want to see a great talent with the ability to work within the development pipeline. So where does this leave you as a person seeking employment? just do your best to challenge yourself, expand your breadth of work, learn, and develop your artistic process to an efficient and fluent perfection.

    2. What are some of the MAJOR no's when provided with a portfolio and resume? Stuff artists should avoid with all their mighty strength. (and some brain power :p)

    First and foremost, please make sure your portfolio link is clearly accessible on your resume.

    Here are some more protips:
    •Please do not use wix, it uses flash so it tends to be slow and bloated. Also some companies have restrictions on what can be accessed so your site might not even get seen. Please use something like carbonmade, artstation, or your own site
    •Please allow people to save your images so they can be analyzed, sometimes I find myself having to go into the webpage code to actually get a closer look at your images
    •Please have a well organized portfolio

    After that just follow the help from the Eric's wiki and you should be ok.

    But there are a couple more things to say about what should be done by people in our industry:
    •This industry is very small, never burn any bridges
    •Studios have to make hard decisions all the time, so do not take it personal
    •Do your best, no matter how the studio situation looks, this attitude carries on in the minds of your coworkers and will help you in the future

    3. *For you personally* Do you have certain 3D Environment Artists that you consider the best of the best, portfolio wise?

    This question is one of my favorites, it is good that you are looking at who to compare yourself to so you may have a compass for your own artistic development. Here are two great environment artists for you to look at, they also have breakdowns of their work:
    http://www.Artbywiktor.com
    http://www.Scotthomer.co.uk

    I went with these two first, because not only are good technically but also know how to conceptually approach environment art, just look at Scott Homer's "Stately Home Diorama", he created a small very defined piece and made it a conceptually interesting piece.

    What happens often is that people try to make these massive pieces for their portfolio but lose the ability to show detail in their work because they get so caught up in the development of quantity, don't be afraid to scale back in size and focus on having a very fine tuned and detailed smaller piece.

    Here are some of my super favorites:
    Andrew Hamilton (http://www.andrewhamilton.se)
    Tor Frick (http://www.torfrick.com/)
    Kevin Johnstone (http://www.kevinjohnstone.com/)

    You show a lot of passion for your trade, it shows in your choice of words. Good luck on your path!
  • adrxzero
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    adrxzero Polycount Sponsor
    @MrHobo, @CandyStripes05, and @Stinkfoot

    I understand that the cover letter feels like a redundant chore, but it is one of the only windows into your personality that we have.

    We also need to know how you would fit in culturally into the studio, our first step is reading your cover letter then an email or interview.

    But.... I have asked fellow recruiters about the cover letter and many tell me that they do not really read the cover letter until the resume and portfolio checks out. And some do not even read it at all.
  • ironbelly
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    ironbelly polycounter lvl 5
    adrxzero

    Here's a good, hard, question. Not saying you do this (at all), but if you had to guess:

    Within a scale of 100%, how much would you weight the phrase "it's not what you know, it's who you know"

    Which is to say in the hiring process as a whole, how much does knowing the right person count vs. simply being talented. IE: It's 70% who you know, 30% your ability (or visa versa). And I am only speaking as a whole for all recruiters everywhere based on what you've seen go on, not at all related to you or your current employer :)
  • PyrZern
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    PyrZern polycounter lvl 5
    In that case, should we use the cover letter to show our personality instead of the usual 'I wanna work for you!' ?
    Also @PyrZern, can you please expand on this question: "+ What/How should we put in the resume for the duration we spend working on our Portfolio ??" Are people asking you how long your portfolio took to develop?
    Yeah, like 'how long did this piece take you to make' or 'how long did it take you to (develop skills to) make this portfolio'.

    Also,
    how long do you keep our application on file ?? (or if given a 'no' how long till you reconsider it ?) If I send in another one, will you look at it for improvement/update ??
  • Beard3D Bandit
    @adrxzero

    I just want to say, thank you for answering my questions, you answered them perfectly and I will be honest and say it really made my week.

    It's artists and people like you, who take time to guiding newer guys/girls like me to keep pushing and I really appreciate it.

    If you're on Artstation or have any work on your website or blog, I would love to know what it is so i could follow you.

    Thanks very much, Peace.
  • Stinkfoot
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    Stinkfoot polycounter lvl 6
    @adrxzero

    Thanks for the reply! and all the other info!
  • MrHobo
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    MrHobo polycounter lvl 6
    @adrxzero
    Thanks a ton for answering my question, and also for going the extra mile and asking additional people. That gets you extra brownie points in my book!

    I dont think I saw this asked before in this thread but you mentioned it in your OP and I figured I may as well pose it as a question.
    What actually DOES happen when we hit submit on an application at a companies job portal site? I've heard that some companies have software that automatically filters applications into a database for hiring managers/recruiters. How does that sort of thing work.

    P.S. I think I met you for a portfolio review at GDC this year.
    Edit- haha yeah I did.
  • DavidCruz
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    DavidCruz polycounter lvl 4
    adrxzero wrote: »
    @MrHobo, @CandyStripes05, and @Stinkfoot
    But.... I have asked fellow recruiters about the cover letter and many tell me that they do not really read the cover letter until the resume and portfolio checks out. And some do not even read it at all.

    Since we are all being truthful i dislike creating a cover letter at all, simple reason if I am on a day full of sending out resume's this is time consuming making it personal and to the studio.

    This may sound harsh but spending 30m to 1h is a waste of time to just be rejected, idk these are my thoughts on this as the phone interview would also check the personality of someone.

    Good to see information never-the-less i hate being in the dark if we are passed up we would like to know.
    As anyone else we have deadlines to adhere to be it bills or eviction (my situation is not that serious but some peoples are.)

    ^Just something to think about when you don't want to send rejection letters, a simple the position has been filled thank you for your interest in our company, we wish you best of luck on your employment ventures.

    ^Dirty but helpful.
  • marks
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    marks polycounter lvl 8
    Question -> How much does visa eligibility actually matter to you? For example, let's say someone applies for a job in Canada but doesn't have a Canadian visa and isn't Canadian. How strongly does that affect whether or not you choose to pursue hiring them?
  • adrxzero
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    adrxzero Polycount Sponsor
    @Shyralon

    Personally I preffer to view portfolios in a browser since I am already working in that environment. Also sending an extra attachment is convenient but it can take up a lot of storage space, recruiters also use our phones to access our emails and viewing attachments can be prohibitive.

    Good luck!
  • Shyralon
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    Shyralon polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer!
    The phone thing really makes sense, I never really thought about that :D
  • adrxzero
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    adrxzero Polycount Sponsor
    @ironbelly

    I had to sit down and think about this one, right now I think the quantifiable number is 60% who you know and 40% ability.

    By knowing someone within the studio it creates an up swell of good faith, a friend bringing in another to the group thus giving more leeway to the culture fit aspect of hire. If an artist is vouching for a candidate we can assume (but still have to verify) that the candidate will be able to hit the quality bar and be able to work within the development process. Now if you are exceptionally skilled, that in its own merit creates a sort of "friendship" or desire for the team to have this bar raiser join the group and make the team as a whole better.

    Of course networking is an essential part of your career choice and it is your job to raise your technical ability and artistic process to a high bar.

    This is different in all studios, but this is my experience as a person that works with humans.
  • adrxzero
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    adrxzero Polycount Sponsor
    @PyrZern

    Portfolio and time spent:
    I can understand why the how long did "X" take you can be offsetting, to this you should answer truthfully. The reason behind this is that the person interviewing you wants to quantify how long it will take you to complete the work that is to be assigned to you.

    Focus on efficiency, understanding the tools at your disposal, and ways to shorten your development time with ought sacrificing quality.

    Cover Letter:
    Professionally answer the requirements to the cover letter as requested by the hiring company, changing up the cover letter is something that more progressive companies are doing and I am a big proponent of.

    How long do we keep an application:
    The standard time a company keeps your application is 1 year, but please update your resume and apply to positions at any time, also keep in mind to please not inundate the system with updates and job applications.
  • adrxzero
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    adrxzero Polycount Sponsor
    @marks

    The availability for visa sponsorship matters a lot, it makes all the difference if I would request my company to work with you not. So unless my studio is able to have you work remotely (which happens rarely) then I will not be able to do much with you.

    Visa sponsorship for a candidate means that the company wants to invest in this person, but not all companies can afford a visa sponsorship as it is relatively expensive and requires legal advice. Normally a visa for someone who wishes to work in the U.S. is a simple process if they are a citizen of either Canada or Mexico and would only require an h1-b visa. If you are a U.S. citizen and want to work in Canada it should be a relatively simple process, as long as the company complies to some regulations from the Canadian government before a visa can be issued.
  • adrxzero
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    adrxzero Polycount Sponsor
    @MrHobo

    Your work has definitely improved and it was my pleasure to speak to you about your portfolio.

    So what happens after you hit submit depends alot on the studio and what quality bar they are trying to hit. But here is the high level candidate process for most companies:

    All candidate applications get aggregated into a candidate database or ATS (like jobvite or taleo, maxhire), these databases sort all candidates depending to each role they have applied to. Now that all candidates are sorted by job it is up to us recruiters to continually go thru that entire list then research and pick out the candidates that we believe would be good hires. From there reach out and perform next steps such as interview, email, reference check, etc.

    Many of these ATS products allow us to find specific keywords and apply other filters to our database. Some companies and firms automatically sort applications depending on previously selected filters, but that is not very common at all.

    The advice you can take from this is read the job description and personalize your resume to it, you want to make sure that the recruiter does not have to make a leap of faith to understand if you would be a fit for the role.

    Good luck dude!
  • lamb
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    lamb polycounter lvl 5
    Thank you so much for this thread. Reading it felt like Christmas.

    Here is a little different question. As personality is as important as you said, what would be your advice for people with social phobia? It is not prohibitive in my interaction with people in the long run (I like people around me, it just takes time), but in a new environment I cannot really act as myself. This changes pretty quickly once I get to know the people around me, but it ruins the first impression. How do I convince a recruiter that I am actually an ok guy?
  • Shyralon
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    Shyralon polycounter lvl 4
    Lamb, that's a really good question.
    Maybe to add to it:
    How much is actually personality vs portfolio?
    Would you hire someone with an awesome portfolio and a shitty personality or vice versa (as an extreme example of course, but just to get to know what's actually more important..)
  • adrxzero
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    adrxzero Polycount Sponsor
    @dustinbrown

    I know right! But in truth, unfortunately some recruiters do not understand games from a holistic level, this means that they do not get games and what each person does in the development process.

    If you put yourself in their shoes: Here is a computer and a phone... now you need to find a molecular biologist (or some unknown field to you) and they have to be amazing and you have to give the hiring manager 20 of them today before end of day... or you are super fired.

    This is how some firms actually work, this recruiting philosophy is a by the numbers approach and recruiters are made or broken in this gauntlet. Recruiters should become subject matter experts in their field and unfortunately many recruiters never deviate from this research philosophy.

    So to truly answer your question, sometimes recruiters are just matching keywords, and when they discover you are not a match they have to move on to other candidates.
  • adrxzero
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    adrxzero Polycount Sponsor
    @lamb and @Shyralon

    The gaming industry is home to some of the most quirky and weirdest people you will ever know, and that is a great thing! This is one of the reasons why the gaming industry is the best working environment ever.

    We are all human and have social anxiety, phobias, and other quirks that hinder us from interacting with others at our best. To this I reaffirm you that you are not alone and that a good and inclusive team will accept you for your talent and personality. When speaking to a recruiter just be yourself and do not let your phobias define you, for I am looking at the entire package.

    One thing I have certainly learned is that it does not matter how good your portfolio is if you are a jerk personality wise. I have seen some pretty good artists be terminated or declined because they are unable to take critique well, or not have a good attitude about their work and that of others. Remember that an art director would pick the above average artist who is dedicated and a great team player, than the superstar who needs a lot of oversight.

    I am more than willing to go into detail if desired.
  • Alemja
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    Alemja polycounter lvl 6
    I am curious about something that has been brought up a few times in some threads:

    How much does location really matter?

    There seems to be about an even split in the opinions that "yes it does" or "no it doesn't" and even some "if you're crazy good, location doesn't matter at all"
    It would be interesting to hear from the recruiting end how much it influences who you can hire.
  • RobeOmega
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    RobeOmega polycounter lvl 4
    How much does having a degree in the 3D field count for getting hired if you are very equally matched with another candidate?

    Edit: And how much are degree sought after/cared about by employers?
  • pmiller001
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    pmiller001 polycounter lvl 3
  • MrHobo
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    MrHobo polycounter lvl 6
    @adrxzero - Thanks for your answers :)
  • pior
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    pior polycounter
    Hi adrxzero, very cool idea for a thread !

    If you don't mind I thought I'd chime in to expand on the following :
    I had to sit down and think about this one, right now I think the quantifiable number is 60% who you know and 40% ability.

    While I totally agree that referrals are an important part of the hiring process, I could see some junior artists misunderstanding these numbers of 40/60. What I mean by that is that when reading that, someone might think that they need to go out and buy tickets to cons and events in order to "network" ... whereas this is actually not necessary at all. I would rather suggest someone to spend that time and money on life drawing classes for instance.

    The reason why I bring this up is because I believe that the good kind of networking (that is to say, the important part that gets people referrals and jobs) actually comes from quality of work and exposure ; in other words, posting great art on forums/Artstation/FB. And of course the opposite is true - noticing that a specific artist is behaving in a caustic manner online can raise red flags even before considering interviewing that person :)

    I know that sounds a bit counterintuitive, but when interviewing someone for an art position I feel like I "know" the artist quite well if I have been noticing and following his/her work for years online. It's actually a bit uncanny - meeting such artists in real life for the first time feels like meeting a penpal or even an old friend even though no emails or PM have ever been exchanged.

    In short, I totally agree that being "known" opens doors, but I don't think this necessarily means being known in the traditional sense. Of course this all comes from my own experience and perspective, shaped by the places I worked at and the people I've had the chance to work with.

    I hope this makes sense and contributes to the discussion !
  • adrxzero
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    adrxzero Polycount Sponsor
    @Alemja

    This is a great question, studios will normally want to hire local people. Relocation expenses come out of the studio/company budget and are a cost that can be averted.

    So the short answer to the your question is: a whole lot and very little depending on the person.

    Game studios have a set budget allocated for overall development of the game, this will include everything including rent, legal costs, music, snacks, accounting, equipment, recruiting, etc. Relocation is a cost that is hard to calculate and can easily add up to be a costly part of the HR/Recruiting budget, therefore it is in the studio's interest to regulate this cost as closely as possible.

    Keep in mind that anytime a studio flies in a candidate for an interview that comes out of the studio budget, if a candidate is relocated to the studio area that cost can be numbered in the thousands, and if the person is an international candidate then this number can become quite high because of visa, legal, and traveling fees.

    Also keep in mind that some companies cannot afford to relocate people, especially if the candidate is international. Few companies have the overall budget to be able to relocate large numbers of people into their company.

    Please see the following for an idea of what a game studio budget breakdown looks like: http://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/budget1

    Now with all this in mind, relocation can be a cost that can be overseen if the team believes in the candidate. If this candidate can help the team like no one else can, then relocation becomes a necessity. So yes, if the candidate is crazy good and a great team fit then a studio will gladly relocate this person.
  • PyrZern
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    PyrZern polycounter lvl 5
    Another question or two for you ^^

    When they say '3ys+ exp required' or 5yrs for that matter... How serious do you mean that ?? Does having a good portfolio outweigh the yrs of experience ?

    For new artists, how do you recommend building/filling up the resume with experience ?
    * Online Indie Game Dev Collaboration --- Is that worth mentioning ? Even if the proj get cancelled without anything concrete done ?
    * Online competitions --- If you don't get ranked/placed, is it worth mentioning ? At all ? Or just put it in the portfolio instead ?


    You know, how to get the experience to get the experience to work ? Without selling your very soul and work for free ?

    Thanks again !
  • adrxzero
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    adrxzero Polycount Sponsor
    @RobeOmega

    In truth it is all about your talent and your ability to work with a team, hiring managers and I as a recruiter do not worry too much about a degree when it comes to considering candidates for art roles.

    One of my best industry friends taught himself all he needed to know online and was able to land a job in my studio, but that is his story. You need to grow your visual library and develop your artistic ability in your own way, and which ever path you choose needs to be your own. Some people learn best with the regimental structure of school, and some people find their motivation by doing it on their own, you have to fulfill your own journey and elevate your skill to a zenith... but only you really know how to get yourself there.

    But heed the words of Hazardous, for he brings up the main reason for you to have a degree:

    "The bottom line is, most visas require professionals to have degrees or the equivalent relevant experience. 3 years of relevant experience per 1 year of lacking education. So even if you're a great artist, if you've done 5 years of freelancing, or even 7 years in-house at a local studio but you do not have a degree. Your chances to enter the USA for example, are greatly reduced for a standard H1B Visa."
  • loggie24
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    loggie24 polycounter lvl 2
    adrxzero wrote: »
    @RobeOmega

    In truth it is all about your talent and your ability to work with a team, hiring managers and I as a recruiter do not worry too much about a degree when it comes to considering candidates for art roles.

    One of my best industry friends taught himself all he needed to know online and was able to land a job in my studio, but that is his story. You need to grow your visual library and develop your artistic ability in your own way, and which ever path you choose needs to be your own. Some people learn best with the regimental structure of school, and some people find their motivation by doing it on their own, you have to fulfill your own journey and elevate your skill to a zenith... but only you really know how to get yourself there.

    But heed the words of Hazardous, for he brings up the main reason for you to have a degree:

    "The bottom line is, most visas require professionals to have degrees or the equivalent relevant experience. 3 years of relevant experience per 1 year of lacking education. So even if you're a great artist, if you've done 5 years of freelancing, or even 7 years in-house at a local studio but you do not have a degree. Your chances to enter the USA for example, are greatly reduced for a standard H1B Visa."
    I'm interested in what type of education is needed to get for example a H1B visa in the US. How many years?
  • UchihaKite
    First off, I would like to say thank you for taking the time to not only answer my question, but also the questions of every user that replied to this topic.
    I am just starting my 2nd year in college, specifically for programming, but I am also taking classes that cover animation, modeling etc

    Despite being in school, I applied for a QA position at High Moon Studios over here in California. I adjusted my resume with the assistance to my adviser at school, and submitted my resume. My questions are as follows:

    1) I submitted my resume, but now what? Do I call to check the progress or do I just play the waiting game?
    2) Would you happen to know what they look for in a 1st time QA applicant?
    3) Does me being a full time student put me at a disadvantage?
    4) Where do I go from here if I do not get a call back/hired?

    I apologize if any of these questions have been asked before, I just assumed each position would vary in answers. I am just a little confused because my friend with no experience, who also isn't in school, got a QA job at Activision. So, it is a little disappointing that with my experience, I haven't gotten a call back. Thank you again!
  • Tejay
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    Tejay polycounter lvl 6
    adrxzero wrote: »
    @Alemja

    This is a great question, studios will normally want to hire local people. Relocation expenses come out of the studio/company budget and are a cost that can be averted.

    So the short answer to the your question is: a whole lot and very little depending on the person.

    Game studios have a set budget allocated for overall development of the game, this will include everything including rent, legal costs, music, snacks, accounting, equipment, recruiting, etc. Relocation is a cost that is hard to calculate and can easily add up to be a costly part of the HR/Recruiting budget, therefore it is in the studio's interest to regulate this cost as closely as possible.

    Keep in mind that anytime a studio flies in a candidate for an interview that comes out of the studio budget, if a candidate is relocated to the studio area that cost can be numbered in the thousands, and if the person is an international candidate then this number can become quite high because of visa, legal, and traveling fees.

    Also keep in mind that some companies cannot afford to relocate people, especially if the candidate is international. Few companies have the overall budget to be able to relocate large numbers of people into their company.

    Please see the following for an idea of what a game studio budget breakdown looks like: http://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/budget1

    Now with all this in mind, relocation can be a cost that can be overseen if the team believes in the candidate. If this candidate can help the team like no one else can, then relocation becomes a necessity. So yes, if the candidate is crazy good and a great team fit then a studio will gladly relocate this person.


    So knowing studios are hesitant on hiring people that needing relocation, but is there ways to lessen the blow of being an international candidate and increase the chances, other than being crazy good? Would not needing a visa or offering to relocate yourself lessen the reluctance for such a hire? What can we do to sweeten the deal? How do we get a potential employer to take notice in our attempts to make ourselves less of a burden? Is there even something or will being at the ass end of the world always be a major hindrance when trying to apply over seas?
  • adrxzero
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    adrxzero Polycount Sponsor
    @pior

    You are on point and thank you for expanding on my answer.

    I also see many aspirants go to great lengths to attend PAX or E3 and count on that to be the deciding factor for their chances at getting a job. While it is important to actively network and to "show the face", it is more important to have positive long term communications with the industry as a whole, this allows your name to be a known quantity in the scene and much easier to approach.

    It is important to develop real and human relationships with people in the industry, focus on the long term approach when searching for a job and do not only count on the flashy and rare chance of a convention.

    Disclaimer: I have hired people that I met for the first time at GDC, this was not out of chance but because their work was extremely exceptional and after further interviews they also fit well with the team.
  • Arkaria
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    Arkaria vertex
    This is a lot of interesting information. It's nice to know that the portfolio matters more for art roles. I have an A.A.S. degree in 3D animation and learned A LOT in that program. So much so that most bachelors degree programs I've explored don't look like they'll teach me anything new but rather just give me a piece of paper.

    I was unaware that studios have to pay for relocation costs. I assumed that if I wanted to relocate to say California it was on me to get an apartment, pack my things into my car and drive across the US. I'm sort of disappointed to find that my employment potential may be lessened because of where I live versus where I want to work.

    Also I have a question that's been bothering me. I'm strictly the art end of 3D/animation. I have no real knowledge of the world of programming. I have probably like 20+ friends who went to school for programming though. I was on Glassdoor reading about various game companies and found that many of them had complaints from employees/potential employees regarding pay and their overall experience from the whole hiring process. It seemed like all the people complaining were programmers/coders. So I'm just curious is the programmer field over-saturated or something? Are they somehow not treated as well as the people on the art end? It seemed like all of these people trying to get programming jobs were hitting brick walls or not being treated in a very professional manner by the recruiters.
  • adrxzero
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    adrxzero Polycount Sponsor
    @PyrZern

    Anytime, I am glad that this thread is picking up.

    When companies put in "4 years experience required" you should actually read it as "work representative of 4 years experience" you have to polish your craft to the heights of the best people, at the level you're applying for, in the industry in order for you to truly stand out.

    When building a resume you need to be honest and keep with only art related work, put in the stuff that you are proud off, and the stuff that describes you as an artist. It is nice to see that you are active in your industry and keeping yourself busy, but this is not the only reason you are getting hired... Professional studios hire you not only because of your technical ability but also on who you are an artist, how you communicate your process, how you approach visual problems, how do you approach the work of others, etc. Therefore your portfolio will tell me if the things you put in your resume are valid.

    Art leads want to see you keep busy and approach your craft with an eye for pushing the boundaries, keep in mind that the hiring manager's prime directive when looking at your resume is: How you are going to work with the rest of the team and how efficiently you will be able to pick up the style and direction?

    My advice is to not have online competitions, art tests, and collaborations as the only motivator for you to create work. What good is it to submit a fantasy inspired art test to a realistic type game studio when you should be tailoring your portfolio and resume to every company you are applying to?

    As a candidate seeking an entry level role, your portfolio will have a greater hand in getting you a job, than what you say in your resume. If a hiring manager sees talent in you, they will invest the time in training you to meet the requirements needed to work with the team.

    BTW: Art contests are normally are a way for a studio to look at potential people to hire as entry levels down the line. They also have a great promotional impact.

    There was an amazing talk at GDC, posted on another polycount thread, on many of these topics: http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1022096/Killer-Portfolio-or-Portfolio-Killer --- check it out!
  • PyrZern
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    PyrZern polycounter lvl 5
    Thanks again man !! I literally just watched that GDC video as well. Good insight.
  • Prime8
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    Prime8 polycounter lvl 2
    The GDC video is very interesting, thanks for the link, it even received its own thread by now.

    I have 2 questions.
    1. How much does age affect the chances of a newcomer?
    2. Do people who come form other industries even stand any realistic chance? Most jobs require education and or experience in the game industry even for entry level jobs.
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