Pros and Cons when evaluating a new job

A question came up today while I was in thought and I thought I would pose it to the community to see what responses you guys had.

What do you guys weigh for pros and cons when evaluating multiple job offers?

The list I have so far is:

Salary - Obviously this comes into play. Salary requirements often fluctuate depending on who, what, where you'll be working. Often times we're willing to take less pay if our other pros are in check. Most of the time we require more pay if there are more cons on the list.

Cost of Living - How much will your salary actually be worth? Could you feasibly afford a house and car? Will you have to rent? etc.

Company Vision - What is the company's goal? Do they want to make AAA games? Do they want to focus on Casual Games? Does this line up with your vision?

Amount of Creativity - Will you be able to be creative within your discipline? Is this important to you? Do you like to own your work or do you enjoy working on someone elses creation?

Benefits - What level of health insurance do you get if any? Dental? Eye? Family?

Location - Some people hate the cold, others hate the heat. Do you love beaches? Do you want to live abroad? Big city or small? Distance to your friends and loved ones. What cultures are you interested in and want to experience?

Area for Advancement - Most people don't want to be stuck in one role their whole career. It's important to be able to advance. Can you advance within the new studio? Will the new job help you advance towards your end goal be it with this studio or a different one in the future?

Travel - Will you get to travel with the new job? Is going to trade shows important to you? What's the proximity to the nearest airport?

IP - Is the IP something that you are excited about? Does it even matter?

What other bullet points should people consider when weighing pros and cons?

Do you guys have any discussion relating to the above bullet points?


  • MagicSugar
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    MagicSugar polycounter lvl 10
    What other bullet points should people consider when weighing pros and cons?

    History of the studio and upper management: refer to Silicon Knights and founder Denis Dyack; 38 Studios and their baseball legend founder [they're studios are gone, but before their company demise it was easy to be seduced by their hype of commercial success]

    Location: gamedev hotbed like Austin, Montreal, etc. vs. some obscure studio in Nova Scotia [i.e., where would you rather be if you get laid off]

    Who's already on the team: work with new grads vs sr guys with killer portfolios [you want to learn fast with senior people or prefer learning/ working with fellow new grads, for example]
  • Teclis
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    Teclis polycounter lvl 11
    For me there are some other points, like studio size and production philosophy.

    I would prefer to work in small/medium studios with a more familar environment and team spirit.
    And if the studio is planning crunchtimes into regular production this is almost a no go.
  • cptSwing
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    cptSwing polycounter lvl 6
    Latching onto that ^ .. Work/Life Balance. Not all of us are excited about spending 12 hours a day in front of a computer screen, all for "the love of games!!1"..
  • glottis8
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    glottis8 polycounter lvl 9
    Success/stability: i always look at the record of the company now, how many years and its success and how stable they are. It sucks to be layed off because they have all their eggs in one single project that then gets cancelled and the whole company is in jeopardy.

    More on the people: i agree with the mention of sr artists vs more new artists, but i also consider a lot on the kind of people that are working there. That you are a good fit and get along with them. What kind of environment this makes? you will be there a lot of the time, so this should be something big.

    Contract VS Salary:
    i've seen a lot of contract or temp positions around. But i think this is something to consider greatly. Some people like contract work... some full time. this is something that is linked to other areas as well... like the location. Making sure that if its contract that you can fall on to other studios nearby.

    Clear Expectations: to me its important to have a clear understanding of your role. Some smaller studios will hire you to do something specific, but will end up having you do things that you were not aware of.

    Platform growth: Console? iOS? Leapfrog? this is something big. When i moved here i thought i would be doing more Handheld geared towards the 3DS and some console, now the company is starting to move to iOS and lots and lots of Leapfrog with less 3D work. This is something i am not interested... so i end up being stuck with work that doesn't push my art. But it should be something to consider now a days.

    Good thread tho. It's nice to see people being conscious about their job prospects and not go into it thinking.. its my way into the industry and crunch all year thinking this is the norm.
  • Fomori
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    Fomori polycounter lvl 7
    Personal Development - The opportunity to gain new skills or learn new software or tech.
  • praetus
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    praetus greentooth
    Turnover rate - How long do people tend to stick around. If people stay on for a year and then move on consistently, it might be some red flags.

    Work/Life balance - My daughter is almost 11 months old and I don't want to be the invisible dad who is never at home. My current job is great because there cannot be any crunch (the building literally shuts down and everyone has to be out by a certain time.) Knowing I might have to put in a significant amount of OT at an industry job has actually stopped me from applying at a few places because I don't want to miss my daughter growing up if I can help it.
  • Brygelsmack
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    Brygelsmack polycounter lvl 6
    praetus wrote: »
    Turnover rate - How long do people tend to stick around. If people stay on for a year and then move on consistently, it might be some red flags.
    Is there a way to check this?
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 13
    Is there a way to check this?

    Local dev meetups, if a place has a high turnover then that means a bunch of grumpy ex employees.
  • praetus
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    praetus greentooth
    From what I know most of it is up to word of mouth and networking. When I was out in Seattle there was a smaller studio (I honestly don't remember the name of it now) but they made movie and tv show tie in games. Little stuff. Anyways, they were known for just chewing up staff. It kind of got around that most people would go there to break in to the industry and work for about a year to get it on the resume and then get a better job as fast as they could. As Justin says, it meant that a ton of people in the room had gotten their start there, but had nothing good to say about it other than "it got my foot in the door."
  • ZombieWells
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    ZombieWells polycounter lvl 9
    Local dev meetups, if a place has a high turnover then that means a bunch of grumpy ex employees.

    Not the best way to do this. Devs+beer= blowing off steam, so things get skewed fast. The correct way to do this is just to ask during the interview, (phone or onsite) Devs in general will tell you the truth, (we all try to look out for each other). You can also contact other devs at whatever studio your interested in; thru here, or linkedin. Linkedin will also tell you how long a person has been at a studio. So you see a lot of folks have been there for 10+ years... its a good sign the studio has a healthy atmosphere.
  • praetus
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    praetus greentooth
    Not the best way to do this. Devs+beer= blowing off steam, so things get skewed fast. The correct way to do this is just to ask during the interview, (phone or onsite)

    I would say that depends entirely on who is giving/present for the interview. I would say that most people would look out for each other but if a place is shady chances are you aren't going to be told that straight up by the person doing that interview.

    "Oh yeah, we work people to the fucking bone and treat our employees like disposable meat sacks. I mean, there are always more artists hungry for that break, right? So, when can you start?"
  • Dudestein
    The Projects Themselves - What they're working on should be something I'm interested in, and something that I will be proud to eventually have in my portfolio.

    Peer Skill Level - Everyone wants to work with people who inspire them.

    Selective Hiring - If I sense that a studio puts real effort into selecting the right people, that is an indication that they really care about quality. If they seem cavalier in their recruiting process, then that would be a red flag for me.

    Environment & Equipment - Was effort put into creating a work environment that is conducive to the creative exchange of ideas, or does it look like health insurance sales office with cubicles everywhere? Do people generally have modern equipment to work on? Do they have good office chairs?

    Professional Development - What sort of things do they do in order to keep their creatives creative? Some studios have time blocked our for personal projects, some groups will do lunch crunches, some will do game jams ... ideally something along these lines are being done to encourage people to think and create beyond the daily grind. If I ask them to pay for me to take a relevant workshop, is that request going to go smoothly, or will it be met with grumbles about budgetary constraints?

    Work/Life Balance - I usually try to assess the age range of the people working there. If it's primarily 20-somethings, odds are they have that "burn the midnight oil," piss and vinegar attitude about OT. If you have plenty of folks in their 30's and 40's, those people often have families. So this can be an indication that they foster a culture where work/life balance is important. Personally, I need to have a life outside of work. "Work to live, don't live to work."

    Turnover - Do they play the ramp up/down game, or do they hire for keeps? Do people often leave of their own volition, or do they tend to stay because they're happy?
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher ngon master
    LOL at getting an accurate view of a company from what someone tells you in an interview, especially when you become more senior/desireable. they will spin stuff any way they think will get you a lot of the time. thats their job really, which isnt a bad thing but I will take on the ground/bar rumblings over something a producer tells me in an interview any day.

    another thing to consider is :

    Dev cycle times: do their projects normally take 3-5 years to put out? or do they have a bunch of cancelled projects? nothing sucks more than joining a shiny new studio and busting your ass on some new IP for 2-3 years only to have the project and studio close down. leaving you with nothing for your portfolio in some cases.

    work life balance: Does the studio have manditory OT? or is it voluntary? I tend not to want to work at studios where there is the fear of losing your job if you dont stay an extra 3+ hours a night. 8 hours a day is all you are gonna get outta me unless shit is really hitting the fan.

    The people you work with: Is there a local bar/hang where tons of people go after work to chill and hang out or is it more people staying late and not being social? The thing I love about Ubisoft is that on thurs/fri evenings around 5:30-6ish tons of people bounce to the bar across the street and get nice and rowdy. also the every 2 weeks [EMAIL="[email protected]"][email protected][/EMAIL] on the rooftop terrace with free booze aint bad either when its sunny.
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