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Question to recruiters: you have those two candidates, who would be your first pick and why?

polycounter lvl 4
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ned_poreyra polycounter lvl 4
You're in the middle of a project and you really need another guy to do urban environment (AA-budget game, you have some other guys doing enviro already). You have those two candidates:
A is clearly good, but is more of a character artist, has no environment in the portfolio.
B has done a lot of varied environment, but it's rather mediocre in terms of quality. 

No 'third answers' here, you really need to hire one of those two. Which would be your pick and why? What would be the deciding factor?

(Those are not real portfolios, I just assembled them from random images). If you're not a recruiter you may answer too, of course, just note that you're not a recruiter.


  • Taylor Brown
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    Taylor Brown ngon master
    I'd pick the artist showcasing in engine game art who understands modularity. Aside from a portfolio, attitude would matter a lot. I don't want to work with someone who is a jerk.. A polite, kind and eager to get better decent artist can be molded with a bit of time

    Not a recruiter
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    Not a recruiter. This seems like a silly question. In what scenario would there be a binary choose between two candidates and one of them isn't even in the relevant field? There is so many artist out there looking for work. How could it possibly come down to this?

    And what is the purpose of the question? What does the answer give you?
  • ned_poreyra
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    ned_poreyra polycounter lvl 4
    And what is the purpose of the question? What does the answer give you?
    Answering any of those questions would bias how people answer, so I'm not going to.
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher veteran polycounter
    If i absolutely had to pick one, it would be the person B with environment work experience unless they had a totally rancid personality in the in person interview. never underestimate how much personality effects who gets hired, it is easily 50% of the reason people do in house interviews. The portfolio gets the studios attention and proves your skills, your personality will more than likely get you the job. 

    but I think the actual realisitc answer here is : neither.

    neither really has the relevant skills and abilities based on their portfolio to fill the position properly, and forcing a hire like that could actually backfire on the HR person doing the hiring, as well as no lead or art director would probably approve the hire. 

    while A has a strong character based skillset training them to work with tiling textures and environment based workflows would probably be extremely long and painful, and B looks like they could get the job done with a lot of revisions, guidance and mentoring/babysitting, in the middle of production there is rarely time for that. 

    the most realistic option would just to be to wait to get a better applicant or head hunt/poach from another studio and get someone with a proved track record. It might mean paying more, or extending your deadlines to have the current people on the team handle the work load if possible, or cutting scope. all of those would be better options than hiring someone who isn't going to be able to get the job done efficiently, as that can actually work against a dev team. 
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR interpolator
    Actually I think the realistic answer is more along the lines of "We don't have enough information about what the job/company actually requires, so hiring a candidate for a random "environment artist" position is open to so many variables, the only advice we can offer is from personal experience and by god most of the artists here are totally pigeonholed into that way of thinking given that's all they've been doing for years.

    For instance you said "AA" studio, not "AAA", so I'm guessing it could be anywhere between a low budget indie game with small team focused on hiring students because of government tax incentives vs medium budget with experienced artists prioritising hiring other experienced artists that are looking to move away from AAA to somewhere where they have more control, input and freedom?

    This also affects who the recruiter may prioritise as a potential candidate to forward to lead/art director, that is to say if there is actually a designated recruiter and its not just a senior doubling up as a recruiter.

    Like mind you, the portfolios are also super random, both show potential, not sure why the 1st obviously character artist would apply for an environment art position,
     unless it has to do with sculpting organic statues which I had seen a position for, from a AAA studio.

    Was called "organic sculpting artist for props" I think and was part of the environment art pipeline.

    If you're looking at say a more dense recruiter with zero game art experience stalking linkedin looking for something that looks cool, I guess they would pick the 1st since its well cool-er. They are also likely to go for candidates with more reputation even if the company actually likely require less than half the skill/experience the candidate actually brings to the task at hand. 
    One other reason this is done is to make the company more appealing to investors/new hires since they have a top name on their team.
    Its why the Cats movie is freaking out a hell lot of people, but has so many first rate actors.

    Then the application would progress through the recruitment pipeline and go one of two ways.
    1. Budget/deadline decides we go with candidate
    2. Nice personality depending on what they think that is and/or recommended by someone.

    Is the work at the studio buying art from any of those portfolios? Likely no, so you may be a top of the line character artist but your work as an employee is relegated to retopo and clean up.

    Again it depends on the company, being AA, good chance you may be looked at as more than just a number. 
    But really, there's just too many variables. Its a fact that to play it safe, companies may end up poaching, though there is such a disconnect between what the candidate can do and what is actually needed, it can really come down to dumb luck in many cases.

    Like by all means keep pushing the portfolio and do enjoy what you do, the best companies are the ones that hire not just for the job at the time, but also for your potential to grow the company.

    And that often requires demonstrating that you are the type to go beyond what is expected, not that you can't get in with the skills you have, it really depends on who you're talking to.

    I can guarantee you that the 1st artist more than likely freelances since it's just more sensible to do so with a portfolio like that.
    There's also other avenues for that skill, like miniatures for board games, 3D printing maquettes and scale figures, promotional oversized props for video games/film and television.etc.

    Most sought after artists may not stay on depending on what's offered, so having that opportunity definitely helps, but if you have family and bills to pay, relocating is not always an option. 

    I wish we had public statistics about how many artists are poached vs how many are fresh hires, since that reflects the general corporate attitude of the game industry.

    On an art focused site like polycount its rare to hear about the business side of recruiting since the focus is usually always on portfolio for the most part.

    There is a lot less poaching in IT, they also pay higher and offer better benefits and employee retention. Something the game industry should definitely adopt.

  • Eric Chadwick
    Ned if you're looking for work, and getting frustrated, the key issue here is your portfolio.

    It does not communicate a clear focus to a recruiter. The jobs are rare (to non-exsistent) for highres-only prop modeling. That may be what you love to do, but if you want to find work as a game environment artist, then make real-time env assets. If you want to work as a weapons modeler (a smaller subset, much less jobs!) then make real-time weapons.
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