Recruiting can literally be the difference between success and failure for a gaming company.
Peter Thiel has remarked that a critical question he often asks start-up founders to determine whether they will ultimately succeed or not, is the following question:
Why will the 20th employee at your company join your company rather than Google (or some other industry relevant company)?
Despite the criticality of recruiting, the majority of companies still don’t do a great job with it. A year in and my start-up still struggles with improvements and iterating on our hiring process.
Just to be clear, it’s primarily my fault. Having said that, I can’t help feeling that we’re likely better than most other companies out there.
Here are some of the key problems I’ve observed in hiring practices over my career:
- Poor Coordination: Not everyone is coordinated on how the hiring process works. What is the workflow and does everyone involved understand it? What is the scope of the role we’re hiring for? Who’s testing for what?
- Skills Evaluation: Often interviewers aren’t actually testing for the skills that are most critical for success. In practice, interviewers aren’t aligned, don’t think about, or agree upon the skills required to be successful for the specific role being hired for.
- Bad Process: Oftentimes, the overall process is not closely adhered to, steps get skipped or stuck on, and even candidates can get stuck in a recruiting step for weeks or even longer.
- No Tracking: No offense, but lots of HR teams are not super quantitative or tech-savvy. Hence, most HR teams don’t track KPIs or funnels in their hiring practice. You can see our V1 dashboard below.
- Manual Bullshit: Even with the technology that we have today, many HR teams are not leveraging automation and technology to reduce the time required for recruiting activities and to increase reach to new potential candidates.
I’m a strong believer in using written tests. To be honest, I believe without written tests of some kind, you will not be able to get a good enough assessment of potential candidates for most roles (at least in tech). Just to be clear, I also believe live verbal tests are also important.
However, it turns out the use of written tests is controversial. To be honest, I was surprised by this. However, it seems the key criticisms against using written tests include:
- Time Commitment: Some don’t believe it’s fair to force candidates to undertake a task that could take hours of time.
- Unpaid: Many companies ask for written tests without compensation. They believe they should be compensated for any use of their time.
- Use of Material: Some have complained that some companies use written interviews as a way to learn “secrets” or leverage work done by candidates in their projects.
Just a few responses to these criticisms here.
First of all, with respect to time commitment and being unpaid, I personally believe written tests give the candidate a better sense of exactly the kind of work they can expect to be doing at a company. Further, ironically, no one complains about having to spend 8-12 hours flying out to meet with companies and take a battery of in-person live interviews.
In my view, spending time to evaluate new opportunities is just a real cost.
Should we also start charging dates if they don’t wind up working out?
Look Jill, unfortunately, I spent 3 hours getting to know you and it’s clear you can’t be my girlfriend, so I’m gonna send you my bill at a rate of $150 an hour.
On the point about the use of interview test material, I do believe some unethical companies may use that material for projects intentionally. It’s sad to see this practice, but speaking from my own experience I can honestly say I’ve never learned a single thing from written tests. I have learned a thing or two from live tests, but it happens so rarely I can literally remember the specific 2-3 people from whom I’ve learned something.
In response to this criticism, I did modify my tests to not be about gaming. However, I recently changed this back because I believe it’s more important to get the closest gauge of a candidate’s ability to do the actual work.
Here’s Tayber’s original LinkedIn post:
- Tayber Voyer LinkedIn Post: “Is asking a job candidate to do a take home an immoral act?”
The Candidate is the Customer
Something a lot of people forget is that recruiting can be a primary touchpoint to the external game development community. Therefore, the customer experience matters.
Therefore, you should think about the message you are sending to your candidates by your process and the experience candidates are having in your recruiting pipeline.
Sometimes, it can even be simple things. Consider Tesla’s candidate application form below:
Tesla’s candidate sign-up process is super simple and the single question asked speaks to the company’s expectations and culture.
What does your candidate process suggest to applicants?
The Discussion: Tayber Voyer Joins Us!
OK, this discussion goes deep people. And we cover a whole range of topics and additional depth I think you’ll find interesting and applicable to your own recruitment pipeline. Check it out now!
- Joseph Kim, CEO at LILA Games
- Brett Nowak, CEO at Liquid & Grit
- Tayber Voyer, VP of Product – A Thinking Ape
What’s Your Value Proposition?
You just complete an interview with quite possibly the most gifted candidate you’ve ever encountered.
You’re excited to extend an offer for what would be employee #20.
Before ending the call, she asks:
So, why should I join your company? I’m currently holding two offers from Supercell and Riot.
What’s your answer?