This article about gaming recruiting tips was originally published in December 2019. All relevant statistics and information has been updated as of October 2022.
Recruiters know that when those tough-to-fill roles come their way, they must find new and exciting ways to recruit a small pool of talent away from their current position. These candidates with a niche skillset hear from a lot of recruiters – often every week. And by now, they’ve stopped replying to emails and answering the phone, and they don’t even glance at InMail. So, what’s a recruiter to do? How do you get the attention of these top candidates? And, once they acknowledge you, how do you convince them to make a change?
Gaming is one of those industries where the roles are very specific, and the candidate pool is small. The studios are all known to one another and compete for talent. It’s the “small town” version of recruiting. Everyone knows everyone, and secrets never stay hidden for long.
Whether you’re searching for the perfect Art Director in California, a quirky Animator in Oregon, or someone as unique as a Vehicle Artist in Texas, the challenges are the same: more open positions than top candidates to fill them — leading to fierce competition in the recruiting world.
Try our top 10 tips for recruiting gamers — from artists to engineers. These simple tricks will help you find the best of the best AND get a response from your outreach!
1. Find Candidates’ Portfolios.
When sourcing for Game Artists, take the extra time and effort to find their portfolio and complement a specific piece of work. This simple act shows you are interested in viewing their work and have positive things to say about something they put a lot of effort into. Candidates will appreciate the time you took to review their work and find something specific you like about it.Gaming is one of those industries where the roles are very specific, and the candidate pool is small. Try @IQTalent’s top 10 tips for #recruiting gamers — from artists to engineers:Click to Tweet
2. Craft Your Outreach Differently Depending On The Type Of Career Field You Are Targeting.
We’ve found that artists tend to respond more when focusing on the artistic style and the aesthetic qualities, while designers respond when talking about specific game design features. Meanwhile, engineers want to hear about the tech stack the game would be using. There’s no one-size-fits-all outreach message for gaming candidates.
3. Know The Game And Understand The Role You’re Recruiting For.
A game can be very specific regarding genre and art style. The more information you know about the type of game the team is building, the more you understand what you’re looking for and what skills an ideal candidate has. This will take some research into the industry, but it’s worth the effort to speak the gaming language to your candidate.
For example, if you’re creating a Boolean search to find someone with experience working on a shooter game, several keyword iterations could yield the most accurate results that may not be obvious. Shooter experience could pop up in a profile as “fps” (first-person shooter) or “tps” (third-person shooter), for example. The more you understand these details, and what they actually mean, the more successful your search will be.
4. Start Playing Games!
Similar to #3, immersing yourself in gaming and learning to speak the language will help you understand precisely the type of game your client is building. Shortly after you start playing, you'll see similarities between your client’s project and games released by other studios that you’ve played. You can then look up the credits for these other games and find names of artists, designers, and engineers that you know will already be a great match for your team.
5. Learn More About Schools That Specifically Offer Game Design Degrees.
Find out which schools offer the best programs. Yes — Game Design degrees really do exist. This is a great way to find junior or entry-level candidates.
6. Utilize Internal Referrals.
The gaming industry is incredibly small, and current employees likely already know a candidate or two who would probably be a great fit. Similarly, connecting on LinkedIn with the current employees of your client and combing through their 1st-degree connections is a great place to start.Use these #recruiting tips from @IQTalent to get the attention of the most desirable talent in the #GamingIndustry!Click to Tweet
7. Use Different Platforms For Different Positions.
For example, you may find a few decent art candidates on LinkedIn, but almost every artist will have his or her work posted on websites such as Artstation, Behance, or even Instagram. Don’t assume LinkedIn is the end-all-be-all for your search, especially for creative roles!
8. Promote The Studio Culture.
The game industry culture is juxtaposed with the appearance of a fun, casual, laid-back environment, with mandatory overtime hours closer to the release date (known as “crunch”). Nearly every studio has some sort of cultural selling point that should be used to appeal to candidates. For example, Cold Iron Studios actively avoids Crunch, promotes work/life balance, and has an unlimited PTO policy. They also have a huge, free snack bar for employees. Remember, this is a competitive field; salary and location won’t be the only way to sell the job.
9. Understand The Importance Of Social Media For The Studio.
Candidates in the gaming industry do plenty of their own research into the studios they are considering. Because of the competitive nature of the industry, these candidates can be picky. Before they make a change, they want to know everything about a studio, from culture to benefits. A strong social media presence showcasing how amazing it is to work at your studio is helpful. Social media is especially important if your studio is a startup with no previously released games that can attract a candidate’s attention. As recruiters, we can only help the studio as much as the studio helps itself!
These events are essentially the Comic-Con for game developers. Candidates who are open to new opportunities will definitely be attending.
Feel like you’ve tried everything, and you still can’t find great candidates for all your open roles? Give us a call; we can help. We’ve been finding gamers, designers, artists, and engineers for years, and we’ve got all the gaming recruiting secrets! Get started today.