Interviews and applications

Applications can be a tricky process to navigate regardless of experience. That’s why we’ve written the following guides to steer you through the world of interviews with some of our handy advice tucked in for good measure.

  • Asking questions is just as important as answering them in an interview. Asking questions shows the interviewer how enthusiastic you are about a role, and demonstrates that you're not afraid to ask questions in a job.

    It also gives you the chance to find out more about the company and see if the job opportunity it right for you.

    So what sort of questions should you ask?

    About you and the role

    Hopefully the interviewer will have gone through the role and answered most of your questions. However if there's anything else you're wondering about the role and your future career prospects, now is the best time to ask. Some examples of questions you could ask include:

    1. Do you offer a relocation package?

    2. What are the working hours?

    3. Who would I report to day-to-day?

    4. Is this a new position?

    5. What training do you offer?

    6. Are there any specific development processes used here?

    7. What software/programs do you use?

    8. If I'm hired, what is the next game or project I might work on?

    9. How much input will I get on the project?

    10. How do you assign or schedule tasks?

    11. Who will I be working with?

    12. What opportunities do you have for career progression?

    13. What is the process for promotion?

    14. How do I get to progress?

    15. Do you have a bonus structure in place?

    16. What projects could I be working on in the future?

    About the company / interviewer

    While it's good to know more about the position and how it benefits you, it's also nice to find out more about the company and the interviewer. If you're really passionate about the company you're being interviewed for, then this is your time to shine, and show them how much you love the company. Questions may include:

    1. What has been your favourite game/project to work on?

    2. How long have you worked here?

    3. What has been the most challenging game/project to work on?

    4. How would you describe the company culture and management style?

    5. What are the company's plans for the future?

    6. How many people are there in the team?

    These are just some examples of questions you can ask (providing they haven't already been answered by the interviewer). Of course, you should ask questions as and when they arise in the interview. A good interview will be more like a conversation, with questions from both the interviewer and interviewee and some discussion.

  • So you’ve gotten over the first hurdle and you’ve managed to get yourself an interview. The hard part is over – well – almost! You still need to impress the interviewer and show them why you’re the person for the job.

    Of course, interviews will differ slightly depending on what role and type of company you’re going for. Some will just be a standard question and answer setup whilst others may require you to sit a test as part of the interview process.

    Prepare to succeed

    Regardless of the role, company or industry that you’re going for, everyone needs to prepare for an interview. You may be in a senior position now, or you may have even conducted hundreds of interviews yourself, but you’ll still need to research the new company you’re interviewing for.

    This doesn’t just mean reading the ‘About’ section of the company website, but instead finding out about their development history, current announced projects and anything else they’ve got coming up. If you’ve played any of their games or used their products – great! If you haven’t, buy or borrow a number and get fimilure with them.

    While it’s easy to get caught up over what they might ask you, it’s just as important, if not more important, that you ask the interview questions too. Prepare some questions in advance, such as what are the company’s plans for the future, what projects have they got planned and how many applicants applied for the role. Showing interest in the company will always place you in good stead.

    If you’re taking examples of work with you, make sure that they’re easy to demo! It may be best to bring your own laptop or tablet, or give them a link to an online portfolio so that you don’t have to worry about not being able to access your work.

    Finally, make sure that you plan your route well and allow time for unexpected delays. First impressions really do count, so make sure that you make a good one. Arriving on time, looking presentable and professional will put the odds in your favour.

    Dress to impress

    It’s always better to be slightly over-dressed than under-dressed for an interview. For certain roles, such as development roles, you should just wear a shirt and a smart pair of trousers rather than a suit. If you’re unsure what dress code will be best, feel free to ask your consultant who will be able to advise.

    Ace the interview

    Following on from good first impressions, it’s important to maintain a good impression throughout the interview by being friendly and enthusiastic. Body language is also important – you should avoid fiddling or wringing your hands as it’s a sign of nervousness. Instead you should make sure your posture is alert and relaxed and that your hand and arm movements aren’t too large. You want to appear confident, yet relaxed.

    Eye contact is another technique you need to perfect, ensuring that you’re not giving too much or too little.

    When asking and answering questions, don’t rush or ramble. If you’re listing off one question after another, or your answers sound rehearsed, then it’s obvious to the interviewer that you’re just trying to check everything off your list. An interview should be more like a conversation, where both your answers lead to a discussion rather than a continuous question followed by answer scenario.

    If you need a moment to think about the question be honest! The interviewer will respect your honest and will probably appreciate a well-thought out and impressive answer.

    The length of an interview can vary from company to company, but usually interviews last between 45 minutes to an hour. If there’s a technical component or exercise, this can make the interview last 1-2 hours.

  • No matter your age or experience, interviews can make the best of us feel nervous. It’s a potentially stressful time of your life and no amount of preparation can make you feel completely confident for such an event. You can, however, take solace in the fact that no matter how bad you think an interview may go, it likely won’t be as bad as it did for these unlucky souls.

    Joking around

    Reddit user Vmaster learnt pretty early on that there’s a line between what’s funny and what’s not and, for some, that line is far thinner. During an meeting in the nineties, an interviewer asked the taboo question of whether or not she had any children. In an attempt to make light of the situation, Vmaster replied with “None that I know of.”, and went on to describe an icy, unamused look on the interviewer’s face. Moral of the story? Read the situation; if you have a good rapport with the interviewer and the chance arises, go for it. If not, maybe lay off the jokes and save yourself an awkward situation.

    Baby faced

    Every now and again, you may sit down for an interview with someone who clearly hasn’t read your CV beforehand. In most cases, this is just an extra opportunity to sell yourself to an employer and highlight what makes you the best candidate for the job. However, for Reddit user Zulli4n, a 24 year old who claims to look like a 16 year old, this was fatal.

    Upon being called into the boardroom, his interviewer took one look at Zulli4n and laughed. Claiming he clearly had some studies to do before getting any job; he told the poor baby faced user to go back to school and exclaimed that they need to start asking for pictures on CVs. Best thing to do in situations where the interviewer hasn't read your application? Simply stay calm and make sure you get any key information across that the interviewer will have missed.

    Proof. Read.

    It’s not just the interviewees who’ve vented about an interview going pear-shaped, people on the other side of the table have shared their horror stories as well. Sam Watts, from Makemedia, has talked about his experience when advertising for a games tester and QA specialist. One candidate specifically had the perfect CV filled with relevant experience. The problem? Sam counted 25 mistakes with his CV. Still, the candidate’s CV was impressive enough to bring in for an interview, just with an added attention to detail test. The nightmare unfolded for the candidate when they arrived and were greeted with a copy of their CV and given 20 minutes to find all 25 errors. Unfortunately they only found 14 and threw the opportunity away.

    Just friends

    Sometimes the odds are simply against you and, despite your best efforts, there’s nothing you could do. Arriving 20 minutes early, one anonymous Reddit user described meeting another candidate waiting to be interviewed. Apologising for being 45 minutes delayed, the interviewer invited the first candidate in. Sitting outside the interview room, the anonymous user could hear everything.

    Some might call that a blessing; a chance to hear every question beforehand and prepare the perfect answers. That is until the conversation turns from asking about qualifications to asking about their weekend. As it turns out, the pair had been friends for over ten years and our poor anonymous user did not hear back.

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