Microsoft is one of THE biggest names in the global games industry and has been a mainstay amongst the industries’ leading publishers for the past 10 years.
In March 2011, Aardvark’s Swift’s Simon Hope was approached by Microsoft’s Canadian recruitment team with a view to helping them build a brand new studio in the heart of Vancouver. They were aiming to develop new core action titles for current & future-generation consoles. Microsoft was already working with a handful of North American agencies, but wanted to work with a key partner in Europe to expand the talent search across the Atlantic.
Microsoft were looking to build a long-term studio plan, and were thinking ‘big’ for current/future products. Simon had detailed discussions with the Recruitment & Line Managers which helped him clarify the profile of the candidates the team were looking to hire.
After these discussions, the following list of priority hires was presented to us:
Art Director, Technical Director, Creative Director, Lead Level Designer, Senior Technical Designer, Senior Environment Artist, Lead Animator, Senior Character Artist, Senior Game Play Engineer, Lead Tools & Pipeline Engineer, Senior Concept Artist, Lighter, Senior Systems Engineer.
Recruitment on this scale involves detailed planning from the outset and clear targets to ensure no time is wasted in approaching the most qualified candidates.
The search began by first drawing up a list of target studios – to coincide with the requirements outlined by the Microsoft team, we concentrated on those studios who had previously developed (or had future plans for) an 80%+ rated Action game in the current console cycle.
This resulted in a list of 100 titles and around 85 different studios. This list was then used to match against Microsoft’s priority vacancies in order to make proactive approaches to suitable candidates – over 500 candidates were matched against the priority list across the various positions.
Our approaches to these candidates resulted in 90 experienced candidates being sourced from the target studios, all of whom were submitted to Microsoft against their priority vacancies – 28 were subsequently selected for interview.
This eventually led to the placement of an experienced Art Director who is now working on exciting new projects for Microsoft Games Studios.