What to Expect in Your Interviews (Working in Games #3)

Games Industry Job Interview - What to Expect | Working in Games #3
So you’ve just been invited for an interview at a games company. What the heck do you do?! In this post, I’m going to cover things to expect in your games industry job interview. It won’t be a catch-all guide for what to say and what not to say, but it’ll at least give you a fair idea of what you’re facing, so you don’t walk in completely blind!

1. To suit or not to suit?

Should you wear a suit to a games industry job interview? I often hear people saying, “Don’t wear jeans to an interview or you’ll never get the job!” And to some extent, this does have merit. But keep in mind that the games industry is a little bit different, and as such a games industry job interview is a little bit different too. They’re generally more casual than most workplaces. I’ve actually heard interviewers comment negatively on a candidate because they wore a suit! Your best bet is honestly to ask the recruiter what the dress code is. This will prevent any nasty surprises, and there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed about in asking. Generally, smart-casual is a safe bet, to make sure you don’t show up either over- or under-dressed, so a plain button-up shirt and smart pants or a skirt with sensible shoes, but I have shown up to a games industry interview wearing jeans and a nice shirt and got the job, so don’t stress it too much! If in doubt, ask your contact at the company.

2. You will speak to a lot of people.

These days, most tech industry interviews, gaming included, involve panel interviews and they’re often pretty hectic. Depending on the company, you might have one interview at the office with a few different people to speak to, or even have an entire gauntlet of interviews, including on the phone and at the office itself. Don’t be too intimidated; most games industry people are pretty laid back, but still make sure to bring your A-game to each interview slot! Keep in mind, speaking to a lot of people means you may be asked the same question multiple times, as it’s likely you’ll only talk to one person at a time. Don’t act bored or frustrated; the interviewer probably has no idea what the previous person spoke to you about.

3. Enthusiasm is key!

Well-placed enthusiasm is extremely refreshing to see, and definitely something that I think people should bring to pretty much any interview they go to. After all, why should you be hired if you’re not going to enjoy your job and give it your all? In the games industry, enthusiasm about games and the gaming community, as well as the specific game for the company you’re applying at, will be very helpful and appreciated.

4. Nothing is sacred on social media.

Do not be surprised if, in the games industry or any tech related field, your social media has been perused. I doubt anyone would ever bring it up in an interview, but it is possible, so make sure you keep that in mind. While I’ve never encountered this myself, I have heard stories of people’s associations or feelings towards GamerGate being considered when applying for a job, and the same goes for any prominent social media activity. Make sure to keep certain things locked down; not just for interviews, but as general good practice.

5. Think of examples and be prepared to cite them.

These days, your games industry job interview will more than likely draw you back to things you’ve done in the past. The interviewer will probably ask you questions that involve you giving them an example of a time you’ve done something, such as run a project by yourself, or dealt with a conflict. Try to think of some key things that have happened in school and your career, or even your external hobbies, and be ready to talk about them. Don’t expect to have an answer to everything right away, but be prepared to go through your past and think of some things that might be interesting to share in answer to a question. They don’t have to be specifically in answer to that question either, just try to find ways to link your answer to past experiences. Also, try to vary where you draw your answers from. Don’t always talk about things that happened in the same job. Even if you’ve only had one job, you have school or college, or external things to draw on as well. Use that!

Even if you aren’t asked for an example, using one to back up an answer and give it more depth is really helpful. I personally like to think back over my career for examples of things that I could use before my interview begins. Some good examples would be times you solved a conflict with a colleague, when you went above and beyond to help someone or complete a project, etc.

6. Work your strengths. Own up to your weaknesses.

Some standard interview questions will likely show up too. If someone asks you what your biggest weakness is, for all that is good and holy do not say, “My biggest weakness is I work too hard.” Everybody knows that’s a load of rubbish. I actually had an interview coach in school tell me to say that, and I cannot tell you how wrong he was. Even worse, don’t ever utter the words: “I don’t have any weaknesses, but if I did I would work on them!” Everyone knows you’re lying; everyone has weaknesses. It’s showing how you work on them that matters. For example, I know my weakness is that I worry too much. While it can be a strength at times, and I can work it to my advantage, often I find it stresses me out. It hasn’t got in the way of my professional life but it’s something I have to keep in check, and while it’s improved, I have a long way to go. This is a perfectly fine answer to share! Like I said, everyone has weaknesses. Anyone who says they don’t is lying.

Hopefully this will help you not be too intimidated by your upcoming interview!

More in the Working in Games series
Working in Games series
Working in Games #1: How to make your CV stand out
Working in Games #2: Words to use in your cover letter
Working in Games #3: What to expect in your games industry job interview

Got any questions?
Feel free to ask in the comments!