Imma put you at ease 💆. Such organizations usually send red flags during the recruitment process all over the place! So you just have to know what to look at and keep your eyes open.

But what if you don't know what to look for? I'm here to tell you what red flags you need to look out for and what should have you rest assured.

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Red flags can show at every stage of the recruitment process or even before it begins. So let's dissect these bad hiring practices.




Stage 1: How did you find out about this gamedev job opening?

🚩 You get a phone call from a company you did not apply to

Though it's getting less and less popular (as it should cuz, first of all, it's against the rules. Plus it's not effective at all!) it still happens.

If a company representative is calling you out of the blue about a job offer you haven't sent your CV, it's definitely a warning sign that they're not following good practices and are way behind. Furthermore, it automatically raises a concern: what other grounds are they back on too? Ruuuuuun.

🟢 So, what's the right approach? Game Industry Recruiter's perspective

A recruiter should ask for your consent before sending your CV to a client. Period.

🚩Poorly written job pitch aka cold mailing

"Hi my name is XYZ and I'm recruiting for a leader in the industry. Are you open for a call? Please share your CV so I can tell you more" - sound familiar? I bet it does...

  • ZERO information on what the job entails.
  • Zero about the location or remote option.
  • Zero about the salary. Basically, no details whatsoever

How, on earth, can anyone expect a candidate to dedicate their precious time to discuss this if nearly no information was shared? It's not effective recruitment.

Definitely a red flag! Ditch them!

Btw if you want to minimize the possibility of getting an irrelevant job offer, read this article carefully.

🟢 So, what's the right approach? Gamedev Recruiter's perspective

The market is so competitive now it's a waste of recruiters' and candidates' time to send unspecific messages and job offers.

(Note for fellow recruiters: If you want to get people interested and excited about your offer, just tell them what is interesting or challenging about it!)

At 8Bit, we're always sharing as much info as possible, focusing on the juiciest stuff. The only situation when we do not share the salary range is when the studio asks us not to.

 

🚩Clichée phrases in the job description

Most job descriptions look very much alike. Let me know if you've heard this before:

"Fast-paced environment"

"Dynamic team"

"Fan of our games"

"We're a family"

"Leader in the industry"

Generally, there's nothing wrong with that, but it usually translates to the following:

  • Fast-paced and dynamic team = chaotic workflow and most likely lots of overtime
  • Fan of our games = they do not understand that the market is very competitive and most likely they are out of touch with reality
  • Family = just nope. It's your workplace! You have your family elsewhere. It's nice if people are friendly and helpful, but it doesn't necessarily make them your family. If a company claims they're a family, They're 100% not respecting any boundaries. It’s not a healthy work environment.
  • Leaders in the industry = 70% of the companies consider themselves leaders in certain areas or aspects, so this information basically tells you nothing tangible about them. And as we established in the previous paragraph, vagueness is something that should be avoided. If the job description is not transparent, the organization probably isn't too.

🟢 So, what's the right approach? Gamedev Recruiter's perspective:

The best idea would be to just tell it as it is! Transparency is always appreciated. Why not tell how big the team is? Or about its structure and the methodology the team uses daily or the working hours rather than shooting clichée phrases that transfer very little information? During the recruitment process with 8Bit, we're always trying to share the information that is actually relevant for the potential new hire.

 

Stage 2: Recruitment process

🚩 Recruiter is not willing to share details

OMG. Red flags all over the place.

Usually, one of the first stages of a recruitment process is a short call with a recruiting specialist or HR Manager. It's the first occasion to feel the vibe the company is sending.

Obviously, some things may fall under NDA and cannot be shared in an intro call.

Still, there are basic things like:

- company values

- team structure

- benefits

- budget (salary range)

- development possibilities etc.

That are just basic things you're entitled to be aware of.

If they're hiding info now, it's definitely suspicious and falls under bad recruitment experience.

🚩Pre-employment skill assessment tasks (tests) that require lots of time, and you won't get paid for taking the time to do them

In most cases, companies incorporate some kind of technical test or assignment to assess the candidates' skills.

It's standard practice, but when the company sends you a task that takes 8 hours to complete - it's when shit hits the fan.

Some companies do not have bad intentions with that and are just unaware that it creates a bad recruitment experience. But there are ones that treat it as free labor - and it's not cool. If the test is so long you need to dedicate an entire workday for it, the decent thing to do would be to compensate for it somehow.

 

🟢 So, what's the right approach? Gaming Industry Recruiter's perspective:

The best approach is when a company covers the technical skills verification during an interview as an in-depth technical discussion or by sharing some code samples from previous projects (if you have any that you can share).

Alternatively, a short test or assignment should take about an hour. Too elaborate tasks are red flags, showing that the company does not respect your time.

🚩Lots of questions about stress management with super tight deadlines

If most of the interview questions focus on "how you deal with super tight deadlines and crunch", you know what it indicates.

There probably are many people who like working in very fast-paced and chaotic environments, but for most people looking for long-term jobs, it's not the best choice.

🟢 So, what's the right approach? Gaming Industry Recruiter's perspective:

Note for gamedev Candidates: It's standard to ask about stress management, so don't be afraid if there are 1-2 questions. Of course, even the best job can be stressful at times, and you need to know how to prioritize, but during the interview process, you shouldn't feel that dealing with super-tight schedules and deadlines is the biggest concern of your job.

 

🚩Rude or unprofessional behavior during the interview

If the company representatives are angry or rude during an interview, it's fair to assume that mentality will also carry into the day-to-day workplace.

Some interviewers tend to forget that the interview is not only for them to decide if they want to hire someone, but also for the interviewee to see if this is an organization they'd like to work for. You usually meet your potential manager and teammates during the hiring process, so if you already feel there isn't chemistry there and their behavior is off - I wouldn't go there. It's only going to get worse as the interview is a moment where they should actually control themselves and show the best side.

🟢 So, what's the right approach? Gaming Industry Recruiter's perspective

If you're a Candidate who has been treated poorly during the job interview, the only thing you can do is to move on. Really. Your mental health is not worth the struggle. There're plenty of other options in the market as it seems that there's a high demand for every kind of specialist.

 


🚩The recruitment process takes forever. It's impossible to get some feedback

Most of us have probably been in a situation when the company reaches out 3 (or more) weeks after an interview, inviting us for the next step. In the meantime, you probably have totally forgotten about them (unless it was your dream employer) or have accepted another offer. Lengthy hiring processes are not that uncommon, actually.

It's usually a result of either:

  • A very corporate (formal) environment with lots of procedures and approvals for every decision
  • Lack of resources in HR or inside the team and in consequence the hiring manager is focused on project-related stuff rather than hiring.
  • Very young and unorganized environment (no structure whatsoever)

Obviously, the topic is complicated, and sometimes the process can be longer due to an illness of an important decision-maker etc. However, more often than not, the problem is very elaborate. It can be a red flag as an indicator of internal mess, and painful processes are not usually something people are looking for in the next job position.

🟢 So, what's the right approach? Gaming Industry Recruiter's perspective

You shouldn't wait for more than max. 1-1.5 weeks to get an update regarding the next steps or feedback they won't be moving forward. If the organization works as a well-oiled machine, it shouldn't take longer than this.

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These are the most common bad interview and recruitment practices red flags that you should look out for. At 8Bit, we work as partners to the studios and candidates we're working with and do our best to keep the process transparent and smooth.

If lack of feedback is something you're frustrated with, you might consider teaming up with an 8Bit recruiter as we are "your mates" and a direct hotline to the hiring managers. You can read more on how it works in: Game recruiters are your best allies!


See you, next time people!

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