8 fun and easy ways to screw up your GameDev Job Interview (and a few tips to nail it instead)
See similar blog posts
Let’s explore the exciting world of GameDev job interviews. Join us as we uncover eight fun and easy ways that can inadvertently sabotage your chances of success. Get ready to learn valuable insights and avoid common pitfalls to make a lasting impression in your GameDev job interview.
Tell you what. We’ll list some things that aspiring devs like yourself sometimes tend to do, that just absolutely stun the interviewers into disbelief (also sometimes called “common job interview mistakes”). We’ll look at how those can sometimes negatively affect your chances of getting hired. Even if you’re a qualified candidate.
Then, we’ll propose a few easy swaps that ease their stun debuffs and make them more likely to give you a rrring. Some might seem pretty obvious, but trust us – some get often overlooked, and they can make all the difference. Of course, you’re still free to make that initial strong impression, but we’re here to give you an alternative.
1. Since they already have your CV, don’t bother answering their questions in depth. Just go “It’s in my CV”. Problem solved!
Man, this GameDev job interview is getting boring. Why are they even asking me these questions? It’s all written down. A new episode just dropped on my favorite cooking channel. I can’t wait to watch that…
While yes, some of the questions might in fact be directly answered by your CV, contrary to popular belief, the interviewer’s goal is not to hear out loud what is written on a piece of paper.
Think about their point of view. They simply give you a chance to expand on that, and possibly highlight some achievements or share an interesting detail. Make an effort to stay engaged in the conversation and answer the recruiter’s questions.
This gives you a great opportunity to show a bit more of your human side, to demonstrate how passionate you can be about the things you’re proud of.
2. Add some flair and quirkiness to your GameDev job interview by being 30 minutes late!
People love surprises, right? Of course!
What could be a better surprise than the time of my arrival? The interviewer will be delighted to see the person hoping to join their team as such a creative and unique human being!
As much as that might seem like a good idea, believe it or not, some (by that we mean all) people find arriving late a rather annoying habit. It can disorganize your counterpart’s day and invoke a feeling of time wasted.
Remember, you only make the first impression once, so to make sure it’s a good one make yourself available precisely at the agreed upon time.
A simple, yet amazingly effective tactic to improve your chances? Get there with 5 minutes to spare, just in case. That means checking the route before leaving the house and anticipating any potential setbacks. You’ll be surprised how that little extra mile can make you stand out and give your chances a boost.
Of course, if the job interview is done online, that means you can probably worry a bit less about traffic. Even though, make sure you’re online and at the correct meeting link with a few minutes left. Especially if a few people will be attending, it gives you a small window for a pleasant small talk with other members of the interviewing team, before you kick things off.
3. Nobody cares about the video/audio quality during a call, so why bother?
A little bit of nacho dust got in that camera lens? So what? It’s not like they’re hiring by video quality. Who cares?
While technically correct, the amount of potato chip dust in the camera is not a factor by which people get disqualified, but… Well, it can be a bit of a turn-off for your counterpart. After all, it’s difficult to maintain eye contact when you can’t see somebody’s eyes.
Don’t get us wrong, you don’t need a 4k camera, boom mic, and a ring light, that’s not the point.
The hiring process is all about being prepared and showing that you care. Those are the attributes that they’ll be looking for. Make sure you give off that impression, and everything will go smoothly.
Also worth checking: being logged into the correct account that was invited into the meeting and double-checking that you have the correct software, depending on the meeting.
And think of how irritating and distracting it can be to have to constantly say “Oh sorry, something’s wrong”. It throws off the whole vibe and can actually make it harder for you to concentrate on explaining to the nice people inside the computer why you are the absolute best possible candidate for this position.
4. Demonstrate your ability to improvise and work great under any circumstances by freestyling the interview!
Great rappers perform best when they enter the flow state and just spitfire lyrics straight off the tops of their heads. That means it’s also the best course of action for my job interview. Simple logic.
To quote the old adage: “Well yes, but actually no.”
While you probably could pass answering some technical questions from your field of expertise (although that probably will be a part of the next interview) to show that you know your stuff, there are a few nuances here.
It really pays to sit down with a good ol’ fashioned pen and paper (or type it down on your PC, we won’t call the cops) and list some things you want to mention when the time arrives. Sometimes, it’s okay to brag a little, and job interviews are exactly that time.
These things might include:
- Your greatest achievement in a shipped project
- Your favorite side-project you did on your own (of course, if it’s relevant to your skills)
- A time-sensitive situation, where you handled yourself really well
- Times when you stepped up and helped other team members
Be prepared to answer questions about your CV, your previous projects or past employers, or the tools you use.
You can also note down some talking points that will show you took the time to learn something about the company you’re willing to join. Note down any questions you might have and which you can address during the interview.
Check out the games the studio is making, get an idea about the genres they specialize in, the platforms, what engines they might be using (is it a public engine or a proprietary one), the look and feel of their projects. In general, try to familiarize yourself with the studio and the job specifications before the GameDev job interview.
5. They want to hear about some of your past projects, so feel free to talk their ears off for hours with every detail!
They’re asking about the project that I worked on? Oh gosh golly, this is my time to shine! Hope they brought popcorn because this tale of me writing 17,000 lines of code to simulate a character’s hair is a long one. It all started when I first picked up a copy of Final Fantasy VII…
Sure, if they ask questions about your experiences, it’s a good time to talk. Moreover, you know this stuff. I mean, you literally DID this stuff. Why shouldn’t you talk in-depth about your achievements?
Well, there’s talking, and there’s TALKING.
Your interviewer wants to hear first-hand how you solved a problem. Not a data-drive post-mortem, nor a statistical analysis of the dependency of the number of bugs in a day to the kebab place you ordered from. Even though that sounds pretty awesome.
Simply go through what was the problem that arose, how you located it, and what steps you took to fix it. Keep it brief, stick to the crucial facts. Don’t leave out your teammates’ work completely (and definitely don’t claim it as yours), but remember they want to hear how you handled it.
Don’t worry about leaving any extra details out, if the interviewer feels that something was unclear or needs more details, they will ask about it.
6. Trash talking about your previous employer is a great way to bond with your potential new game studio!
I mean, they’re the competition, right? So there’s nothing wrong with bringing it up and badmouthing them a little bit. Right?
One of the easiest ways to end up in the next episode of “job interview gone wrong” is to badmouth your previous company or colleagues. Yes, even if you feel the monthly company outings were cringe. And yes, even if the marketing guy really was taking your lunch out of the kitchen fridge.
We know that conflicts or unpleasant situations at work may happen, but an interview is not the place to bring these up. Nobody wants to hire a job seeker that comes across as petty or toxic. These negative traits can have a devastating impact on a company’s culture and performance.
Luckily, this can easily be turned to your advantage. In most interviews, there is at least a question about dealing with a conflict or unpleasant situation at work. In this case, feel free to share any example you feel is relevant to this question.
Let them know how you would approach the conflict to minimize tension and reach a common ground. However, trash-talking about previous employer’s culture, benefits, the management or passing blame to everyone around you for failed projects or tasks is a big no-no.
7. Talking about the salary can be hard, so either don’t at all, or try to speed run that part of the GameDev job interview.
Maybe, just maybe if I don’t talk about it too much, or just blurt out a fixed number, they’ll give me that exact amount, no questions asked!
No. No one will.
But don’t worry, that’s a good thing!
Talking about salaries can be tricky. The basic concept of this part of the conversation is that you want it to be a reasonably high number, while your employer wants it to be reasonably low. But both sides want themselves and each other to be happy. So now how can you meet at the sweet spot?
When asked about your salary expectations, don’t freeze. Do your homework first and calculate a reasonable amount you’d be willing to do this job for. Compare to other job positions with similar requirements and come up with a salary you’d be comfortable with.
It’s a good practice to give brackets for your salary – a little wiggle room to negotiate inside.
And do take into account the various benefits your potential employer might be offering, as well as how often raises can usually be expected.
8. When asked at the end of the interview if you have any questions just say “nah”. It will show you’re cool and it’s not your first interview
We’ve just been talking for the past hour. Surely nothing else could be said that would contribute to the discussion!
Usually, towards the end of the interview, the interviewer asks if you have any questions.
It’s a good opportunity to end the talk quickly and be done. But consider using this time to get some additional info that might not be part of the job posting.
Many interviewees think it’s enough to ask, “when will I hear back from you?”. Unfortunately, that’s not good enough. It doesn’t fully show your interest and motivation for the job.
Other job candidates believe in thinking up a question on the spot. More often than not, they fail in thinking up a good question. This is an example of how lack of preparation can come back to hurt you. As we said before, it pays to come prepared.
Asking good questions shows your interest in their company and the role.
What are good questions to ask at your GameDev job interview:
- What are the details of the project?
- How is the company culture? Any outings? Can you expect friendly banter or respectful professionalism?
- What is the performance review system?
- What are potential career paths that can be pursued inside the company?
- If they work from home, are there any initiatives to help you stay sane?
- Inquire about opportunities for training and progression within the company
- Ask about the team you’ll be joining
If you’ve done your prep before the interview, for sure, you’ll have some questions already on the list. And don’t be scared.
And there you have it, a list with the most common mistakes that happen during an interview and suggestions on how you can avoid them.
As stated at the beginning – feel free to use the tactics employed by many other job seekers, but don’t be surprised when you get similar results (which is not getting the job).
Are there any specific GameDev job interview questions that you struggle with? If so, drop us a comment via our socials and we’ll brainstorm an answer together.
Need more advice on how to land a job in the gamedev industry? Check out our articles below: