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How to Spot a Venus Cat Trap: Red Flags to Watch Out for When Gamedev Job Hunting

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Gamedev job hunting may sound familiar if you’re already in the industry, but have you ever heard of a Venus Cat Trap? No? Well, we have. It’s when something looks too good to be true – and here’s how to avoid it.

What is a Venus Cat Trap?

Venus Cat Trap – it’s when a lovely kitty rolls on its back, exposing its tummy for a rub. You reach down, expecting the calming balm of a cat belly, only for a flurry of claws and teeth to meet you: this is the Venus Cat Trap. And after years of experience as game industry recruiters, we know when something looks too good to be true:

Gamedev Job Hunting: watch out for the Venus Cat Traps - when something looks too good to be true

We know how to read the room and understand the signs. 8Bit can guide you away from those enticing too-good-to-be-true VCT job postings to the fluffy dream jobs sleeping at the end of your bed. We’ve put together a list of red flags to watch out for when gamedev job hunting.

1. Vague Job Descriptions

If the job posting lacks clear information about the role, responsibilities, or requirements, and instead focuses on buzzwords or generic phrases, it might not be legit. Genuine job postings usually provide detailed information about the role, including the required skills and qualifications.

2. Lack of Company Information

Be cautious if there’s little to no information about the company, its values, or past projects. Do a quick search to see if their online presence seems reputable. Legitimate companies usually have a professional website (with a solid career page to make gamedev job hunting easier), social media accounts, and a solid reputation within the industry.

3. Spelling and Grammar Mistakes

If the job posting is riddled with typos, poor grammar, or odd formatting, it could be a sign of a rushed or unprofessional post. Legitimate companies usually take the time to ensure their job postings are error-free and professional.

4. Unverifiable Company Owners

If the company’s founders or key team members don’t have any online presence or cannot be found through a simple Google search, it’s a red flag. Legitimate businesses usually have their leadership team and their professional backgrounds available for public scrutiny.

5. Unresponsive Contacts

If the job posting provides contact information, but your inquiries go unanswered or receive vague, unhelpful responses, it could be a sign of a disreputable opportunity. Legitimate companies usually respond promptly and provide clear, helpful answers to your questions.

6. Pressure Tactics

Be cautious if the job posting or recruiter is pressuring you to provide sensitive information (like bank details) before any formal job offer or contract. Legitimate companies usually follow standard recruitment procedures and do not require sensitive information until after you’ve been offered a job.

7. Payment for Job Placement

If the job posting requires you to pay a fee for training, equipment, or job placement, it’s likely not a genuine opportunity. Reputable companies typically cover training costs and provide necessary equipment.

8. Unrealistic Growth Promises

If a job posting promises rapid promotions or guaranteed advancement without any clear criteria, it may be too good to be true. Career growth in the games industry usually depends on your skills, experience, and performance.

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Best practices for gamedev job hunting

To avoid Venus Cat Traps, always take the time to research a company and its job posting thoroughly. Trust your instincts, and remember that legitimate job opportunities in the industry will be transparent, professional, and backed by verifiable information.

Now that you can spot a Venus Cat Trap, How can you improve your chances of landing a legitimate job in the games industry?

While tweaking your CV, cover letter, or application may not directly help you avoid a sketchy job post, they can definitely help you attract genuine, high-quality job opportunities. Here are some tips to help you strengthen your applications:

1. Keep your CV Clean and Concise

Focus on showcasing your most relevant skills and experience. Tailor your CV for each application by emphasizing the qualities that make you a great fit for the specific role.

2. Craft a Clear and Concise Cover Letter

While it’s true that some recruiters may not read them, it’s still worth taking the time to craft a clear and concise cover letter that highlights your interests, skills and aspirations.

The games industry is an exciting and constantly evolving space, with plenty of opportunities for talented professionals to make a name for themselves. However, with so many job postings and recruiters vying for your attention, it can be challenging to know which opportunities are legitimate and which are not. And remember, to figure out if a company’s a good place to work or collaborate with, you can always research their company culture and how they treat their employees. Check out reviews on sites like Glassdoor or social media to get a feel for the vibe of the place. You can also get a sense of their work quality and commitment to the industry by looking at their portfolio and past projects.

At 8Bit, we’re here to build relationships, and our goal is to get you vibing with your future job at the same level as we do with our pets. So if you have any questions, just reach out to our team and we’ll pounce at the opportunity to help you.