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The Game Production Handbook, 2nd Edition by Heather Maxwell Chandler

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HIRING AND RETAINING
TALENT
In This Chapter
• Hiring Talent
• Retaining Talent
• Training
6.1 I
NTRODUCTION
H
aving the right mix of talent and personalities who are passionate about
games goes a long way toward making the game a success. A group of
people may work together on a single game for four years or more, and
if they don’t get along or complement each other’s talents, the game’s quality
and chances of success will diminish because more time will be spent managing
personalities than making the game. For instance, the producer or lead should
not spend an excessive amount of time with a team member with a difficult per-
sonality in the hopes that he or she will improve, as this effort takes the produc-
er’s attention away from other critical areas of the game.
As a producer, you may not have hiring or firing privileges, but you gener-
ally will be involved in the interview process and have some influence on who
is hired and added to the team. The hiring process allows you to be selective
about which people eventually become employees. As a producer, you want to
be selective about who is hired, because you will be responsible for dealing with
any personnel issues, such as tardiness, low-quality work, missed deadlines, and
Chapter 6Chapter 6
94 THE GAME PRODUCTION HANDBOOK, 2/E
so on. This chapter presents some general information on hiring, retaining, and
training talent from the producer’s point of view.
6.2 HIRING TALENT
Finding talent can be difficult, especially if you are not located in one of the game
development hubs in California, Washington state, or Texas. However, people with
a talent and passion for making games are more than willing to relocate for the right
opportunity. You have several available resources for finding talent—working with
recruiters, posting job openings on the company website, and recruiting people at
game development conferences and trade shows. Also, keep in mind that the right
person for the job might find you, as there are numerous people interested in mak-
ing games for a living. They may not be experienced enough for some of the more
senior positions, but they might be excellent entry-level talent.
You may have an on-site Human Resources (HR) department who handles
the hiring process, or you may be able to use your publisher’s HR department. In
either case, the HR department is usually the initial point of contact for all poten-
tial candidates and handles the logistics of creating and posting job descriptions,
collecting resumes, coordinating phone interviews, making travel arrangements
for in-person interviews, negotiating salaries, and extending final offers.
The producer is responsible for informing the HR department of the hiring
needs, providing details for the job description, and interviewing prospective
candidates. The producer may also determine who else on the team needs to
interview the candidates.
The interview process begins by looking over submitted resumes and select-
ing a list of prospective candidates for an initial phone interview. The producer
or lead usually conducts this interview and makes a recommendation on whether
this person should be brought in for an on-site interview. If someone is brought
in for an interview, as many people as possible should have the opportunity to
interview him. Ideally, everyone on the team can be involved, but this may not
be possible if there are more than ten people on the team. In larger teams like
these, the main people interfacing with this person on a regular basis should be
involved in the interviewing process.
After the candidate is interviewed, the producer and other people involved
in the process provide feedback on the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.
This information is used to determine whether to extend an employment offer.
Studio management is also involved in the hiring process and likely has final say
on who gets hired, especially when filling senior positions on the team. Studio
management will especially be involved in the case of a large studio with mul-
tiple projects, as they will assume that the candidate will roll on to other projects
as necessary.

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