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  • Applying for Your First Game Industry Job

    - Samuel Crowe

  • Feature!Applying to a Company

    Once you have decided on a career path in game industry and researched how you fit in, you should make considerations about what companies can offer you. Before applying to any position, you should consider:

    • Does this company make the type of games you want to make?
    • Is this company in an area that you would like to live in?
    • Is this a party house, sweatshop, or professional company?
    • Can I use this company as a stepping stone to get into the company I really want?
    • Will the experience I gain here carry over to another company?
    • Is this company going to work me 80 hours a week and only pay me for 40 hours?
    • Are the Leads and Directors mature and experienced? Or are they very young and have little to no experience as leaders?


    There are a lot of recruiters out there—some are good, and some are so bad that they could possibly ruin any chance you have at getting hired. I love and hate them.

    Recruiters get their money when they make a placement or they get a percentage of your yearly salary. The percentage ranges between 20-40 percent. It is based on the difficulty of the position to fill. So if they place an 80K person, the company pays the recruiter $16K-$32K. So in the first year they are paying maximum $112K plus relocation. Now the employee makes what the position pays and is not out the money unless the candidate has competition that doesn't have the recruiter fee (80K versus 112K+).

    I mentioned that a recruiter can ruin your chances at finding a job. This can happen if the recruiter is saturating your name in the market. This keeps you from applying on your own to the same company. Some recruiters have contracts with companies and if you are hired by that company on your own account, after the recruiter already submitted you, the company will have to pay a fee. So, if a company doesn’t hire you this month, but next month they have an opening for you, the only way you can really be hired there is through that recruiter. And for most instances, a company will not pay a high fee for an entry level employee.

    There are good recruiters out there, and they will be honest with you. They will tell you that it’s hard to place someone right out of school. I’ve had recruiters bluntly tell me that I need to ask for money, because the more money I make, the more money the recruiter makes. Working with recruiters takes a great deal of patients. These are very busy people and they can’t call you everyday. For the most part, they set you up on a schedule and assign you to a selected day of the week for contact, this contact maybe through email, or by the phone. Yes, most recruiters have 1-800 numbers and you can call them if you are curious or just wanting an update.

    Tip: If a recruiter asks for a fee, it’s a scam!

    For entry level individuals looking to break into the industry, it is best not to use a recruiter—it just makes their salary lower.

    Personal Note: As an entry level artist, you can expect to be paid at a range of $30-$45k a year. That may seem like a lot compared to what you’re making now. But when you factor in all the costs, you’ll find that you’re barely scraping by.

    A recruiter will have a hard time trying to place you, mainly because you have no industry experience and your salary will not pay much on the recruiter’s end. There is always an exception—some people who have unbelievable skills can make use of recruiters, mainly because they can offer a large amount of talent that companies are willing to invest in, even if they don’t have experience.

    For the most part, recruiters are professional people and they are just like you, they have to make an income. Try to find an experienced recruiter who has a history of placing people in companies. This usually means the recruiter has “contacts” in the company. Some recruiters do care about placing you in a good company, some don’t. Some recruiters will educate you on what to put in your resume and portfolio… Some don’t. If you do decide to talk with a recruiter, don’t be afraid to ask these questions. They have to answer them and tell you the truth. If possible, get this through email so you can have a copy to reflect on.


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