De-risking remote hiring in video gaming

De-risking remote hiring in video gaming
Published: 2 April 2020

While the COVID-19 outbreak is substantially impacting all sectors, there are industries that are experiencing strong growth and having to adjust their hiring practices. For other sectors, hiring isn’t the top priority, but their approach is also adapting to the remote work context.

With people entering lockdown globally, the video gaming sector has been on the rise. According to gamesindustry.biz, which analysed 50 European, Middle Eastern, African and Asian countries, there were 4.3 million games sold during the week of 16th of March; this represents a 63% increase from the previous week. Key European markets like the UK, France and Germany increased their digital downloads by 140% to 180% for the same period.

In video gaming, when it comes to selecting and bringing on board new leadership talent, meeting your candidates face-to-face is considered crucial and often rightly so. Having a strong personal style, ability to innovate and work well in a team are all essential skills for most of the roles in the industry. It could be challenging to gauge those skills via phone or VC. In the current circumstances, some of our clients understandably expressed concerns over making hiring decisions without physically meeting their chosen candidate. Having supported clients with remote international appointments in the past, I wanted to share few tips on what a business can do to de-risk remote hiring:

Ensure everyone is aligned

Occasionally at the start of the recruitment process, companies allow themselves to have a broader scope for a hire and adjust their expectations as they progress with the interviews. With hiring remotely, it is crucial that everyone involved in the hire is fully aligned on the responsibilities of the role, the remit and the key skills a successful candidate will require to succeed. Having alignment and clarity will help to focus the evaluation against the agreed criteria.

Involve stakeholders/team members in the interview process

Ask one or more of your team members or a peer to have an informal conversation with your preferred candidates. Removing some of the interview pressure will allow candidates to open up and will give a glance of how they will conduct themselves on day-to-day basis. This could provide some good insight into a candidate’s style and help determine potential cultural fit.

Consider psychometric assessment 

Psychometric assessment is a great tool when it comes to getting more insight into a person’s soft skills, their motivations and areas of strengths. Interestingly, it might also help to remove some of the emotion and unconscious bias that could creep in following the face-to-face meeting. It will help to make a hiring decision more fact based.

Don’t underestimate reference checks

Reference checks are often underrated and viewed as just part of HR process. It is, however, a valuable way to get more insight about your candidate, the way they operate, interact and manage teams.  Do take time to talk to previous managers, colleagues and peers of your shortlist candidates. By asking the right questions you will be able to collect a lot of valuable information that will help you understand your future hire.

Ask your preferred candidate to prepare a presentation/do a case study

If that is not part of your recruitment process yet, consider asking shortlisted candidates to prepare and present a business plan or case study that could be done via video conference or recorded. This is a great way to see a candidate ’in action’ and in the remote context will help to further gauge the candidate’s style as well as motivation.

When it comes to hiring your future leaders, it is hard to underestimate the value of the face-to-face meeting, however as our working practices evolve and the world becomes more connected, the face time will inevitably be reduced. The coronavirus pandemic presents an unexpected opportunity to try and test new ways.  By embracing the challenge, those hiring and interviewing, will prepare themselves well for the future.

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