It’s a common question that we get a lot at shows and from candidates themselves… “What is the deal with the test? Why do you test?” Or “Hey, I’m a senior – why should I have to test?” Well, here are a few reasons why Insomniac tests and what we hope to get from the test itself. Other companies certainly have their own reasons, but here are a few of ours. As I’m sure you have noticed, video games are a VERY collaborative process. When you submit a reel or portfolio, the work represented could come from multiple sources. There could be four or five artists working on one level together. There could be a designer, a scripter, a systems designer and a creative director all in one small section of the game. So how do we know what you did? How can you show your amazing skills to us – if there are so many cooks in the kitchen (or so they say)? One of the reasons we test is to see what YOU can do. Not what your neighbor did (or for your benefit) did not do, and to see how well you can take direction, given a set of instructions. Do you need a lot of direction from a lead, so we have to give you too many hints or info? Or, can you fly on your own? Maybe the position is too senior for you? These are all things that we look at; not to mention the time frame. We give you a week or two to work on our tests- depending upon the discipline. One thing we learn is if can you budget your time and meet deadlines. Now that I’ve told you all our secrets, I’ll let you in on another one. We also test so that everyone has the same experience in the interview process. What does that mean? It means that everyone is on a level playing field. You got the same chance, the same test, and the same way to prove yourself as your fellow candidates. No one is getting better treatment because their last game was a Metacritic darling while you were just happy that Metacritic decided to ignore your company’s last effort. Again, it all goes back to you proving what YOU can do. What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses – because we all have a bit of both. Our goal is to do our best to level the playing field and to make sure that we get the best candidate for our team regardless of their last game, last studio or how many years’ experience they have!
So you have applied, and you got this test from us, and you see that you have two weeks to work on the test. Great! Now what? You already have a full time job, you are trying to change studios, and you just got this from us – trust me, we know – it’s stressful and it’s time consuming. It takes a lot of energy and thought and creative powers to work on these tests and we really appreciate everything that goes into our tests from you. We know that this may mean longer nights, or a Saturday or Sunday spent working on this project, but for us it’s the person that we are going to be working with for the next however many years! Interviewing is a time consuming process for us as well. Hiring managers have to look at resumes, send tests and then review tests, have phone screens, have on site interviews, and then work with their teams to sort out if the candidate is right for the spot… multiple times for just one position. It takes a lot of time and often resources to hire someone; but our thought is that we’d rather make sure we have the right person in the right spot than make the wrong hire. That does not mean that we bat a 1000 all the time, and that is why we have our 30/60/90 review period, but we take the time to really invest in the process and hope you will too!. Thanks and until next time!