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What actually happened in the interviews?

Developers from Sumo Digital and Square Enix discuss their interview experiences including getting over nerves during interviews.
Do you know what to expect in an interview? Our developers can share a few hints and tips.
I was incredibly nervous before my interview. I find one-on-one interactions to be quite intense, because there’s nobody else to turn and talk to. I did get nervous in the interview. I think everyone does, because it’s very nerve-racking just having to go into a room with two people you’ve never met. And they ask questions about you. But yeah, it’s always very important to try and remain calm through all of that. I tried to compensate for my nerves by just being enthusiastic and engaging, trying not to have any too-long silences in the interview, just to be a personality that they would like to work with, really. Yeah.
You always have to remember that they’re not trying to not let you get the job. They want you to get the job, and they’re trying to encourage the best out of you while you’re in that situation. I think there are some more old-school interview styles that are about putting someone under pressure and seeing how they respond to it. And I knew that the person in the room really just wanted my honest answers, rather than they were trying to trip me up. They wanted me to really show who I was.
So what actually happened in my interview was that it was with two people. And it started off talking about my experience, going over some of the stuff I did in the past, what I was doing with my final-year project at university. So they began with just a kind of chat about who I was and why I was interested in getting into games. And then we kind of proceeded into the more technical questions, just so they could make sure that I wasn’t lying.
Really, that was very similar to me, just an informal chat, a lot of questions just to, I think, gauge if I had the technical skills– so questions about texture maps and sizes and stuff like that to get an idea of that. Yeah. Yeah. I found a lot of it was kind of just having a chat and figuring out what your personality was like. And then afterwards, they took me out for food, which was nice, as well. Good way to impress me. I expected the interview to be a list of questions, which I had to give the right answer to. And if I gave the wrong one, then it was going to go badly.
But it ended up being a lot more conversational than I expected. The interviewer knew that I didn’t have experience in this role before, that I hadn’t been in game development before, and wanted to be very clear with me that things were not going to be smooth. I wasn’t going to have someone training me from day one. I was going to be thrown in at the deep end and wanted me to really be sure that that was something that I could do.
I think by the end of the interview, it became quite clear to me that it was less about me knowing everything and being able to prove that I’d done it before and more about showing who I was as a person, how I was to speak with and interact with, and how I was going to be as a member of that team.
So I was brought in again to speak to some other people. The first time, it was actually with the lead artist I’d be working with. But the second time, it was with art directors and the head of art, who are a much higher-up level. And I think that was really just that second check to see if they felt I knew the skills, if I was good enough for the role, I think. That one felt less like a personality check and more of just if I was qualified. Yeah, I felt good about the second interview. I think I came out of it feeling confident that I might actually get the role. Yeah.
After the interviews, about a week later, I got an email saying that I’ve been offered a position. And then it was just a matter of figuring out when I could get down there and signing contracts and stuff. So yeah. Yeah, I think it was about a week later. I got a phone call asking when I would be available, because I still had another half a year of university left. So that was quite promising. And then another few days later, it was, OK, here you go. We’re going to give you an offer. Yeah. I think mine, I’m not sure if it was a month.
I think it was a month, but I was actually on the last day of my previous game job. And I got a phone call on my last day being like, you’ve get a job. And I was like, that’s really good.
I told myself beforehand that I was going to say yes to things that I didn’t think I could say yes to. The role I was interviewing for at a previous company was on a project that had been through quite a lot of disruption. So the interviewer was really keen to make sure that I understood I wasn’t coming onto a perfect project with a very clear path for progression, but that I was going to face a lot of challenges, because they wanted to really understand if that was something I felt that I could do.
I think because every job that I’ve done had been something I hadn’t done before, I’d learned to acknowledge that being told, here’s a challenge that you’ve not done yet doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. So I’d started to flip my mentality to when I felt stressed, when I felt like I was being presented with something that scared me, to see it as an opportunity, to see it as a chance for growth and development, rather than something that you can’t do yet.

In this video, our developers describe their interviews and how they handled them.

As you watch them describe their interviews, you’ll see that even successful candidates can let their anticipation get the better of them.

Remember your discussion about what interviews comprised — how were they different to what the developers just described?

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