“d3t is one of the most supportive and people-focused places I have ever worked” – Aardvark Swift Spotlight: d3t

As a people-focused co-development studio, d3t haven’t slowed down over the last 12 months, growing at an impressive rate without losing the social and supportive aspect of their culture

Sally Samuel, d3t

With a notable back catalogue of globally recognised titles, and a senior management team with decades worth of experience, d3t have gone from strength-to-strength over recent years after a period of steady growth and diversification. Aardvark Swift sat down with Phil Owen, Louise Andrew, and Sally Samuel to discuss recruitment during lockdown, what they look for in candidates, and how their focus on culture sets them apart from their peers.

“I’d only been with the company for about seven weeks when we went into lockdown,” says Sally, talent acquisition manager at d3t. “We’ve been going through a dedicated growth phase, so part of my role was coming onboard and managing that across all departments. That’s all still been going on as normal, even throughout lockdown. We’ve hired about 35 people since last March, so it has been a busy time for us.”

The focus on growth across departments, and the ability to offer more than ever to their clients, is echoed by Phil, head of engineering. “d3t has been around since 2011 and it has steadily developed and grown over that time. We’re now in a position to put a structure in place, with different departments that give us the ability to be specialised. It is really exciting.”

Phil Owen, d3t

This changing dynamic of more departments has resulted in the formation of an art offering, which Louise Andrew leads as head of art. “d3t was an engineering company set up by engineers, so historically there hasn’t been a massive art presence here. Over more recent years, we’re focused on co-development and as a result the art team has been able to grow quite a lot. In the last year, we’ve added 11 new artists, almost doubling the department to 25 people in total.”

The need for sustained growth, that will allow d3t to meet the demands of the many different projects they are currently working on, has been able to continue unimpeded despite the move to remote work. “Sally and the IT team have been unbelievable, beyond just getting us working. The application process, interview process, hiring process, onboarding process, and getting newbies on a project process, is all being handled remotely. It opens the door for more flexible working in the future,” adds Phil.

Growing across the board, and seeing many would-be applicants over that time, has allowed them to consider what makes a candidate really stand out during the application process. “For an artist, it’s all about portfolio. 100 percent of the time. It’s your artwork that is going to speak for itself. We’ve also had three junior artists who’ve started with us over the last year, two of which had been involved in Search for a Star by Grads in Games, being shortlisted as one’s to watch. That stood out to us as well,” says Louise.

Louise Andrew, d3t

“For programming, C++is our bread and butter, it’s definitely what we use the most, so skills in this area and a good maths foundation is obviously essential. A big part of the recruitment process for me is finding not the right person for the role, but the right person for the team. Someone who will contribute to the culture here and get involved,” Phil adds honestly.

As a studio, d3t have a real focus on being people first. “d3t is one of the most supportive and people-focused places I have ever worked. To be within a team that puts people above everything else makes a real difference. We’ve put on alternate social events to replace the things we’d usually be doing in person. We want to make sure we’re connecting with each other and getting people mixing because it’s the incidental conversations in the kitchen or passing in the hallway that you miss.”

You’ll be able to listen to the full conversation with Phil Owen, Louise Andrew, and Sally Samuel in an upcoming episode of the Aardvark Swift Podcast, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, third party apps, and the aswift.com website.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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