Recruiter Hotseat – Andy Driver, talent acquisition manager at XR Games

Andy Driver, talent acquisition manager at XR Games explains what it’s like being in recruitment at the VR studio, as well as what they’re looking for.

What differentiates your studio from other developers?

XR Games develops games solely for virtual reality headsets and platforms, which means everything we do is about developing new and exciting experiences for VR.

Working in VR means working in a brand-new innovative space where technological advancements are being made much more frequently compared to traditional games development.

We’re taking rulesets, concepts, and expected user experience practices that have been developed over decades of traditional game development and re-writing the rulebook for an entirely new way of playing, which is extremely exciting and rewarding for our team.

How many staff are you currently looking to take on?

We have plans to hire around 50-70 staff during this year.

What perks are available to working at your studio?

We offer 25 days of holiday, not including bank holidays or the extra day off for your birthday. You also get access to Currys Techscheme, a private healthcare plan, use of our free breakfast bar, free office snacks and drinks, a free on-site gym, and the opportunity for flexible & remote working.

What should aspiring devs do with their CV to get an interview?

Don’t overthink it and keep it simple. Your CV is just one document which plays a part in your securing a job, alongside many other things like your portfolio, etc. One thing to ensure is that it’s clear and is easy for the reader (me) to find the key information I need for the job you are applying for.

What advice would you give for a successful interview at your studio?

Do your research and try to relax. The secret to a good interview is generally building a good rapport and having a constructive conversation. 9 times out of 10, by the time you get to an interview stage we will be fairly sure that technically you could do the job. The interview is a chance to confirm that knowledge but also to figure out whether this is a right fit for the team or project, that’s both for us and for you.

Who is the best interviewee you have ever had and how did they impress you?

It’s hard to pinpoint just one, but generally the ones who impress are those who have really done their homework on not just us as a company, but also the people they are meeting. Appearing to show an interest and asking questions about the interviewer’s background and previous experiences is a great way to build a strong rapport.

… and who was the worst?

I once interviewed someone on video who was quite clearly watching something else on their second screen. They were clearly only half paying attention, and not even that interested in talking to me. I cut it short after 15 mins!

If you have recruited internationally, what is the process like?

So far we haven’t recruited a huge amount of overseas talent, but when we have the interview process has been pretty much identical to anybody based in the UK.

What processes do you have for onboarding staff remotely?

Onboarding is much the same as interviewing. We try to keep things as identical to UK-based staff as possible. We are fortunate that in 2023 we have an abundance of technology that can help with onboarding and integrating somebody within our team, regardless of where they are based.

How has the pandemic affected recruitment at your studio?

I personally wasn’t here during the height of the pandemic, however considering our headcount has grown 400% since December 2020, I would say it hasn’t had a significantly adverse effect.

What is the culture like at your studio?

Culture is a hard thing to define for any company, but for me ultimately it’s about the people rather than the company. The people who make up XR Games are incredibly passionate about our games, committed to making genuinely fun experiences for our players, and just emanate creativity. Our company culture is focused on providing a platform and workplace for these people to be the very best they can be.

About Vince Pavey

Vince is a writer from the North-East of England who has worked on comics for The Beano and Doctor Who. He likes to play video games and eat good food. Sometimes he does both at the same time, but he probably shouldn’t.

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