Recruiter Hotseat – Phil Foxton, head of operations at Radical Forge

Phil Foxton, head of operations at Radical Forge, tells us about how the steadily expanding Middlesbrough-based community of creatives puts its people first.

What differentiates your studio from other developers?

We like to focus on how the studio is a community of creatives. Leaders are on the ground with team members, and we are transparent internally with where the studio is headed.

How many staff are you currently looking to take on?

We currently have six open roles, with more coming online shortly. Our long term plan? Keep growing!

What perks are available to working at your studio?

Apart from the usual (health cover, etc) we offer a total of 39 days leave a year, a Friday each month for staff to spend on personal development, and a games service subscription paid for by the studio (Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Plus, Nintendo Switch Online, etc). We also provide a monthly wellbeing allowance (up to £50 on any health or wellbeing purchase), regular fitness/wellbeing/healthy eating workshops, and some really cool merch. There are usually a couple of drops per year of Radical Forge shirts, hoodies and more!

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

Always remember that a hiring manager is busy as hell and has seen a thousand applications by the time they get to yours. Make sure that you’re someone who fits the spec for the role, and tell us why. If your CV doesn’t do this, it’s unlikely you’ll be proceeding further. Be memorable, talk about yourself as a person, your hobbies and interests, etc. (I once hired a first line support engineer in part due to them listing “Championship Ballroom Dancer’ in their hobbies.)

Make your portfolio/body of work as easy to view as possible. If you make the hiring manager go digging around (or worse, you don’t have anything at all), there’s a solid chance they’ll run out of time or patience and have to move onto the next applicant. Try to provide context for what work you did on team projects.

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

This might sound trite, but be yourself! We’re looking for people who can do the job, but the key element of that is ‘people’! If you’re going to be part of the team, we want to get to know you. If you don’t know the answer to something, be honest and consider how you’d solve the problem instead. Oh, and ‘don’t be a dick’ always applies!

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

When interviewing our lead QA, the whole process felt exactly like two mates talking about the video games industry.

… and who was the worst? (No need to name names!)

Not at this company, but I interviewed one person via a video call for a technical role, who obviously had someone at the other side of their monitor googling the answers to our technical questions for them!

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

The interview process is exactly the same, taking into account any time difference. We prefer remote working to relocation so we use an Employer of Record service to ensure that the overseas employees get the same experience as UK based ones.

What processes do you have for onboarding staff remotely?

Wherever possible, we get the new team member into the office for the first week. This helps in team building. If that isn’t possible then we’ll try our hardest to make sure that the team lead or another member of management will visit them. The new team member gets an IT care package, which contains everything they need to get working. That’s a webcam, a really good quality headset, an Xbox controller, etc.

Our IT support tech spends time with them to make sure everything is set up and working. The producer or technical lead then spends time running through how we work, what is expected, times of key meetings etc.

How has the pandemic affected recruitment at your studio?

During the pandemic we pivoted to a ‘remote first’ model which helped us grow dramatically.

What is the culture like at your studio?
Fantastic! Open, honest, accepting and supportive. We have a wide range of life experiences and backgrounds which are all celebrated and supported.

Update on 02/10/2023: In the time between us conducting this interview and it going to print, Phil Foxton has left Radical Forge. The studio is still regularly hiring however, and if you’re interested in working with them, you can find their current job openings over on the Radical Forge careers website.

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.

Check Also

PEGI 20: Ian Rice on 20 years of PEGI ratings and why they remain relevant in an an increasingly digital marketplace

In the midst of celebrating 20 years of the PEGI ratings system at WASD x IGN, Ian Rice, director general of the Games Rating Authority, took some time out to answer our questions