How wide are your interviews?

by Rob Galanakis on 20/12/2012

I’ve been a part of  and interviewed at companies where the interview process was not just long but also very wide- people from different teams and departments interview a candidate. (ie, a Microsoft-style interview process)

At my current company, our last two Art hires have had a much more abbreviated hiring process- the Art Manager, myself, and the Art Producer (and the Art Director if needed).

So I’ve been through and a part of interviews at both ends of the complexity spectrum. I’ve been thinking about it recently and I’ll share some thoughts (and I’d also love people’s own opinions and experiences).

  • Only a few people are generally good interviewers. If this doesn’t correspond with your Leads/Directors/Managers, there’s a problem. So I am not sure the depth of the interview varies greatly between the two styles.
  • On the other hand, interview experience is important for more junior members, and if they don’t get experience they’ll not turn into good interviewers.
  • Only a few people are generally responsible for making the decision anyway, and I’ve never actually seen a contentious decision: if one or two people have a thumbs down opinion, it’s enough of a red flag for everyone else. What’s the point of six or twelve people sitting around and pretending to decide?
  • How often are interviews really surprising? You know in the first couple minutes whether you’ll accept someone or not, or whether they’re in the middle (usually meaning you need to find a better candidate).

So given those experiences I’m going to try do the following for the interview process for Tech Artists:

  • See who wants to be part of the interview. Cultivating this skill is vital, but it isn’t for everyone, and people who have no interest shouldn’t waste their time.
  • Expand the interview to include those people- it should definitely extend past the manager/lead level.
  • Be rigorous, and don’t bother hiring anyone that isn’t unanimously liked. When the candidate pool is thin or work is slipping, it’s tempting to take a chance. It’s not worth the risk (in my opinion, of course).

I’m curious how other studios handle it, and what people think of those processes?

*I feel obligated to mention that if your studio is a management-run people-churner, please gripe at your managers and not me for writing this post!

rob.galanakis@gmail.com

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