No matter how many you have been a part of or how many years of experience you have, job interviews are a nerve-wracking experience. So nerve-wracking that, during the recruiting days of the main event, even our staff feels it and has to shake the urge to give you a pat on the back and tell you to ease on the caffeine, while restocking red bull cans three times per hour. Your coping mechanisms are top-notch, dear tribe.
Before an interview, it feels like our biggest fears are throwing a party in our heads, hosted by our terrifying inner critics, and they didn’t even have the decency to invite us. If you also have impostor syndrome, you’re in for an even bigger bash.
But it’s time to stand up, shut that party down, and send them all on their merry ways. To help you prepare for your interviews and feel more confident, we asked our Career Camp recruiters to share their tips.
1) First things first: Research!
Don’t forget to do your research. Every recruiter will expect you to be informed and interested in the company you’re interviewing for. Nickelodeon advises you to “read into the studio’s you are applying for, make sure they are a good fit for you! What games have they produced? Look to see articles about the culture and feel of the working environment… This is super important”. Besides doing thorough research beforehand, Skydance’s tip for you is to “come prepared with questions but also challenge yourself to think up a few organically during the conversation”.
2) Don’t forget to cover all the basics
The devil is in the details, and that’s why Outfit7 advises you to “be on time, check your internet connection, webcam, and microphone, the format of your portfolio, if we maybe need a password to access it - think about details which could make portfolio review go as smooth as possible. We want to focus on your art and keep the process as least stressful as possible.”
3) Go beyond the obvious & shatter your comfort zone
“Speak to as many people as possible, find out as much as you can about what companies look for, put yourself outside of your comfort zone and broaden your horizons. There are so many roles and creative career paths to explore; you might find an exciting opportunity where you least expect it”, says Space Ape Games.
4) Polish your portfolio & resume
Make sure it stands out.
- “Applying for jobs is tough, so making your profile stand out is a great start. Make sure your portfolio shows a variety of work and skills but identifying and homing into the specific skills the job that you are applying for requires. Be yourself and be engaged in the recruitment process”- Nickelodeon
Keep it interesting.
- “Keep your portfolio intriguing and don’t include too many similar images. Try to show the different things you can do that are related to what the recruiters you are approaching are looking for.” Moonactive
- “Tailor your resume/application to the position and company for which you’re applying. if you have a secure portfolio, ensure the password is somewhere clear and obvious” Skydance.
Quality over quantity.
- “Do not put bad art in your portfolio for the sake of volume - it’s better to have less but good images than many, some of which are bad. Showing bad art is a statement that sometimes you will be delivering that too” - Moonactive
Your process & progress matter
- "Your portfolio does not need to be 100% complete because there is no such thing as a finished portfolio. Sometimes, we want to take a look at your works in progress! Details are always welcome in reel breakdowns. The number of hours you worked on a certain shot, the softwares you used, and which part you were in charge of would help us image your skill set and style" - Polygon Pictures
- “Your portfolio website should be easy to navigate and show only your best work. Include work that shows appeal, versatility, solid draftsmanship, originality, and a range of styles and designs. Show all the work from beginning to rendered piece. We like to see how you think and how you overcame certain challenges. The final pieces are great, but there is beauty in the process” - Sony Pictures Animation
5) Be yourself
You probably read this and you’re thinking “really?”, while your mouse quickly approaches the close button, but hear me out. Being yourself simply means muting your fears and insecurities, because it’s hard for a recruiter to get to know you if you are nervous and are only telling what you think they want to hear.
Here’s what Career Camp Recruiters have to say about the importance of being yourself:
- “Please relax. We want you to have a great, informal experience with us. Talk about yourself, why you love what you do, only show us your best work and please show us how you got there. The process of getting to great quality and the creative choices you made is equally as important as a result. Don't worry about what you think we want to see or what you think we want to hear, just be yourself” - Space Ape Games
- “Be you. If someone doesn’t like you for who you are, you will not be happy joining that team. Show us your personality, don't force yourself to be something you are not. Stay true to yourself and your values.” - Outfit 7
- "Try not to overthink or think too much about how to impress recruiters - we want to see the real you and get to know you. We will be transparent about how we work and what kind of people we are looking for, and we encourage you to do the same." - Supercell
- "Don’t be cocky at interviews. The people you’ll be talking to have probably seen a lot of art and/or are excellent artists themselves. Show that you can listen and take direction. Give the recruiters a taste of what working with you day to day will be like." - MoonActive
6) Build Relationships
“We are a small industry and connecting through Career Camp is a fantastic opportunity. You may not get a job right away, but those relationships help when something does open up for you.” - Sony Pictures Animation
7) And, finally...Don’t take it personally!
“Remember that recruiters often are looking for something specific and if they don’t see it in your portfolio it doesn’t mean you aren’t "good enough”, don’t take it personally.” - Moonactive
Good luck and enjoy the THU Career Camp by Lenovo!