Recruiter Hotseat – Jack Jewell-Mills, head of talent acquisition at Sumo Group

Jack Jewell-Mills is group head of talent acquisition at Sumo Group, helping to ensure the family of 18 studios continues making great games by hiring great talent.

What differentiates your studio from other developers?

Sumo Group really does have a home for everyone, with 16 award-winning Sumo Digital studios, a fantastic publisher in Secret Mode, and another amazing studio in Auroch Digital. We’re fortunate to work with all major platform providers and many of the world’s leading own-IP developers on AAA titles like Forza, Sackboy and Call of Duty as a trusted partner, whilst also developing our own exciting projects.

How many people are you currently looking to take on?

We’re always on the lookout for talented games industry folks and those trying to break into the industry. We currently have over 140 open vacancies across our UK studios, with a plan for sustainable and significant growth continuing across 2023. These positions cover art, code, production, design, QA, audio and so much more!

What perks and benefits are available to Sumo people?

Sumo offers fantastic benefits such as an Employee Assistance Programme, Mental Health First Aiders, annual learning days, a social learning portal, charity giving, yoga, life drawing, free fruit and drinks among many others. Plus, our Sumo Developer Conference (SDC), which we launched in June 2022.

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

For CVs, don’t feel the need to be too wordy – cover your experience in chronological order with your current position first, and cover what you were responsible for, the impact that you had and your key skills. For a portfolio, you want to include the pieces of work which demonstrate your best work. Don’t feel like you need to include everything you’ve worked on in your university course or personal experience. If your portfolio is mainly university coursework, try your best to make it stand out from the crowd. Taking part in game jams is a great way to do this!

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

Don’t be nervous! Our hiring managers are fantastic, and we have a passion for helping our people across the business learn and develop. The interview is an opportunity for you to be your genuine self, demonstrate your relevant experience and tell us a bit about you and your passions and interests.

Having recruited internationally, what is the process like?

We try to make our international recruitment process just as welcoming and smooth as our localised processes. You will work with one of our talent partners in the UK to outlearn more about the studio you’re interested in and discuss the opportunities that are available.

We will get to understand your requirements around relocation, family support and visa sponsorship needs to make sure we can offer everything required for your process and hiring to be stress free.

What processes do you have for onboarding Sumo people remotely?

Like many other companies, it was very much a first to have people working from home at that scale at the start of the covid pandemic, but our HR and IT teams did an excellent job at getting everyone set up to do their work from home. In 2020 we onboarded just under 200 new starters from home, and we’ve continued that in 2021 and now 2022. We quickly changed our interview process to online and moved processes including right to work checks via video calls too. The biggest challenge was how to integrate people into their different teams, and through online socials and regular stand-ups across each different team, we have managed to achieve this.

Though some of our studios do work on an in studio or hybrid basis, we still have a lot of roles available to be worked remotely from within the UK.

How has the pandemic affected recruitment at your studio?

Like most businesses, the pandemic has given our team at Sumo the challenge of interviewing remotely and still allowing our candidates to get to know our people, studios and projects so they can make the best decision for them. We have designed our interview processes to be nearly 100% fully remote in all situations which allows us to welcome a wide range of candidates to our studio opportunities.

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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