Avalanche Studios talent acquisition manager Karin Bogren discusses what being an ‘Avalancher’ means and why you should become one by joining the Just Cause and Mad Max developer

Recruiter Hot Seat: Avalanche Studios

What does your studio offer that others don’t?
In both our studios – New York and Stockholm – we strive to ensure an industry-leading work/life balance. Overtime is an exception, not the norm, and we offer everyone 25 vacation days from their first day of employment. Parental leave is encouraged for both men and women.

Our open-world mindset extends even to our physical space. We don’t believe in confining creative talent within walls, figuratively or literally. The founders still run the company and take part in everything we do, just like they did over a decade ago, and they sit in our open-space office like everyone else.

The fact that we are a privately-held company has its advantages. The stock market doesn’t dictate which games we create – we do. Strategic decisions are not made by some far-removed board and we are not locked into working with one parent company, which means we can choose our publishing partners wisely.

What opportunities and perks are available to employees?
Our benefits are above and beyond industry standards. We offer an eight-hour workday with limited overtime.

In addition, we offer all our employees five weeks of paid vacation, which includes a two-week summer holiday break when the entire company shuts down. We offer 100 per cent company-paid benefits and opportunities for our employees to work in both our studios.

We think it is important to constantly develop our talent by offering clear career paths and development plans. We strongly believe in knowledge-sharing between teams, projects and individuals. We arrange regular workshops where Avalanchers can share information they acquired during a trade show, lecture or trip to a partner company.

What should aspiring devs do with their CV to get to an interview?
They should make sure their CV covers their full expertise, as well as a list of all the technology and programs they have worked with so that we get a clear view of their competencies and previous experience.

In addition to that, we want to know why the candidate wants to join our company and what they can bring to the table; what is unique about their experience, why are they passionate about gaming in general and open-world games in particular? 

Who is the best interviewee you have ever had? 
The best interviews are the ones where you can see that the candidate has a true passion for games and a real interest in joining Avalanche.

If we have to choose between someone who ticks all the boxes in the job description but shows no real excitement for the job, and a candidate with less experience but a genuine interest in our studio and our games, then we go for the latter. Potential and attitude is as important as the technical knowledge.

What advice would you give for a successful interview? 
Be prepared and do your homework; get updated on what is going on in our studio, check out the games we have released and do some research on key people in the organisation.

Once they are at the interview, they should just relax and be themselves. We are a fun bunch of people and try our best to create a relaxed informal atmosphere during the interviews.

What is the international recruitment process like? 
We have a very diverse workforce and welcome talent from all over the world, so we are used to dealing with visas and immigration paperwork. We also support our new hires throughout the relocation process and make sure they are settled in well in their new city. 

It is important to have a structured introduction process, even more so when the employee has moved from another country. Creating a social network when you are new to a country can be challenging but we try our best to facilitate that process. We arrange game nights, have running teams, soccer teams, wine clubs and everything in-between. You are never bored at Avalanche.

Article originally published in July 2016 issue of Develop.

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