CEO and co-founder Mark Simmons on how to get a job at the Portsmouth-based studio

Recruiter Hot Seat: Robocraft developer Freejam

Name: Mark Simmons
Title: CEO, Game Director and Co-Founder
Company: Freejam
Location: Portsmouth, England
Hiring: 2D/GUI/Graphic Artist, Games Programmer, Games Server Programmer, Level Designer & Environment Artist
Where to apply:

What differentiates your studio from other developers?
At Freejam we have a combination of attitude and experience that sets us apart. We’re true believers of the indie ideal – independent, agile, creative – always testing, innovating, learning and improving. We actively encourage our staff to share their ideas – we want to hear them all, and test them as soon as possible. We have a huge number of ideas to explore; we always want more ideas and now we need more people to help us with them.

How many staff are you looking to take on?
We are looking for a number of people across most of the development and publishing disciplines at present. Currently we have some truly great opportunities available in game and server programming, level design and 2D/GUI artistry.

What perks are available to working at your studio?
On a day-to-day basis, new recruits will get to work alongside – and learn from – our proven team who are all top of their fields. Though they’ll also join us in shaping the evolution of Robocraft and the company.
In terms of employment perks we offer competitive salaries as well as extensive benefits including an excellent holiday package, flexi-time, subsidised gym memberships and discount shopping at Gunwharf Quays. Our office is located at a stunning harbour with awesome views across the Solent.

What should aspiring devs do with their CV to get an interview?
Keep the CV clean and simple, clearly listing all relevant skills and experience. Where possible, make sure your passion for gaming shows in your CV. Include links to your portfolio and previous projects, where applicable, in your cover letter or email.

Who is the best interviewee you have ever had and how did they impress you?
Most recently, we interviewed a Portsmouth University graduate from Hungary. He aced the interview, really got ‘us’, and knew the game and his subject matter inside out. Then he aced internship, so we hired him full-time.

And who was the worst?
It is difficult to say, we’ve had a lot of talented people apply to join us, and we tend to remember the really good ones – because we hire them. We tend not to remember the ones that hadn’t researched our game or company, or didn’t give much thought to how they could help us with the challenges and opportunities we face.

What advice would you give for a successful interview at your studio?
Research Freejam and Robocraft, what we’re about and what the media and community are saying about us – try and get a good feel for us as an indie studio with nearly two years of live service, a large and active community and growth ambitions.

Research the role, what’s likely to be expected and how you will own and evolve it. Bring some ideas on how you can help us continue our success – maybe we’ll have thought of them; maybe we haven’t and they are super cool ideas. There’s no such thing as a bad idea, so we appreciate candidates who have given some thought to our situation.

Bring examples of your previous work – show-reel, portfolio, sketchbooks, assets you’ve created or directed, demos or code samples – relevant to the role and your experience and skills.

How has your recruitment needs change at your studio?
In the early days, the five founders did everything. Some tasks were second nature to us; some we had to crash course to understand, and others we had to learn and deliver on the fly. As we learn more and more about developing and publishing live games services, we increasingly need to hire new experts across all areas, and new raw talent to support those experts and become the veterans of the future.

We need more of the core development skills: art, design, programming, QA and new skills too, like analytics and publishing. And we need people that bring new ideas to the table; who can be effective in a creative, agile and fast-moving collaborative environment.

Why should developers join you when indie and self-publishing have become so much more accessible?
Well, that’s how we started, and we’re still there, perhaps with a little more scale. We’re still a self-publishing indie, but because of the nature of games-as-a-service, we have much more to do for our community and to realise the potential of the game and our ideas. So we need to scale-up while maintaining our indie attitude. As well as joining a creative, flexible and dedicated team, there’s the challenge, learning and rewards of working on a veteran project, while helping us innovate and implement new ideas and technology to grow Robocraft

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