We all make mistakes when applying for jobs. I myself have committed the common sin of not updating the job title or company on a covering letter in the panic of missing a closing date for a hotly contested vacancy.
The trick is, of course, to learn from these mistakes – not only from your own, but also from other people’s. Which is why we’ve been asking developers about the worst job applications they’ve ever received.
Back in 2014, we learned that threatening the interviewer with your mafia connections, copying other people’s work and passing off as your own, and openly admitting that you’re only applying to one studio because you’ve been told to are not the best ways to impress your potential employers.
We’ll be looking at interview and CV tips later in the month – if you have any advice email firstname.lastname@example.org – but in the meantime, here’s more advice from across the games development community about what not to do when applying for a job.
Pay attention to detail
Sam Watts, Tammeka Games (@vr_sam)
Had a guy apply for QA and his CV said he had AQ experience. Attention to detail fail.
East Midlands Indies (@EastMidsIndies)
We’ve seen covering letters where they don't change the company name, "I'd love to work at <another company>". So go work there then!
David Delve, Sega (@DavidDelve)
I had one chap put the wrong company – Sony instead of SEGA – in his cover letter. Could tell it was a template.
Colin Stewart, environment artist (@Fallinstep)
One guy accidentally sent a cv he'd typed up for a gardening job. He had mad skills with gardening shears.
Ben Royce, Unity (@Dactz1)
I once had an analyst CV that had the job title cut off at an unfortunate point
It’s all about presentation
Louisa Gallie, Hunted Cow Studios (@LouisaGallie)
I was given a stunning art portfolio, but it consisted entirely of doodles (and random notes) on A4 printer paper and notebook pages. My favourite part was where the applicant had designed a new Scottish logo and miss-spelled "Scottish."
Stewart Gilray (@stewartgilray)
An artist’s CV was so "designed" it was unreadable. He'd also forgot to put contact info on it.
Know your stuff
Radu Oprisan, Codeline Software (@devmediator)
I’ve known people that applied for a job as a front-end developer while not being able to understand concepts like typing a password.
Brian Hicks, Bohemia Interactive (@Hicks_206)
Once had an interview that handled every question with five minutes of talking without actually answering the question.
Matthew Holland, freelance game designer (@QuixoticEvil)
Saw a new graduate with good CV (jams, etc) but every answer was 'don't know, haven't worked yet'. Know your strengths!
Know your audience
Lorraine Starr, Yippee Entertainment (@lorrainestarr)
I received an application from someone I worked with previously, and there wasn't one grain of truth on the form.
Andy Touch, Unity (@andytouch)
If its an interview, and you don't know the answer to a tech question; don't bullshit an answer. The interviewer will know!
Dan Kenny, Eyesodic Games (@Dansodic)
Email: ”I’ve a game idea worth a lot of money. If you hire me I'll make it and give 10% profit when it's big”. These are more common than you'd like.
Marc Diamond, Weegem (@MarcD_Weegem)
"Hey M8. Here you're looking for a technical artist 4 ur game. Am interisted." Actual quote. And when I said, "No thanks," they replied, "Whatever". Nice kid.
Dan Thomas, Moov 2 (@DannyT)
One applicant insisted on giving a "homie handshake" when meeting directors. #cringe
James Parker, Ground Shatter (@GamesWriting)
Once had an interviewee saunter in fifty minutes late. Casually told us it's because he'd been "with his girlfriend”.
Peter Broughton, New Life Recruitment (@PJ_Broughton)
Think about the pics on your CV. Ladies – no tops that resemble underwear. Also, I had a guy dressed as Jesus in his pic. Just no.
Chris Mielke, Boss Key Productions (@MilkyFingers)
Asked one interviewee "Tell us one thing about yourself we don't know." Response: "I'm a terrorist." Interview over.
Matt Phillips, Deep Silver Dambusters (@Big_Evil_Corp)
A response to a "Sorry, you don't meet the minimum requirements" email that started "Now, you listen here..."
Don’t panic – things won’t always go to plan
Sophie Densham, UKIE (@UkieSophie)
I once punched myself mid-interview and bled for 10 minutes. Next interview, I banged my head on a nearby chair. That was for UKIE.
Will Freeman, former Develop editor (@spadgy_OTA)
My suit button fired off at the interviewer and then my phone rang (it being my mum). Still got the job.