GDC is a great event for seeing who and what is happening in the game development world. It also provides a platform for finding talent, whether you are looking or not.
Let’s face it – at any event, someone will invariably come up and ask if you are hiring, or want to know what it’s like to work at your company. At GDC, there is the GDC Career Center for directly connecting, but then there’s the sessions, the expo, special events and many other opportunities to connect with potential employees.
With any event that is not directly or solely talent acquisition driven, the key is to providing a way to get the side benefit of talking to potential hires in a very chaotic environment. The key is also in preparation.
Here are a few things you can do to make an event like GDC a pipeline-filling event:
- Create an efficient follow-up process – What happens when someone does give you a resume, or when you meet someone you would like to talk to further? Recognize a good conversation and follow up later. Some people do this instinctively, but most do not. Have a plan for collecting names and numbers and a few keywords so you know what you were thinking at the time and make sure your entire staff knows the process.
- Give your staff a few short questions you want asked of attendees looking for a job (before they blindly take a resume or give them your name) – Is it about the types of games they’ve worked on or their knowledge of your studio or franchise? What few things would make it worth your time to talk to them later?
- Give your staff a response to the question “Are you hiring?” – It could be something like, “We are always hiring.” or “Talk to (person) at the Career Center, or after the show.” Have a consistent response and then see #1 above.
- Set aside time to talk to candidates and network – Always be interviewing even if it’s not an “interview.” Ask them who they know and who might be looking. Catch up with peers and see who they know and who they are working with. Sometimes you find the best people when you are not looking for them.
- Take note of competitors and companies who are hiring and those who are not – It’s no secret that talent can move from game to game or studio to studio. Know your competition and what they are doing and know when it might be a good time to talk to those coming off a project.
- Make sure your brand and culture come through at the show – Find ways to show why someone (especially those who may not be looking for a job) would want to come to work for you. Maybe it’s the speakers you have from your company, or your staff and the events they attend. Maybe it’s matching ugly sweaters (maybe not). These are all ways that talent can start to get a picture of how it might be to work for your company.
Of course, you can have a booth or present at the Career Center, but likely you will be looking for some people who are not actively looking for a job. And some of the best connections happen outside of the structure of the show, or at times when it’s not always convenient.
The key is preparation. Make sure you and your staff are ready and you might find that GDC was fun, informative and the year you found your best (fill in the blank) for your next production.