While a number of generic questions are almost guaranteed to make an appearance (you can find help with these ones on our blog!), there are also a number of more specialist questions which might crop up in a games designer job interview.
On this page, we’ve listed the top job interview questions for games designer vacancies – and we’ve also included our top tips on how best to answer these.
*Don’t forget, if you are looking for a new games designer job, you can find a range of great vacancies on our jobs board today.*
Q: What Games Are You Currently Playing?
Studios and development houses ask this question because they want to get an idea of who you are as an individual and what you get up to in your spare time. Obviously, if you’re applying for a games designer job, you should have a passion for the gaming industry and you should be playing games in your spare time – so really, this question shouldn’t be too tricky to answer. If you want to win brownie points, you could always name one of the company’s own games. This will demonstrate to them that you’ve done your research (eg. you know which games they’ve produced) and will show them that you’ve already put time and effort into researching their titles.
With this question, it probably goes without saying, but it’s important to be honest. There’s a strong possibility that your interviewer will be pretty familiar with the game you name so they could end up questioning you in some detail – so it’s important to actually have a good understanding of the game itself and don’t just pick one at random!
Q: What Attracted You To Our Studio/Company?
With this question, the interviewer is basically asking you how much you know about their company/studio and why you applied for the role. When answering this question, it’s important to show off your knowledge and to actually name some solid, valid reasons as to why you were attracted to the company. With this one, it’s normally a good idea to talk about things such as reputation, the success of previous games, their working style or their brand values, rather than things which could be viewed as materialistic and selfish eg. the salary on offer or the fact they finish at 4pm every Friday.
When answering this question, it’s really going to show if you haven’t done your research – so be sure to read up on all the information on their website and LinkedIn profile as well as any recent press releases or news stories which mention the company.
Q: What’s Your Favourite Game Of All Time & Why?
A hiring manager would ask a question like this to try and get an insight into who you are as a designer and what kinds of games you appreciate and why. Obviously there’s no ‘right’ answer for this kind of question because it all comes down to personal experience – however it’s important to try and round your answer out and incorporate technical knowledge and reasoning into your answer. For example, rather than saying Game A is your favourite because it’s fun to play, you should say that Game A is your favourite because you appreciate the level of detail incorporated into each piece of content and you’re a fan of the different texturing and lighting techniques used.
By incorporating technical terms into your answer, you’re showing off your knowledge and expertise and showing the hiring manager that you can appreciate other titles from a technical perspective.
Q: What Would You Bring To Our Existing Team?
Hiring managers ask this question because they want to see how well you know yourself as a candidate – and what kind of skills and personality traits you can bring to the team. When preparing this answer, it’s always a good idea to re-read the job ad/spec and see what kind of words they’ve used – and then try and combine these into your answer. For example, if they’ve said they’re looking for a strong team player, you could say that you’d bring a great team spirit and a good work ethic to the team.
When preparing this answer, it can also be worthwhile to get in touch with former colleagues to see how they would describe you and what they thought you brought to your previous team/s – because they might come up with something you’d have never considered saying. It’s also worth considering the company’s brand values and considering what kind of personality traits their current employees have within their games design section.
Q: How Do You Feel About Our Current Games & How Would You Improve Them?
A question about a development house’s previous titles is always going to be a tricky one – because you don’t want to come across as too gushing – but you also don’t want to go too over the top with the criticism either. The hiring manager is asking you how you feel about their current games – so it’s definitely a good idea to be honest – and they’re also asking how you’d improve them so you definitely need to cite at least a couple of technical improvements you might make. As we just said, with this question they’re looking for technical improvements – so you don’t need to be concerned about insulting them.
When considering improvements, think about where your skills lie as a designer – and what improvements you could personally make with your experience. For example, you could say that you think the texturing or props could be improved on Game A – and you’d personally do this by using technique B, C and D. This not only shows off your knowledge but also proves to a hiring manager that you could be a valuable asset to their next title if they were to hire you.
Q: Tell Me About The Most Challenging Game You’ve Worked On…
With a question like this, the hiring manager obviously wants to hear about games you’ve worked on in the past where challenges have cropped up which you’ve had to overcome. When trying to prepare an answer like this, think about all of the games you’ve worked on in the past – and which you learnt the most from. With a question like this, it’s always nice to throw an AAA game in there but if you honestly found producing your first game at uni the most challenging, say that instead. Why? Because this is the truth and you’ll be able to talk much more coherently about it – and besides, the hiring manager will already know you’ve worked on an AAA title because it should be on your CV and in your cover letter.
With this answer, as we mentioned before, it’s a good idea to talk about what the challenges were, how you overcame them – and how this experience has affected the rest of your career eg. you’re now more conscious of the effect technique A can have on a level if it’s not finished properly. This shows that you’ve learnt from your mistakes and experiences and that the challenges you encountered with that game have made you into a better games designer.
Q: What Do You Do To Improve Your Knowledge Outside Of Work?
With this type of question, the hiring manager is really looking to see how dedicated you are to the gaming industry and to becoming the best games designer you can be. With this answer, simply saying something like you read up on the latest news on sites like gamesindustry.biz or MCV or you regularly contribute to forums such as gamedev.net can be enough to show that you don’t just forget about work as soon as you get home.
If your previous job consisted of working 60 hour weeks and you didn’t really have time to do much outside of work, just be honest – the worst thing you can do is lie and then be caught out when a hiring manager starts to question you in more detail. Other great answers for this sort of question might be making puzzles, creating a treatment for your own game or even just playing and studying games which are similar to the type of games you’d like to produce.