When people find out I run a videogame media company, it never takes them long to ask: "How do I get a job playing games all day?" Of course, this question really means "please hire me," because as the president and publisher of The Escapist, it's my responsibility to recruit and hire new staff.
Normally, I dodge this question by joking about the dangers of carpal tunnel syndrome. But we've just finished celebrating Labor Day, the worker's holiday, so what better time to explain how to get the privilege of laboring here? Thus, if you've ever wondered what it takes to get a job at a place like The Escapist, read on.
The first thing to know is that we get a lot of candidates for every job opening. Our recent job posting for a new games editor received over 110 resumes in the first 24 hours. Of those resumes, perhaps 20% will survive the first wave of screening. From there, half will get telephone interviews. Fewer than five will get face-to-face interviews. And one person will get hired. My alma mater, Harvard Law School, has a higher acceptance rate than we do.
Why do we get so many candidates? Well, one recent candidate had heard all sorts of ridiculous things about working here. He heard we had flexible work hours and 100% employer paid health care. He expected that he'd play games during the workday, and that our mandatory team-building exercises were actually just giant nerf gun battles. He seemed to think we were some sort of utopian gamer commune where everyone was working, playing and partying together. He'd even heard that our dress code only had one rule: "Wear pants."
And that's silly, of course. Our dress code only requires that men wear pants.
In any event, like every game company, we have a lot of people applying for a very small number of jobs, and we have to winnow the numbers down. We start the way every company does: We review resumes for relevant work experience, academic excellence, sample work product, recommendations, and we interview to assess professional attitude and communication skills.
But The Escapist aims to celebrate the gaming lifestyle. That's what we write about, that's what we publish and that's what we hire for. So we don't just look for competent people. We look for competent people who get gamer culture. Non-gamers at The Escapist are like non-smokers at Phillip Morris: They'd better be willing to inhale a lot of secondhand game.