Four Best Practices for Finding and Hiring Your Next Game Artist or Designer

April 21, 2020

Calling all gamers! The gaming industry is still red hot, with no sign of slowing down. Right now, nearly every studio has job openings, and the competition for the top talent remains fierce. While engineering roles dominate the market, artists and designers are a close second, and these talented people might be even tougher to find. Selecting the right Artist or Designer for your studio can be a challenge, and it may be tempting to “settle.” Don’t do it! Compromising talent to meet those approaching target release dates is never a good decision for the long run. After all, these are the people that make your characters, environments, and missions stand out against the competition.


Finding the right fit is always worth the wait and the worry. Need help to become more efficient in your game recruiting process? We’ve listed our four best practices to select the right Artist or Designer for your studio.


1. Identify Target Companies and Games that Align with the Aesthetic You’re Seeking in your next Artist or Designer

Keep in mind that several studios may be working on the same game at the same time. By targeting the games themselves (versus a specific skill or job title), you increase your talent pool by identifying all parties that contributed to the game, rather than potentially limiting yourself to just one studio. By doing this, you can also identify the outsourcing studios who contributed to the project. These outsourced studios are a great place to seek out emerging talent.


Often, artists and designers move studios once their projects are completed; therefore, the artists you may be seeking may not be at the same studio anymore. Using gaming credits to identify your top candidates may help in finding the sort of designer you are looking for. MobyGames is a helpful site to see artist and designer game credits.

Best Practice 3: test their skills, but be specific. Get the rest of @IQTalent’s best practices for finding and #hiring your next #gamedesigner:Click to Tweet

2. Pay Attention to the Portfolio, but Keep an Open Mind

You should consider portfolios that are just on the verge of what you’re looking for, even if it’s not the exact fit. Some of the best artists may not disclose all their work publicly. Their entire portfolio may not be visible due to non-disclosure agreements with current or previous studios, or they may not have updated their work recently if they are not actively looking. Ask in the screening call if their portfolio is complete and up-to-date.


3. Test Their Skills, but Be Specific

Clear instructions are crucial at this stage! Art or Design Tests should not make the candidates “guess” what the studio is looking for. While you absolutely want candidates to show their creativity, without giving the candidates clear direction, you may not see the results you hoped for and end up passing on your ideal candidate. Give candidates as much information, direction, detail, and reference materials as possible so they can put their best art and design skills forward.


Create a clear timeline for this design test. It's vital to set expectations with candidates on an appropriate timeline as to when the test should be completed and how long the test should take them. While it's important to set the expectations, remember that these candidates may be working full-time jobs in an industry that is known for its "crunch culture," and/or they may have other Art/Design tests they are taking for other studios. Gather feedback from your candidates regarding a schedule that is reasonable for them and check in with them every couple of days to keep them engaged.

Finding the right fit is always worth the wait and the worry. Need help to become more efficient in your #gamerecruiting process? Take a peek at @IQTalent’s latest article.Click to Tweet

4. Don't Forget about Culture!

Whether your studio is small or large, it's important that your candidate identifies with your company culture. Consider the studio team’s interactions and overall vibe with one another. The way these employees work together is what drives creativity and is the ultimate power wheel for your game. Finding a culture fit is crucial. When assessing if a talented candidate is also a good culture fit, include these tips during the interview process as well:


  • Give the candidate a tour of the studio and continue introductions! During these introductions, you will get a good idea if the candidate really vibes your culture by their initial reactions and excitement during the tour.
  • Make it interactive. Let the candidate play some of the studio’s games or allow him to demo a new game if available.

Creating a game plan and a process utilizing these best practices will help you find and select your next game designer more effectively. It’s not easy to find the right person, much less get them to make a change and join your team, but having a system can make it more efficient. If you’re still not getting the results you need, we can help. We have a whole department dedicated to finding the best artists and designers available. Our pipeline is full, and we’ve built solid relationships with top talent who are always looking for great new and creative opportunities.

The recruiting you need. When you need it. Contact IQTalent Partners today