Playing already counts in selection processes.
Employers in various industries are adopting curricula that include video game or production experiences, concluding that the digital hobby can help employees with online collaboration, problem solving and other critical skills in the workplace.
Justin Foehner got a job last year at General Electric Co. using virtual reality technology to train robots that inspect oil platforms, nuclear power plants and other dangerous areas.
“VR came out of the games industry, so we realized that we needed someone with experience in game development,” said Ratnadeep Paul, chief engineer at GE’s research division who hired Foehner.
Justin, 25, a big fan of RPGs and Final Fantasy, studied video game design and development at the Rochester Institute of Technology, but has no regrets about his career choice. “There is a lot of satisfactory work in other fields where there is a high demand,” he said.
Video games are more popular than ever, flourishing as part of a broader acceptance of geek culture and as technology seeps into every corner of everyday life. Once associated with antisocial behavior or immaturity, knowledge of the game can now tip the balance in favor of the candidate, much like the way a football team captain can suggest management potentialsay recruiters.
“Players are the type of person you give instructions to and they just find out,” said Mike Hetisimer, customer service manager at Truno, a technology maker for grocery workers in Lubbock, Texas. “They did this with thousands of games.”
Hetisimer, who likes to play the “The Sims” life simulator, hired three people last year, who in the interview process described themselves as avid players. They were able to quickly become familiar with Truno’s software and help customers use it, he said. “You are looking for trainability.”
In a 2017 survey by Robert Half Technology, 24% of the more than 2,500 information workers said they were attracted to entry-level candidates who cited playing or developing video games as a hobby. The survey, the first recruiting firm to focus on extracurricular activities, aimed to better understand what differentiates technology graduates, said John Reed, executive vice president of Robert Half International.
He was not surprised by the results. “There has been a cultural shift in the past three or four years,” said Reed. “It has been a progression. The night has not changed.
Recruiters understand that video games are more complex than ever. “Games have become much more like work” and many hiring professionals know this because “they go home at night and start up an Xbox,” said Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., from Chicago.
It is not enough for someone to simply list games on a resume, said Cori Bernosky, vice president of human resources at the World at Work trade group. The bonus is “the candidate provides evidence-based and contextual stories that can demonstrate why their gaming experience is valuable,” said Bernosky.
Aylmer Wang, a dedicated “Hearthstone” player, noted in his resume that he founded an online community for fans of the digital card game. The Montreal native, 24, also described organizing video game competitions around his city and writing about esports.
While interviewers’ reactions varied from skepticism to fascination, everyone asked about the experience, said Wang, who studies law at the University of British Columbia. “I would always enjoy the same skills – leadership, entrepreneurship, dedication and organization,” he said.
That was worth it. Wang will join the international law firm Bennett Jones LLP this summer, the Canadian equivalent of a first associate position.
: The Wall Street Journal.