“World of Warcraft”— an iconic game recognized in homes around the world, a name that resonates beyond the gaming community, a whole world of magical and mystical adventures. Blizzard Entertainment employs the creative geniuses behind WoW, Overwatch and Diablo, some of the top-selling games of all time with some of the strongest fanbases around.
Blizzard has not only created an entire community around their online games, but they’ve built their own world within their campus too. Blizzard HQ is a place where you’re more likely to see a costume than a suit, a world where creative, hard work wins the day, an environment where the feats of engineering rival those in Silicon Valley. This is a team that lives by the passion they have for what they’re doing –– and when you’re building video games from the ground up, not sure how anyone could get bored!
In order to source the most creative, risk-taking minds the world has to offer, Blizzard has to compete with major tech companies for top talent ranging from artists and managers, to engineers and game designers. I sat down with Alice White, Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition at Blizzard, to hear what Blizzard looks for in building their dream teams and how they stay one level ahead of the competition.
RB: Blizzard not only makes really unique games, but also seems to have a really unique culture. What are the three traits you always look for in a candidate to ensure they’re the right fit?
AW: Open, hardworking, and the ability to listen first. Blizzard is an accepting environment where we really embrace our inner geek. In a pocket of Orange County, we are our own unique world. We take casual to a whole new level –– I saw a baby wolf on campus just the other week! If that’s going to freak you out, then Blizzard probably isn’t the right fit.
But just because we’re super casual doesn’t mean it’s not a driven work environment. I wouldn’t describe Blizzard as laid back — we churn out amazing high quality, high volume work. In order to make great creative content, you have to work really hard, and we need people who understand that.
Lastly, I’d say that we look for an ability to listen first and build relationships. Being able to listen first and engage in conversation that allows you to build relationships with teams helps to strengthen our ability to work together and ultimately drives further success.
The Takeaway: Be open, work hard, and remember the value in listening first.
RB: Absolutely, important qualities in any candidate! How do you know when you’ve found that in a candidate?
AW: As a company, we really put a strong focus on our core values, which are laid out and well defined. They’re quite literally carved in a circle around a statue at the front of our campus! One of the first things we look for in a candidate is to see if they share the same values and are as passionate about them as we are. Game play is at our core, and everything else derives from that. We strive to make our experiences as fun for as many people as possible. Being dialed in and authentic to who you are can come from the ability to embrace your inner geek. We design our interview questions to get at each of our core values. We want to find people who can not only do their job, but do it in a way that clicks with our broader team and preserves the strong culture we’ve built here.
The Takeaway: Convey your values and passion.
RB: Blizzard surely has a huge range of candidates applying, so what makes someone stand out to you? Their cover letter or portfolio?
AW: Cover letters began in the days of paper resumes. With the change from paper to digital and the evolution of competition in the tech industry, we’re playing catch up in the recruiting world. The email you send to a recruiter with you resume is one example of a replaced cover letter. Depending on the role you’re applying for, what you’re submitting can look dramatically different from a resume and cover letter –– for example, engineers typically have code sites that host examples of their work and a portfolio link is extremely important for filling a creative role.
At Blizzard, what we’re looking for no matter the role is seeing what you’ve been able to accomplish in your previous work environments. Candidates that have clear markers of past success helps us see how their experience would translate here.
The Takeaway: Cover letters may be dead, but highlighting your experience never will be.
RB: And finally, I have to ask. What’s your biggest piece of career advice for young professionals?
AW: Save up enough money early on in your career that you have enough to cover one month of expense so that you’re not living paycheck to paycheck, so that you have the ability to quit a job you hate. You should never feel like you have to stay in a job where you’re not happy. It doesn’t take as long as you think to find a new job when you’re young and it’s important to get away from a toxic culture before it changes your outlook.
I’d also say, don’t be afraid of risk and don’t underestimate yourself. Early on, if you think you’d be interested in a new career path, hunker down and do the research. Looking at actual jobs or companies rather than just picking a general field or major can paint you a better picture of steps you can take to achieve your goals. There are tools out there that can give you insight into what people actually do. People say “follow your passion” but sometimes that’s the last thing you want to hear because you don’t know what it is! Many people are LOOKING for that passion still, and need something more tangible to hold on to. So get closer to finding yours sooner by seeking out a job where you could see yourself thriving.
The Takeaway: Take tangible steps to build your dream job.
Working in a relaxed environment that values individuality means having the ability to be open and accepting. Though that welcoming nature doesn’t negate the importance of hard work, your dedication to your craft and the culture can go hand in hand when you value building relationships with your coworkers.
Conveying your passion not only for the position you’re applying, but for the company’s values, shows the recruiter how you’d be the right fit for the role. While cover letters are becoming a thing of the past, remembering to engage with the recruiting team, show some personality as well as metrics behind your experience provides more color to your resume (and portfolio).
And sometimes fulfillment in a job can come from the tenacity to seek it out, and make it happen for yourself.
Rachel is Chief People Officer at Jobvite, a.k.a., head honcho of finding and keeping the geniuses who work there. As Jobvite’s Chief People Officer, Rachel brings with her a wealth of HR experience—particularly in the tech industry—with a focus on change leadership and talent management. In her free time, she is all about anything outdoors that burns calories, including road riding, mountain biking, snowboarding, and backpacking.