Delta Engine Blog

AI, Robotics, multiplatform game development and Strict programming language

Hiring in the EU, Germany, Hannover

Our hiring process for engine developers is not going very smoothly. And not for lack of trying. We did:
  • Put up job ads on every free job site we could find.
  • Build a great jobs page with lots of details and constants updates
  • Participated in the Making Games Talent event in Hamburg, but there we were overshadowed by the big players in Hamburg.
  • Stackoverflow Job Ad (really expensive in Germany, 450 euro, wtf), only got about 200 views in the first week and just a handful of applications, which did not fit very well (not game developer related). Stackoverflow is still a great site, but either job ads do not work well in Germany there or there are not many game developers using the platform or looking for jobs in general.
  • Gamasutra Job Ad (expensive too, 400 euro, not visible much, tons of jobs from big companies overshadow everything), very few applications, but highly focused on game development. I think we are currently considering hiring half of the applicants :D
  • LinkedIn Job Posting (cheap, 130 euro), Job Posting plus Job Discussion boards. Seems to me the free Job Discussion boards had the greatest effect. We got over 30 applications in the first week from all over the world. Skills vary greatly, most of them pretty close to the programming skills we are looking for, but almost not experienced in game development at all. I like LinkedIn the most, it is a bit more work, but this is where you can find talents the easiest and cheapest way.
  • Xing Job Ad (German LinkedIn): Skipped this one as it is another 500 euro for just one ad. Tried the free internship ad, which resulted in zero applications, so I am not convinced. I guess I still have to do this as we had 1 (!) application so far from a German, which did not even do what we were looking for. People probably will start look funny if our office has no more Germans :D
  • JobScout, Job24, Monster: Same here, I skipped this (800 euro minimum, wtf?). All of these are big in Germany, but I would never use them myself so I focused on better targeted and more useful websites first, but we probably have to do this if we cannot find enough talent.
  • Stackoverflow active search (costs 1k for a month, or 500 for a week): Still working on this, will update when I know more.
  • Headhunting myself: Still working on this, already asked some people, but this is frustrating as hell and not really my thing. So instead:
  • Hired headhunters with no success yet ^^ But this is really the last option as I feel kind of stupid for others taking over, but maybe it works out. This is probably by far the most expensive option, but it saves a lot of time and if we get what we are looking for, it should be all worth it.

As a side effect we could fill in all positions for our little game team in a matter of days, which will work on a tower defense starter kit for the Delta Engine. It was exceptionally easy to find talented Concept Artists, 3D Artists (okay, a bit harder, but we really found a great motivated artist everyone immediately fell in love with), and even game designers, level designers and animators were no problem (not that we could afford them right now, but that is what internships are for ^^). Game programmers, yes, that too, but finding talented ones is not as easy and we already have our great Phil, who can program games faster than it takes us to come up with a game name.

Back to the engine programmer search: Even some really good applications we had so far did not work out because of the applicant having no way to actually work here in Germany. Getting a work visa for anyone outside of the EU never worked out: India, Pakistan, Egypt, China, Brasil, Sri Lanka, etc. we have tried to hire a lot of people in the past already.

Luckily there is a new program, the EU Blue Card, which is similar to the US Green Card, just easier since this summer when Germany finally approved it too. I just created a Recruiter Account and the people over there seem really nice and helpful (answering emails very late at night ^^).

Well, we are still early in the process of finding people and we had some really good guys last months apply, but it did not work out with some of them. I guess others are hiring too and engine development is not everyones cup of tea. There are a few more weeks this year and we still have some positions to fill and some money to burn (oops, I should not have said that).

And while we are on the topic of hiring, this video was send to me recently. This is what happens when the StarTrek crew applies for jobs:

Update 2012-12-31: Some results after a month of searching:
  • We received about 80 applications (via email) in December alone. Of those there was less than 5% Germans.
  • About 40% are coming from LinkedIn, 20% from Gamasutra, 15% from Stackoverflow, 1-2% from Xing & other small job sites, the rest applied directly via email (did some SEO and all the job postings obviously helped as well).
  • In addition I contacted MVPs and well respected community people, but obviously most of them already have a job they are happy with, but some answers are still pending.
  • Also went through several thousand Stackoverflow profiles, looked through ~250 in detail (basically spend my last few days on this) and contacted ~20 that would fit the most (this is the limit of people allowed to contact at any one time). Only 8 answered, 1 reject, 6 are not willing to relocate and 2 hire candidantes so far.
  • LinkedIn was by far the easiest and most successful job ad we had and it was one of the cheapest ones. I still believe posting our job at Xing, which costs 3-4 times as much would not have produced similar results. Stackoverflow has by far the most experienced programmers and experts, but there are almost no game developers available, we found only good generalists there, which fit into our compiler position. The most amazing applications came from Gamasutra, but except for 1-2 exceptions all were outside of the EU and pretty much un-hire-able for us (we still tried and are working through the EU blue card with some of them).
  • Overall probably a good month and it really pays of to search for people and be actively engaged, but finding good programmers is incredibly hard in Germany. We also made lots of interesting contacts. There are however almost no .NET developers here and anyone with skills we are actually looking for already has a great job in some other city. I still think hiring external recruiters are not useful for us, Freelancers or outsourcing companies are also not useful as we are doing bleeding edge and research stuff here.
  • We hired about 10 new people in the last 2 months, now it is time to wait and see how it all works out and stick with the best of them :)