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How to hire esports staff in 2018

This is the definitive guide to hiring esports staff in 2018.

We’re going to take you from thinking about hiring staff in esports to actually hiring them.

We’ll also give you the very best chance of getting the perfect candidates too!

How?

Well we’re HitmarkerJobs.com, the biggest esports jobs site around, which means we know what we’re talking about.

So if you’re looking to hire staff in esports this year, you’ll love this guide.

Let’s get to it!

1. Define the esports role you're hiring for

So, you’ve decided you want to hire someone in esports.

Maybe you’re the owner of an up-and-coming esports team looking for help running it, or perhaps you’re in the HR department at a huge esports company and have been tasked with finding someone by a department head. You may even be the department head yourself and you’ve been told to find some new staff to help you “move fast and break things”.

Wherever you’re coming from, we’re going to take you from A-Z using our unique knowledge of the esports and recruitment industries.

Not everything we write will be applicable to you, but a lot should be, and even if you can’t put our words into action right now maybe you’ll be able to in the future.

First up, let’s get the basics out of the way…

If you’re looking to hire in esports then you need to know a few key things before you can get started:

  • What’s your budget?
  • What’s the job title?

  • Where will the role be based?

  • What’s the contract type?

  • Which department is the role for?

  • Who will the successful candidate report to?

  • How will the recruitment process work?

What’s your budget?

Essentially, how much are you going to pay the person you give the job to?

If you’re running a brand new esports team without any funding then we guess the answer to that might be a big fat zero, but that’s okay!

Otherwise, nail down what you’re working with - whether that’s per year, per month, per week, per day or even just per hour.

What’s the job title?

Chances are you probably don’t care much about this, but you can bet the person you’re trying to find will!

Try to pitch the job title in line with the budget you’re working with. We see far too many new esports teams looking for CEOs, COOs, CFOs, Directors and all other manner of weird and wonderful executive titles.

Let’s be serious for a minute, you can’t have a CFO if you’re running an organization with zero funding that looks likely to create zero revenue in the immediate future. Don’t insult people’s intelligence, be open and honest about the role.

At the other end of the scale, we also see esports job titles that go too far the other way and are hard to understand. Be concise and clear with what you’re looking for in the title! You don’t want to deter a great candidate because they don’t think they understand the role or could fill a role with such a title.

Where will the role be based?

An easy one. You should know if you want the person you’re recruiting to work from home, or work in the office. Perhaps it might be a mixture of the two, but it’s essential that you make this clear.

When you come to advertise the role you don’t want to receive applications from people who aren’t in the right area.

So decide if it’s Remote (anywhere in the world), Remote (in a specific country) or if it will be based in an office in a specific city. If it’s a mixture make sure you go with the city location, as you’re offering the candidate the flexibility to work from home but they must be a commutable distance from the office.

What’s the contract type?

There are five distinct contract types in esports, which are:

  • Full-time

  • Part-time

  • Freelance

  • Internship

  • Volunteer

Full-time, part-time and freelance roles are all paid, internships can be paid or unpaid and volunteer positions are always unpaid.

Be honest about the contract type. We see too many people listing roles as “internships” when they’re really “volunteer”.

There IS a difference - an internship is for a young person who is going to be learning how to perform in a role, ideally under the guidance of a more senior person.

Which department is the role a part of?

This is for the bigger esports companies out there, but you should know right away which part of the company the role is for. It might be a part of different departments, but this is important to know too because you need to understand who to coordinate the hiring efforts with.

Who will the successful candidate report to?

Similarly, who’s going to be the successful candidate’s line manager once they’re in the role? This person should have the biggest say in their hiring and should definitely interview them at least once, while it’s also good for the prospective candidate to be able to do their due diligence too.

How will the recruitment process work?

Obviously you need to write a job description and decide how long to advertise the role for (both of which we’ll help you with), but what then?

Will you be contacting people to arrange interviews or to set them a task? Who will interview them or set the task? Get all of this clear and try to stick to it!

Okay, if you’ve got all of this down, then it’s probably time to get to writing a job description that includes all of this and much, much more...

2. Write an esports job description

You’ve got the basics down now, so let’s get to work on creating an awesome job description for your esports role!

It’s impossible to overstate how important a good description is, but in simple terms you should think of it as the difference between finding the person you want and getting the person you get.

The job description is your opportunity to SELL the role without ever meeting the candidate. It can help to ensure you’re only getting the best, most targeted applicants, which will save you time and money in the short-term and long-term.

If you do it really well, it’ll actually make you a LOT of money!

In our opinion, the perfect esports job description follows this sort of structure:

  • Introduction (optional)

  • Summary (optional)

  • Responsibilities (essential)

  • Core Skills (essential)

  • Bonus Skills (optional)

  • Qualifications (optional)

  • Salary (optional)

  • Benefits (optional)

  • Application Instructions (optional)

  • Call to Action (optional)

Introduction (optional)

This is often an overlooked part of the typical esports job description. Take the chance to give some key details about your esports organization, whether that be a brief history of the company/team or an explanation of who you are and what you do, or both!

The intention here is to help the candidate understand you better and to feel like they know you, which makes their path to applying a heck of a lot easier. Keep it short and get straight to the point.

Summary (optional)

You know the job title, so this is a great chance to say “as our new… you will be tasked with…”

Tell the candidate exactly what you expect them to do if they get the job and tell them the department/s they will work within and the person/s they will report to (if you read Chapter 1, you’ll have these last two down).

Try to slot in something about the location of the job too, and mention if there are any special facets to it (like the necessity to travel).

Responsibilities (essential)

You should know what you want this person to do on a day-to-day basis and this is your chance to tell them in a succinct and clear fashion. Bullet points are your friend here!

Our recommendation is to list the responsibilities EITHER in order of the most important at the top and least at the bottom, OR the highest percentage of time spent on a task at the top and the lowest percentage at the bottom.

This is where your potential esports candidate is deciding whether or not they can do the job, so don’t make these hard to understand.

Core Skills (essential)

If you know the day-to-day responsibilities of your job then you should have a pretty solid idea of the skills the successful candidate will need to do it well.

Some jobs are much easier than others to write about when it comes to this, but general advice here is to keep things brief and be realistic. Bullet points are you friend, once again!

Don’t set the bar TOO high because this will severely reduce the number of applications you get, but have a minimum expectation of what you expect and then use this to evaluate candidates once the applications start rolling in.

Bonus Skills (optional)

We don’t see enough people utilizing this “extra” section, which helps to filter through candidates even further - and trust us, you’ll appreciate that fact once your job description goes live!

This is your chance to talk about skills that may be more personality-based than technical (or vice-versa), which helps you find people who will be a good fit in your organization.

Things to put in this list would be great for your candidate to have, but wouldn’t necessarily prevent them from being able to do the job to a good level.

Qualifications (optional)

This is definitely the most optional section so far, because it’s only important if you require the candidate to have a specific education or qualification for your esports role.

Salary (optional)

We don’t see this mentioned enough in the industry, so why not separate yourself from the crowd and include the information, if you know it?

You could even include a range and note that it’s “dependent upon experience”, but please try to give people something to work with if you can.

Benefits (optional)

Think about what benefits your organization can offer to candidates and write about them here.

Lots of the bigger companies can offer free gym memberships, pension plans and paid holiday, but many people will be happy with flexible working hours, free coffee and the chance to travel to esports events too!

Application Instructions (optional)

If you expect the candidate to do anything special or send you anything in particular - outside of the typical cover letter and resume (CV) - tell them here!

Call to Action (optional)

This is your last opportunity to give candidates any extra information they might need about the role, such as explaining how the hiring process will work.

What will the next stage be? Should they expect a call, if successful? Then an interview or a task?

Be clear and honest here, then finish off with a line that makes them feel great about applying, because if they’ve got to this stage then there’s a decent chance that they’re the sort of person you’re looking for!

Once you’re all done, it’s time to release your esports job description into the wild...

3. Advertise your esports role

When it comes to advertising your esports job, there are a few key things to consider.

The first one, again, is budget. Ask yourself, do you have the capacity to pay to promote your role?

If you do, then you’re one of the lucky ones and you can hunt out some of the paid solutions that will help make sure your role hits as many eyes as possible, which is what it’s all about.

All major jobs sites (including our own) will have a way to get your job description in a featured position, but you’ll typically have to pay for the privilege! It can boost engagement enormously, though, and shows you’re serious about hiring the right person.

Secondly, you need to consider how dispersed you want the hiring process to be. If you don’t mind having to log in to a number of different jobs sites to view applications, then spreading your job description far and wide is definitely the way to go.

However, if you want to manage your hiring process from one place then you need to find the BEST solution for that purpose… uh oh, plug time!

We believe that we’re the best solution in esports, naturally, because we’re the only custom-built jobs site out there. We have an in-house development team working on new features every single day. Nobody else can say that. Finally, we also have the biggest esports candidate database, the most esports organizations signed up with us AND we post more esports jobs than anyone else. Okay, we’re done!

There are also other esports jobs websites out there, of course, and we’d never recommend making your hiring process too exclusive. Plus, as long as the likes of Indeed are as huge as they are, there is real value in using them too.

In addition to this AngelList is awesome for esports startups, LinkedIn is another great avenue for esports jobs these days, and you’ve also got social media at your disposal too. Essentially, as somebody looking to find esports staff, you want to publicise your role as much as possible - that goes without saying.

Even though advertising directly on Twitter goes against everything we believe about running a correct hiring process, we do understand why up-and-coming teams go down this route.

However, if you’ve taken the time to read to this point then please ONLY use Twitter to promote a job description you’ve posted on a proper channel, even if it’s one of our competitors. You can’t manage your hiring process from your DMs!

Now, if you’re working for a big enough esports organization then you may have an in-house solution for your hiring. In that case, your best bet is to post the job there and promote it through Twitter, but you should also reach out to jobs boards to see if they’d be willing to post your role, for free, with an external link to your own application flow. You’d be surprised at how many would!

Thirdly and finally, decide how long you wish to advertise the role for. This revolves around how long you can wait to get someone in the door and when you’ll be available to set tasks and/or conduct interviews further down the line.

So now you’ve got a job description and you’ve decided to advertise it somewhere (or everywhere) for a specified length of time, it’s time to manage the application process...

4. Manage the application process

This is the part almost every business owner, hiring manager and member of the HR department hates with a passion.

Managing the application process is a thankless task, especially for roles where you get a ton of candidates, but if you value the reputation of your esports company (or yourself) and you can spare the time to do a proper job, it’s well worth it in the long run.

You’ll feel better for yourself, you’ll give people a good impression of your organization and you’ll actually be doing a good thing.

The worst thing for job hunters is when they’re working hard to find something suitable and then they never hear anything back… from anyone. Think about how demotivating that is for a second, and think if you’d like to be in that position yourself.

We would hope that with this advice we can help make giving feedback to all applicants a much more straightforward process, which will make things better for everyone.

The first thing you’ll need to do is allot some time every day to check on the applications you’ve received, regardless of whether you’ve advertised your role on one website or ten. You need to keep on top of what’s coming in, because otherwise things can get overwhelming very quickly.

Within this slot in your day, you should be sorting through candidates and putting them into three simple buckets:

  • Yes

  • No

  • Maybe

If it’s your decision and you have a lot of applicants then do yourself a favour and move anybody from the “Maybe” bucket into the “No” bucket immediately. Why? Well if you’re not sure about them and you’ve already got people in the “Yes” bucket, then they’re already not a candidate you can see yourself hiring.

As soon as you put someone in the “No” bucket be sure to send them a rejection email and, if you’re not managing your process through a platform that facilitates this, make a note of the fact you’ve contacted them (a spreadsheet would work well here).

The rejection email shouldn’t be too harsh and should give a clear, unobjectionable reason as to why you’ve made the decision. Maybe the candidate was not experienced enough, did not have the requisite qualification or did not have the profile you were hoping for. Something like that works and is hard to disagree with.

Inevitably you’ll get candidates coming back to you asking for more details or arguing with your decision - a large part of the reason why hiring managers and people in HR departments simply give up contacting people they have no interest in recruiting - but you can circumvent this with a line like “this decision is final and there will be no further correspondence on this matter”.

You don’t necessarily need to be that blunt, either, explain that you’re incredibly busy and have had a lot of applications for the role, so can’t realistically be expected to reply to everyone twice-over.

Once this nasty side of the application process is taken care of, you can focus on the good part, namely building your shortlist ready for the next stage of the hiring process.

Your shortlist should be short (hence the name), and you should try to evaluate the candidates based on their application materials as best as you can.

However, never forget that a resume/CV will often just show the good things a person has done - expunging anything negative from their past - and that a cover letter can be obsessed over, sent for expert evaluation and tweaked to perfection.

You’re not getting the full picture of the person, yet, so don’t make any decisions in haste!

Once you’ve got your list of “Yes” candidates ranked, in some form, it’s time to send out those fun emails explaining to all of them what the next stage of the hiring process entails.

We recommend giving out some form of trial or task applicable to the role (if possible) before a formal interview to further narrow your list, but we appreciate that a lot of folks like to jump straight to a face-to-face meeting or Discord/Skype chat.

If you’re at this stage, that means it’s time for the good part...

5. Hire the perfect esports candidate

It’s probably taken a lot of effort to get to this point (and we don’t just mean in terms of reading this guide), but it’s now finally time to hire the perfect esports candidate!

If you’ve followed our advice up to here then you should have ended up with a strong shortlist of candidates who are all willing to undertake any tasks/trials you set them (within reason), and to undertake interviews with everyone they need to speak to.

Notice the use of “need” there, don’t make these poor folks sit interviews with everyone in your organization unless absolutely necessary (or your organization is extremely small).

Once this is done you’ll have a very clear idea of who you want to go with and you’ll hopefully have the very fun job of sending them the acceptance email! Just don’t reject all of the other candidates QUITE yet!

All will become clear, as it’s now time to talk about some of the things you should do and some of the things you should expect…

Firstly, your number one choice will ideally accept the job and then it comes down to a discussion around a definitive start date (which you should have covered at the interview stage), plus some negotiations over the contract.

This is perfectly natural, so don’t let it worry you too much, unless the candidate is being particularly unreasonable. If they are, then maybe it’s time to move to your second choice…

However, once you get past the start date and contract stage you can reject everyone else on your list in a very nice way, being sure to ask them if you can keep their details on file for future opportunities that may come up.

Then you can focus on getting things ready for your new employee’s arrival!

Make them feel welcome from the first instant that they sign on the dotted line, and keep in regular contact - especially if the start date is a way off. Discuss with them any equipment they might need to be bought for them to perform their job to a high level, help them by giving advice/guidance on places to live and types of accommodation to seek out if relocation is a factor and sort out any legalities involved in them coming on board.

Prepare for their incoming by getting all of their company accounts (email, etc.) ready to go from day one, so they’re not sat waiting around on their first day, make sure they have a proper introductory path in the organization with an orientation and set some performance expectations for their first month/three months.

By this, we mean clearly lay out what you expect from them and make them feel like you believe in them because you hired them knowing that they can excel in the position.

Remember that moving into a new role is a big deal for anybody, no matter the size of your esports organization, and keep trying to put yourself in their shoes. Make them feel part of the team and like you’re giving them the best chance to succeed, because you are.

You’ve put all this work into hiring them, so it’d be silly to ruin it all at this point.

Now, go find ‘em and put all of this advice to good use!

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Questions? Comments? Suggestions?

Get in touch with us on Drift (the orange square at the bottom-right of your screen), by email at [email protected] or simply send a DM to @HitmarkerJobs on Twitter.

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