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way2lazy2care

Major Game Studios and Online Applications (why?)

14 posts in this topic

So I've been sending out my resume to some of the larger studios (activision studios, EA, MGS, gamasutra, etc) and I've noticed something that I can't believe isn't annoying to everyone that uses it. A lot of the studios want you to submit your resume via a plain text text-field. I just don't understand it. I'm sure everyone's put a fair amount of time into creating a decent looking resume in word or pdf format, why not just have a reasonable online pdf/doc reader for the HR people to use? It seems like an aweful waste of great design tools to get a bunch of really mediocre looking resumes. I was especially surprised by MGS as microsoft is in charge of Word. I can understand having added things to online applications to make skillset searching very simple, but I just don't follow the logic behind resume-format-destroying for employers as well as applicants. Sorry, this is a half vent, half legitimate query.
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I'm sure everyone's put a fair amount of time into creating a decent looking resume in word or pdf format
...
It seems like an aweful waste of great design tools

I wouldn't invest any time into designing my resume. Resumes shouldn't have "great design," they should be clear, direct and easy to read. Maybe for artists you could grant some leeway, but really that's what your portfolio is for.
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Original post by way2lazy2care

submit your resume via a plain text text-field.


Almost without exception it is because the field is put into a TEXT(500) field of a database. Then, when HR needs to find candidates, they do SELECT phone_number FROM oversupply WHERE buzzword_compliance LIKE "C/C++" AND "expert";

No, honestly - this type of applications will not be read by people. People who pass through such system will be handed of to HR, that will call each of them and put them through a 5 question phone interview or similar.

Those that will eventually make it to on-site interview, will often be required to bring resume with them, or send it at that point, so that the interviewer will be able to nit-pick over various details.

Quote:
a reasonable online pdf/doc reader for the HR people to use


The number of yearly applicants with large companies is measured in at least 5, if not 6 or even 7 digits. There is no mechanism that would allow any kind of additional information stored in pdf/doc to be processed in any reasonable manner. Text is just simplest, especially after considering different text encoding complications, and similar.

This type of data is also easiest to process elsewhere, to perhaps correlate trends and similar.

Another reason is often that this type of applications is outsourced to whoever the lowest bigger is, and those are general IT shops which just use something that meets the requirements ("allow applicant to submit resume"), and textbox is by far the simplest solution for this.


Also, the ugly side - often such applications are not intended for hiring, but merely demonstrating to either media or stockholders that the company is doing well and actively hiring, even if no new people are ever hired.
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I wouldn't invest any time into designing my resume. Resumes shouldn't have "great design," they should be clear, direct and easy to read. Maybe for artists you could grant some leeway, but really that's what your portfolio is for.

I didn't really design terribly. I just had a couple of lists nested in tables that just look horrible when copied to plain text.

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Original post by Antheus
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Original post by way2lazy2care

submit your resume via a plain text text-field.


Almost without exception it is because the field is put into a TEXT(500) field of a database. Then, when HR needs to find candidates, they do SELECT phone_number FROM oversupply WHERE buzzword_compliance LIKE "C/C++" AND "expert";

No, honestly - this type of applications will not be read by people. People who pass through such system will be handed of to HR, that will call each of them and put them through a 5 question phone interview or similar.

Those that will eventually make it to on-site interview, will often be required to bring resume with them, or send it at that point, so that the interviewer will be able to nit-pick over various details.


I hadn't thought about this. KUDOS!
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We have actual humans read the text.

One reason for plain text is that it is faster and easier for the HR people to just look at the simple text as read from the database.

It is harder for them to open every single file, wait for it to load, work through the formatting, and then dig out the details.

Imagine the time wasted to open up a hundred or so PDF, Word, ODF, or linked web page, then potentially print each one if needed. Then to deal with corrupted files, or the files reformatting themselves when you open them, or the warnings about macros in the file, and so on.

If we can keep it all in plain text it saves many hours of effort.
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Original post by frob
We have actual humans read the text.

One reason for plain text is that it is faster and easier for the HR people to just look at the simple text as read from the database.

It is harder for them to open every single file, wait for it to load, work through the formatting, and then dig out the details.

Imagine the time wasted to open up a hundred or so PDF, Word, ODF, or linked web page, then potentially print each one if needed. Then to deal with corrupted files, or the files reformatting themselves when you open them, or the warnings about macros in the file, and so on.

If we can keep it all in plain text it saves many hours of effort.

It makes a lot more sense now. That in mind, I'm still a little surprised more places don't use (one of the sites above had this, but I can't remember which) some sort of file importer that tries to fill in the application for you to be put in the database based off of how it interprets your .doc or .pdf file rather than a large unformatted block of text.

I thought that one was actually pretty cool.

quick edit to clarify: it would fill in the fields, then you could double check to make sure it interpreted everything correctly.
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Original post by way2lazy2care
quick edit to clarify: it would fill in the fields, then you could double check to make sure it interpreted everything correctly.


Wouldn't it be a lot easier for them to just give you the fields in a simple web form, and let you fill them in yourself?

Personally if I was running a company I would also set it up that way, and require a $50 deposit before any human touched your application. If HR decides that you simply aren't what is being looked for currently, you get your money back in a day or two and get kept on file with the option to update your account as you gain new experience the company may be interested in.

If your application is instead bumped up to the level where you get called in for an interview, then your deposit is kept till that time. If you appear to be BS and wasting company time, you don't get your deposit back and your name gets black listed.
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Original post by way2lazy2care
quick edit to clarify: it would fill in the fields, then you could double check to make sure it interpreted everything correctly.
During my last job hunt (2006) there were several companies who had that. You enter your plaintext resume and it would extract many values, then ask you to verify and correct them.
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Original post by Talroth
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Original post by way2lazy2care
quick edit to clarify: it would fill in the fields, then you could double check to make sure it interpreted everything correctly.


Wouldn't it be a lot easier for them to just give you the fields in a simple web form, and let you fill them in yourself? listed.


it did both. The uploaded resume was just used so you didn't have to spend a couple hours filling out a form when you already have all the information in a nice .doc.
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My company uses one of those online resume systems, and I don't like it. I remember when I had to review some resumes for the position we had open. Although I am sure the system did some word searches or whatnot, but when they got to me to read it, the system would just mash it together. It is very annoying to read a resume like this:

Bob Stevens Objective: Software Engineer Prior experience: 5 years Acme SW (2000-2005) Primary role: Windows Driver Programmer Responsibilities I programmed drivers for our company's USB devices Skills: C/C++, assembly, MFC School UCLA GPA 3.41 References available upon request

Anybody who is looking for a job has a human-readable copy of their resume, probably to use at job fairs. When they come to fill out an online resume, they'll probably just cut-n-paste their human-readable document into the text box, which probably won't keep the formatting. Moreover, at least on my company's system, even if they filled out the text boxes nicely, when the system sends the resume to me it does some auto-formatting of its own, which doesn't look very good.

I feel bad for the job candidates. A poorly formatted resume is a mark against them, but they have to go through this system that will mess up their resume. For me, in a hiring position, if I do get to see the original, human-readable resume and the formatting is awful (along with spelling & typos), that would help me in my decision. The online system denies me that!
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Original post by Talroth
Personally if I was running a company I would also set it up that way, and require a $50 deposit before any human touched your application. If HR decides that you simply aren't what is being looked for currently, you get your money back in a day or two and get kept on file with the option to update your account as you gain new experience the company may be interested in.
I reckon, make it $10 and the company just keeps it, no matter what.

(I realise that leaves things way open for abuse, where a company could advertise a job position they have no intention of filling, but it's an interesting idea [smile])
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Original post by Talroth
Personally if I was running a company I would also set it up that way, and require a $50 deposit before any human touched your application. If HR decides that you simply aren't what is being looked for currently, you get your money back in a day or two and get kept on file with the option to update your account as you gain new experience the company may be interested in.

If your application is instead bumped up to the level where you get called in for an interview, then your deposit is kept till that time. If you appear to be BS and wasting company time, you don't get your deposit back and your name gets black listed.


Just imagine if every studio started doing that; anyone actively looking for a job could potentially be out thousands of dollars. There would definitely be screw-ups, so you can be sure that at least 10% of your deposits will never be returned. Not to mention the amount of false job advertisements posted by fake companies looking to scam unemployed individuals.

It may seem like a good idea for a studio that is bombarded with resumes on a daily basis, but to me it seems... I don't know, I would never apply to a company that wants me to pay them for a chance at a job.
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Some people actually do not enter a curriculum vitae within this space, but stuff like "3 reasons why I'm worth a shot".
It happens to work too sometimes.
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And programs like that are the reason half the resumes are useless piles of buzzwords and TLA's.

Format your resume. If your resume is hard to read, I'll immediately assume your code is hard to read.
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Original post by Telastyn
And programs like that are the reason half the resumes are useless piles of buzzwords and TLA's.

Format your resume. If your resume is hard to read, I'll immediately assume your code is hard to read.


Hey, you actually have a serious point there ;)
I personally avoid artsy stuff in my resume. It is bullet-point and straight to the point, and it transfers easily to these preset text forms. I suppose that is anticipated?
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