Discover the latest insights on the post-pandemic job market, gaming industry trends, and expert advice on job searching in our interview with Lizzie Mintus, founder and CEO of Here's Waldo Recruiting, who's been part of over 600 hires for top-level teams.
We dive deep into the evolving job market, why enlisting a recruiter can enhance your job search, proper interview techniques, and practical strategies to find your dream job.
Yane An: So we have here with us Lizzie Mintus from Here's Waldo Recruiting and she is the founder and CEO. Can you tell us a little bit more about your journey here?
Lizzie Mintus: Yeah. So thanks so much for having me. I have been a video game recruiter for the past seven years, and three years ago I started Here's Waldo because I felt like recruiting was missing a personal human element. You know, working with somebody that really cares about you and your job search. And on the flip side, really working with someone that understands your company and can really find you that talent to elevate your business.
I started my business when I was five months pregnant and I thought that I would probably have just a lifestyle business where it's just me, right? But I started and I reached out to my network and things exploded and I'm definitely not having a lifestyle business anymore. So we're about 14 people right now and we recruit mostly for small to medium companies that either have a successful, crazy successful game or have some solid backing from a venture capital firm or, private investor or a large player in the industry.
Yane An: How long has it been since you guys started then?
Lizzie Mintus: Yeah. I started in July of 2020, so almost three years, a business milestone.
Yane An: Wow. And so now you're also a new mother. Wow.
Lizzie Mintus: I've had two kids since starting my business. I have a two and a half year old and eight, nine month old.
Yane An: Amazing. I don't really like using the word like girl bossing too much, but that is definitely what you're doing.
Lizzie Mintus: Thank you.
Yane An: So Here's Waldo specializes in like gaming recruiting, right? So do you think it's important to have that sort of specialization and experience?
It's like different from say, more endemic recruiting.
Lizzie Mintus: Yeah. I think the value in being selective about what you recruit for is that you really get to know the industry and you really get to know people in the industry no matter what it is you're recruiting for. I mean, even if you have a data scientist recruiting company, you know data scientists, and you are able to very easily reach out to your preexisting network when you have a new role.
And games is a kind of a small community. Everybody knows one another. So I think it's really beneficial to work with someone that understands what people actually do and how to screen them. And they already have an idea of who to reach out to when they start working with you?
Yane An: Mm-hmm. So a lot of that is about networking to get into the gaming industry, and I'm assuming that's how you probably ran into our CEO Adam. Right? He's just everywhere.
Lizzie Mintus: No, he sat next to me at the bar at GDC, and so I met him there. I think networking is huge and leaving your house and just going to something in person, a mixer, right? Even if you don't really want to, I feel like the pandemic-- I'm an extrovert and I even have convince myself to go to these kinda events, right?
So it is a lot, but you just never know who you're gonna meet and where that connection will take you.
Yane An: / Do you think in recruiting it's important to be an extrovert like that, like outgoing?
Lizzie Mintus: No, I think people skills are important and being able to read the room and gosh, people tell you all kinds of things. You have people who have high emotional intelligence, people who don't have it so much. People from all ages. All genders, all backgrounds. I mean, people from all over the world who really have a different way of communicating.
So the most important thing is just being able to have a conversation and being able to relate to anybody. And then being able to be assertive enough to manage that conversation and be able to share with them, here's some information about the company I'm recruiting for, but also determine if they are a fit for that or not by asking really pointed questions.
My old boss used to say, when you dance with a gorilla, go where the gorilla goes. So, I mean, if you're being recruited, you are who you are. I think it's great to, you know, have an idea of what you want and be able to share that. Right? It's, it's your job if you're being recruited. What compensation do you want? You need to figure that out. What are you looking for? You need to have thought about that, right? You need to have your answers. But on the recruiter side, you do you need maybe to have "J" like a judgment kind of personality. But you need to be able to discern if somebody is the right fit or not.
And then, some people you talk to, you get on the phone and they say, here's my background, here's what I'm looking for. I've thought a lot about everything. Right? And sometimes you talk to people and you say, tell me a little about, about what you do. And they say, I program. And you say, okay, great. Can you tell me a little bit more?
You know, what are you working on? What's the project?
Yane An: You said that since you have experience and you already have your network, you know how to like field people. Are there like specific things you look for in terms of like video game recruiting then?
Lizzie Mintus: What do I look for in a candidate? Right? I think it really depends on what the company that I'm partnering with wants specifically, right? So some companies are startups and a lot of times the startup wants someone --Valve calls it T-shaped. So maybe you're a game designer, right? That's your vertical.
But then you also understand a, a little bit about how to program and you can touch on art or you can just, you can do a variety of different things. You've done production. So a lot of times a startup wants somebody that's a little bit more broad, where a big company wants somebody that's, you know, specifically an AI gameplay engineer.
And that's the one function that they're going to do. So, I mean, go where the gorilla goes, what do you want? And so my job is really just to understand what the company thinks "good" is. The only thing that makes me say hard pass hard no is if someone is, you know, derogatory or dismissive or just, you know, awful and rude to somebody on my team.
I'm not going to share your profile with anybody. That's just a really big red flag. But if someone doesn't have incredible communication skills, perhaps the role doesn't require it, or perhaps they don't have great communication skills with me, their recruiter, right? But when they talk about what they do, they're able to really get into it.
So unless someone is basically a jerk I let the company decide if they like them and their communication style or not. And as I get, you know, more information about what the company likes and doesn't like, if it's a company I've worked for for a while, I always say that you have a recruiter sense.
I'll tell my team, this person's going to get hired because you
Yane An: Whoa. You can just tell.
Lizzie Mintus: Yeah, totally. After a while, you know, this is the one, I found them, and it's so exciting.
Yane An: Yeah. That must feel super rewarding, right? Just being able to help both the company and people looking for a job out. That's awesome.
Lizzie Mintus: It's kind of like chutes and ladders, right? You have a lot of things that are gonna go wrong throughout the process and people are gonna drop off for whatever reason, but when it works, it's amazing. You get someone the thing that they're looking for, right? Maybe you get them a remote job so they can move to be closer to their family.
Maybe you connect them with their dream company, or the best to me is connecting them with a company they didn't even know about, but turns out to be the best possible thing for them. And then watching the companies that you've hired so many people for succeed is so exciting, right? The game's great.
Or this feature of their platform or their engine is the killer feature that everybody's so excited about. And you hired the person that made that. It's the best.
And you build long-term relationships with people too. I mean, a lot of people I've hired now I hire for. Right? So everything comes full circle.
Yane An: I love that. But earlier you mentioned red flags. I was wondering if we could actually maybe go into that. I don't know if you can share like horror stories, but those are always interesting.
Lizzie Mintus: Yes. I was thinking about my horror stories. I once had an engineer miss a call, this is bad --with a director? No, a VP of engineering. And he messaged after the call and said, sorry, he was pooping. This is a real thing, like wild, you know, as every recruiter has total, total horror stories. I had someone get an offer and then fail the background check. I've had somebody send a note before their first day that they're quitting. I had someone show up pre pandemic when final interviews were in person more regularly, reeking of alcohol and in dirty clothes to the interview.
Yane An: My god.
Lizzie Mintus: And so, I mean, recruiting's interesting because people are strange, right?
And people do odd things. And so it's always, it always keeps you on your toes.
Yane An: Wow. I'm speechless. I guess, uh, for listeners and for myself, I feel better about how I've done in my job interviews and if that's the bar, very low bar. I wanna also talk about that, that recruiter sense you said you get. What do you think makes you feel so sure sometimes?
Like what gives you that feeling?
Lizzie Mintus: Yeah, I feel like a little bit, it's subconscious, right? And you just have that gut feeling. And entrepreneurs always, they tell you that I made this decision because of my gut. Right? And what does that even mean? And how do you replicate that? So it's totally a gut feeling, but I think if they're able to really clearly articulate what they did, or maybe let's say they built an anti cheat system for Call of Duty, something like that.
That's so incredible. And you're hiring an anti cheat engineer, let's just make it up. Right? That's thrilling. And then if you ask them what they specifically did and they say, Hey, this idea started in my head and I built out this whole system from scratch, right? That's always the most exciting thing on the engineering side.
And on the art side, I think if someone has an absolutely killer portfolio and they're able to walk you through the way in which they created something and really speak to their work, that's thrilling. And then it's always exciting to talk to somebody who's worked on one of the most popular games, right?
If they work at Naughty Dog or if they shipped Red Dead Redemption or something that's, you know, famous and thrilling. That's the way it's really exciting. But sometimes I think, going back to red flags, I also wanna make sure that you are, you were able to talk about what you do, and you might have worked on a bunch of really great games, but I don't need you to tell me how good you are.
And I had a hiring manager tell me, this guy wrote on his resume how he was superb and excellent at what he was doing. And the hiring manager told me it's like being attractive. You don't tell people, you know, I'm really attractive. That's kind of a turnoff of a thing to
Yane An: say.
Lizzie Mintus: right? And so another thing that I screen for is just humility.
If you just, you know, talk down to me and man or woman-splain me about what you've done.
Yane An: Mm-hmm.
Lizzie Mintus: That's kind of rude, right? I don't need you to tell me how good you are. I can see how good you are. There's being good and then there's being a good person other people wanna work with, and there's a balance there.
And the balance is different for every company, how much you care about skills.
I think after you've hired, maybe I've been a part at least 600 hires, I mean a lot of them. Then eventually you have this sense. It just comes with time too. A lot of recruiting comes with time.
Yane An: A lot of people. Yeah.
Lizzie Mintus: Yeah, it's the best and I keep in touch with a lot of 'em. One candidate I tried to hire is now my friend.
She lives near me, and we have kids of the same age and our kids play.
Yane An: That's so wholesome. I don't even know how you keep in touch with that many people. I feel like I would lose track of like such a huge network right away. So that's definitely a skill.
Lizzie Mintus: Yeah, it's a lot of communication. For my job, I'm communicating with companies, I'm communicating with my team. They're communicating with so many candidates. I'm at the point where I don't really have candidates unless, maybe it's someone I hired in the past that reaches back out to me to help them with a job. Something like that. But it's so much contact and LinkedIn's crazy. I seriously write down like text so and so back. Because you definitely have to juggle conversations with so many different people and be able to switch gears.
Yane An: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Sounds like a lot of like project management as well, right? Yeah.
Lizzie Mintus: Project management and then coming up with creative solutions to problems, right. I think it's a lot of problem solving.
Yane An: Mm-hmm.
Lizzie Mintus: I need a job, but here are my requirements. Like, okay, well I have this role that matches two thirds of them. Would that be okay? What about this? And kind of being able to think outside of the box because if you are an internal recruiter, let's say at Amazon, you're just working on the Alexa team and you're always recruiting for Alexa and you can say your pitch in your sleep and you know, you're so dialed in.
But when you work at an agency, you have a lot of different clients, some which are active, some which you're not hiring for, but you have to remember, this company mentioned to me, if I find a unicorn game designer with free to play experience, that they'd wanna talk to them, you have to be able to remember that and then be able to ask the candidate about it.
Maybe there's not a job description, right? It's basically just a lot of matchmaking.
Yane An: Oh yeah, that is a good way to put it. Match making.
Lizzie Mintus: Got it. Just like dating kinda.
Yane An: Yeah. Actually though, it's kind of fun.
Lizzie Mintus: Yeah. Well, I think it's fun and I love it, right? But I think for a lot of people, they have a ton of anxiety around their job search and just not knowing how to navigate getting a job.
Yane An: Oh, definitely. I remember before I was at Gamesight, and this is a really good culture fit for me. I felt, especially coming right outta college, I felt like I had to like change myself or be more like business or be more formal to try to fit what people were looking for. But I think that's, not necessarily the right thing, right?
My personality is one of my strengths, right? I feel like the company should be a good culture fit with you.
Lizzie Mintus: Totally. And if it's not, you're going to leave. And I
Yane An: True.
Lizzie Mintus: think people get so caught up in money and it's been out of control basically. Covid hiring was nuts. Comps were nuts. Big companies were just throwing money at people. Like the offers that I've given, the offers that people have told me about are absolutely nuts.
And while it might be exciting, then you might not also even like the job, right? And so I talk to candidates a lot about that. Hey, a FANG company is offering you. I don't know, $400,000. Right? But you're not that excited about it. It depends on your situation. If you have five kids and they're all about to go to college, perhaps you do need to take that big company job, right?
That's okay. I think it's just important to be honest with yourself about what you want and what you care about. And I totally sound like a jaded recruiter when I say this, but money matters to a point. And you need to figure out how much money do I need to live to pay my bills? And that's gonna vary based on everyone's individual circumstances, where they live their obligations.
Right? And then after that, how much do I want to maintain my lifestyle? And this is if you're probably a little more senior, right? And then after that, it's up to you. That's based on how much you wanna make money versus how much. You wanna really enjoy your job and also about just where's this job gonna take you?
Right? Maybe you work at a startup and the founders have sold their last five companies and they're crazy successful and it's small. You get to work hand in hand with one of them. It's a 10 person company and you get to create all gameplay systems, okay? From scratch as an engineer versus you are going to be one of 500 people that builds gameplay systems. The systems already exist and you're just gonna be refactoring them a little bit and adding in a few things here and there.
The big company is going to pay you more money, but the little company might propel your career forward. So where is this job gonna take you now? But where's this job also going to take you in five years? Right? What's the opportunity? What are you actually learning? And many people are so caught up in money.
Depending on where you are in the salary band, but if you're over a certain amount, what difference is this really making for your life?
Yane An: I love that as a recruiter, you're also like a, a lifestyle advisor and a financial advisor. You're like helping people make good decisions. Right. Good long-term decisions.
Lizzie Mintus: Yeah. And I think it's just about figuring out how people think. Sometimes. It's figuring out how their significant other thinks. Once I talked to somebody's wife, he was like, you know what? Let's skip this back and forth. Why don't you just talk to my wife, so I talked to their wife about the job? You're definitely an advisor and kind of helping them get clarity on the overall recruitment situation cuz people feel uncomfortable and panicked. And I see a lot of people, especially right now when there's some economic distress, you could say. They feel like they just have to take a job, right?
But sometimes maybe they have 10 interviews lined up and then they get an offer and then they just accept the offer. But this is such a common mistake. The company's not gonna make you decide that day, and if the company is giving you a 24-hour window to decide, that is a red flag. So I think it's great just to be honest and say, hey, everybody I'm interviewing, I plan to make a decision on, um, June 1st. Would that, would that work? Right? It's just about communicating instead of panicking and going with the first thing that comes to you. But it's situational, right?
If you, maybe you've been laid off for six months and you just need a job. In that case, it's a bit more understandable.
Yane An: Right. Yeah. I do wanna talk more about like the general job market as well, cause right now is definitely unfortunately a season of layoffs and things like that.
Lizzie Mintus: Yeah.
Yane An: and I wonder if --I may be totally off base here. I'm just, uh, guessing, doing an educated guess here. But I feel like, like you said, there were a lot of crazy offers during the pandemic.
Things were shifting. People put out a lot of money. And then afterwards, like you said, there's economic distress and there's inflation and a lot of tech companies are laying off now, and it's, it's really unfortunate. And I wonder if like from your side of things where you can see more, you have like a more clear perspective.
Lizzie Mintus: Yeah, I mean, there was a lot of money being given by large companies through the pandemic. So much that I think it's a red flag in the end. If you're underpaid and you're getting a huge pay raise, that's a different story.
But if you were, you know, working at a fine company and a company offers you to double your salary, but you know, that's so out of industry norms, that's not sustainable for the company. So ironically, I feel like a lot of the layoffs are from companies that have been paying so much over the normal amount because that is not sustainable for them.
Their burn rate's high, they can't keep employing all of these people and they were reacting to a low inventory situation, which we had, and now they're correcting. So I think as a job seeker, you need to have a red flag if you're making a lot of money. And you also need to think, gee, I was working at a company paying me, you know, a $200,000 base, a hundred thousand bonus and 200 in stock a year. Don't anticipate that that's going to continue. Be thankful. Thank your lucky stars. You have an amazing opportunity to make a lot of cash, right? But don't expect that. Games is an interesting place right now because I think tech is having a meltdown.
Big companies are having a meltdown. Big companies that had a game studio are a part of the layoffs, and we're really seeing that. However, if you are a senior, and above, talented professional. It's possible you could still have four or five competing offers right now. Like there's still a pocket of competition.
There's small companies that still have a lot of funding. There's companies that have investment from Tencent, NetEase, Embracer, Saudi Arabia, right? Some Korean publisher. Those companies are still doing really well. And then there are all of these companies kind of adjacent to games.
There's autonomous vehicle companies, there's games meets film companies, robotic companies, and they're all hiring people with a game background too.
Yane An: Interesting.
Lizzie Mintus: it's still pretty competitive. Employment is 3.4%, which is the lowest rate since 1969.
Yane An: Oh my.
Lizzie Mintus: But if you're working at a big company and you got laid off, it's just a expectation reset from what you were making. And I think the people that are having the hardest time with this are people that graduated into a booming economy. Maybe they have graduated in the last five years, and the level which they came in at was so high, and the amount they continued to get in the promotion cycle they were on, to try and hang on to them, brings them at such a high level compared to somebody who entered the economy during a recession.
So ironically, sometimes someone with five years experience might be making the same amount as someone with 20 years experience, just because the starting point was so, so different. So for those younger people, they have to realize that they were in this bubble and this bubble has popped and it's done. So, what a great ride, what a great experience.
Hopefully you saved your cash and you're not gonna get that anymore. And the other funny thing, everybody or the whole pandemic told me, hey, I wanna work at a big company because it's stable. It's not stable right now at all. You're probably more likely to get laid off at a massive company, right? So people are resetting what's good and what they want.
And I think thinking more about what do I personally value? What company aligns with what I'm truly looking for, versus getting caught up in, oh, my friend's making this amount at this large company.
There's a stat about how much most people like their jobs, and I think there's a different phase in everybody's life where you are focused on maybe supporting your family buying a house, right? Those are kind of graduate school in the next, like, you know, first 10 years maybe you would do that, right?
Most people have kids generally before they're 35 ish, you know?
Yane An: Mm-hmm.
Lizzie Mintus: Those are things you think about then. But when I start working with candidates who are, let's say, in their forties or beyond, sometimes it shifts because depending on their career path, if they had worked, let's say you worked at Microsoft for 15 years, depending on your life, but it's probable that you have made a great amount of money during those years, right?
And then some people hit a point where they're actually just looking for what makes them feel good and what they're passionate about. And I think it just depends on their life. But I do see that once they've gone through the cycle of working at a big company.
Yane An: That's great perspective actually, because they do look for something more self-actualizing. So yeah, it's definitely a good perspective. I also wanted to mention, you said something really interesting about gaming adjacent companies, and a lot of these companies are also hiring people who have gaming experience.
I'm, I'm really curious about that.
Lizzie Mintus: Yeah, I mean, I think the industry is obviously evolving so quickly,
Yane An: Mm-hmm.
Lizzie Mintus: but. I know for instance, Elon Musk got into hiring game programmers. Whether you like him or not, that's what he thinks. So he hired a lot of people for Tesla, SpaceX, there are a lot of maybe companies, old school companies looking to reinvent themselves, and maybe that's through like a virtual reality app or an experience in their store. You know, some holographic display or gamify something in an app.
Anyone kind of looking to refresh themselves often looks for people with a game background.
And I think somebody who makes more of a casual, maybe a mobile game or some immersive experience would be pretty excited to work there. But I think it would probably be a much harder transition if you're working on Warzone and Halo. You know, do you wanna make some immersive experience for Burning Man? Um, maybe you're passionate about Burning Man, right. But probably not so much.
Yane An: Mm-hmm. Interesting though. That's just good advice in general for like, maybe people listening and who are looking for a job. You can also look in these adjacent industries, which is very cool.
Lizzie Mintus: Yeah. I think there are more and more industries that will be using game engine technology. The Mandalorian, the show, was made with Unreal Engine. There's experiences where if you want to see, you know, maybe test drive a car, something like that, you're able to do that virtually.
I think there's a lot of new technology that's coming out and you could start there as long as you're really learning how to work in a game engine, either doing art or engineering, that's a huge benefit. I would also say less now, but people have put large companies on a pedestal and, you know, you have this goal of working at a big company, but when you're starting your career, sometimes it's truly beneficial to work at a small company where you can bet shaved and you can learn a lot of different things and try a lot of different things so you can really become skilled in a variety of areas and if you wanna specialize later you can, but at least you've tried different things out.
Yane An: I also wanted to talk more about nowadays, is it mostly like a lot of companies are remote or has that landscape changed at all?
Lizzie Mintus: Yeah. So obviously Amazon's requested people go back in the office,
Yane An: Mm-hmm.
Lizzie Mintus: and I truly think that some large companies return to office is just a way to get people to voluntarily quit instead of having them laid off from a liability perspective.
Yane An: Oh, that's crazy.
Lizzie Mintus: Oh, it truly is. And some people have crazy leases for years in major offices and they want people to come back.
I do hear, especially from game studios in certain departments, that they really miss the collaboration of being in the office, which just can't be replicated. So some companies are doing return to office. Some companies maybe if they're starting out feel that that team dynamic is better. But there are people who have moved to just the middle of nowhere and they're not moving back.
They bought a house, they have a family and their families in school. So I think it depends on the candidate. And people have these policies that say, Hey, my company's returned to office. But then what do you do if your best employee says, Hey, I moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan and I'm not coming back. Do you let that person go?
Probably not. So then there are these exceptions and it's kind of interesting. My company is remote. I don't have the need for an office nor desire. I go work somewhere. I go to a co-working space sometimes so I can be around other adults and leave my house.
I have one person in particular I used to hire for him and he was so hard about remote. No one can be remote. Remote does not work. The pandemic happened, his company became remote. He loves being remote. Now he himself is remote.
Right? And that's something that he will always embody just because he tried it. So I think the pandemic really forced a lot of people to go that route. And there are some people that aren't coming back.
Yane An: Mm-hmm. Definitely. I personally love working remote. I can run a load of laundry while I work. Amazing.
Lizzie Mintus: I love it too. And I think especially being a mom that's working, for me, just to be able to be with my kids during the day is really special. And if I have a newborn, like I have to take care of my newborn. Right? And being able to have that flexibility is huge.
That's another thing the pandemic has provided, not working eight to five in the office, because I think if you are a caregiver or a mother or you know you have some other obligation in your life, you really can't work in an office from eight to five. So being able to offer remote work increases the likelihood of diversity in your team because you can accommodate people that can't do the traditional office thing.
Yane An: Love that. Yes. Actually, I sort of wonder how you got into games recruiting initially right before you started your company?
Lizzie Mintus: Yeah, I'll tell you first how I became a recruiter and then how I got into games recruiting. Um, so I, I was also at a bar and I would just like to say I don't live at a bar or anything, but
Yane An: Yeah.
Lizzie Mintus: sometimes I go out with my friends. So I was at a bar and I knew I wanted to do something with people. I loved working with people, and I met a woman who told me about recruiting and I thought that sounded great.
She introduced me to someone that worked at the company that I had previously worked at, so I did the interview and they ended up rejecting me. They sent me a classic rejection letter, and so I thought I would be a good recruiter and I didn't really understand my reason for rejection and I'm obviously type A, so I thought they should give me a chance.
So I researched the CEO and I was looking through all of his recommendations and I viewed one of his recommendations and, uh, he reached out to me and talked to me a little bit and gave me some coaching. And he recommended that I reach out to the CEO and I tell him that I, you know, here's, here are the reasons that you want, I want the job.
Here's the reasons I'll be successful. So I sent the CEO message and I asked if he would be open to having a call with me and he said he would. I researched all about being a recruiter. I knew about programming languages. I knew about so much stuff, and I told him if he gave me a shot, I would be his best recruiter.
And I was, I was the best recruiter in the company for three years. I started there and then there were two directors and they had worked for Call of Duty and a Fortune 50 company hired them to build out an innovation lab,
Yane An: Mm-hmm.
Lizzie Mintus: and so, they brought me in and I didn't know anything about games.
I remember asking, they had one, well, just one engineer in them. And so I asked the engineer to explain a little bit to me about games and you know, how they were built because it's bamboozling to learn about a new industry and learn how they speak and then learn how to ask someone who's so good at what they do, a question about how they do what they do.
Right? It's kind of intimidating. But I, I watch YouTube every day on my way to work. I ask everyone I knew they could explain stuff to me and I really taught myself so much about the game industry and I started recruiting. Everyone I recruited that was nice and open to sharing more with me about how things work,
I asked them, and pretty soon I had hired 25 people and I built out their studio and it was amazing. And then the people there referred me to their friends and their friends and their friends. And then I just built my whole business, word of mouth from people that had worked with me before. And then I decided that I wanted to quit and start my own business really is focused on quality over quantity and relationships. So I reached out to everybody in my network,
Yane An: Mm-hmm.
Lizzie Mintus: people I didn't work with previously, cause I had to abide by that. And then I just started building relationships and started recruiting for companies from people that I had known.
And that's still my business today. Pretty much everything has stemmed from building one studio.
Yane An: That's. That's impressive. I think actually, when you did have to recruit people in gaming, they had to be able to explain themselves clearly so that anyone could understand. Right.
Lizzie Mintus: It did help. And sometimes I will do general recruiting still if I'm asked to. The other thing that's hard when you're recruiting is sometimes you're talking to somebody who lives in another country and English is not their first language, so you have a language barrier.
Yane An: Mm-hmm.
Lizzie Mintus: Maybe a bit of a culture barrier of just the way in which they explain things and then maybe they have their PhD in machine learning or something and you need to ask them questions.
You need to be able to handle that conversation with ease. But, you know, sometimes people go so, so deep technically to you because people talk about what they do in such great detail like that. So some roles are harder than others, but I think you just need to be able to handle that gracefully. And, you know, they might know you're having a hard time understanding them. So just asking for clarity and letting them know while you understand about the role.
You, yourself are, are not an engineer. So if they could explain it to you like, you know, maybe your, your seven year old or your grandmother, that would be great.
Yane An: Yeah, that'd be great. I think that's definitely a testament to your communication skills. If I was in that situation, I'd just, I think I would just nod. Yeah.
Lizzie Mintus: You have to get the information. You have to, if they're the right fit or not. And you have to make sure that they're interested in whatever you're telling them about. So
Yane An: Yeah. Amazing. And then, I also wanna sort of go into maybe new exciting trends you've seen behind the scenes or any, uh, interesting ways the gaming industry is evolving into the future,
Lizzie Mintus: Yes, there are a lot of new technologies entering the market. I think, let me say AI off the bat because that's all, everybody's talking about right now. AI and games, AI creating concept art, I mean Midjourney is crazy and I think. You might hate it, but we're gonna have to adapt to it. So that's huge. There's new VR headsets coming out.
Apple's announced, their VR headset, Palmer Luckey said that it seems very good. So that's some hype being built around it. Maybe Apple set that up, but maybe not. Sony is creating PSVR two, so that's exciting. I think Epic is kind of just taking over in terms of the Unreal Engine and their offerings.
I know Tim Sweeney has a big vision for the Metaverse and bringing different experiences into Fortnite, and I think other people are kind of playing off this. So having a virtual experience is a new way to communicate and a new way to socialize. That's really growing. People feel very, very strongly about NFTs, but there is something to be said about being able to bring an item game to game.
So I think that that concept will continue. The joke at GDC was AI is the new blockchain NFT, that's the new buzz. Um, there's still companies doing some blockchain games. There's Shrapnel.. They're making a first person shooter using blockchain. So excited to see if their game looks good. Then I think there are a lot more indie games that we're seeing crazy success from right now.
Yane An: Love that.
Lizzie Mintus: Those games are exploding.
And then there's also a lot more games doing user-generated content. That's huge too.
Yane An: Love that. Yeah.
Lizzie Mintus: The new hardware specs are crazy. The frame rate, which you're able to get in with some of the new hardware is incredible.
And then just, just the sheer volume of games that are being created, right? More than ever, you have so, so many options and there are so many companies getting into the space, especially large amounts of foreign money. Scopely just got acquired for, I wanna say 5.9 billion from Saudi Arabian companies.
Yane An: Hey, go off.
Lizzie Mintus: Yeah, we'll, we'll see where that goes. And then just the consolidation that's happening in the industry, mergers and acquisitions, crazy,
Yane An: Activision acquisition.
Lizzie Mintus: We'll see if that goes through.
Yane An: Yeah.
Lizzie Mintus: But I mean, that would be the largest acquisition, right? That would be absolutely nuts. And then from there, do other major tech companies acquire other gaming studios?
And how much are, after all the layoffs, how much are these big companies going to invest in the games? You know, is that really the future that they see? Or have they switched to AI now?
Yane An: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Wow. Okay. That was a lot of stuff. Definitely gaming because it is part of the tech industry, it's always like pushing forward with these technologies and. Uh, for example, you mentioned like VR and like what Epic Games is doing and you know, VR has been, the technology has been around for a while now and it hasn't really, I feel like gone necessarily that mainstream, every household level launch yet, but every time a new technology is introduced in the gaming industry, it's not like it goes away even if it doesn't hit those peaks.
It's coming back again and we'll see I did not know Apple was trying to make their own viewer headset, so that, that's huge. Yeah.
Lizzie Mintus: Releasing soon, and Apple has this crazy following, I think too, I mean, when free to play games came out, everybody hated that, right? All the traditional gamers had so many awful things to say. When VR came out, and I recruited for it in 2016, everybody told me VR will never go anywhere. This technology's gonna die.
You know, I think same with NFTs and blockchain, right? But I think with any new technology, there is a potential use case for it. You just have to find that game that does so well that makes everybody buy the hardware or, you know, get into blockchain or convert in some way. So it's always interesting to see the pushback from people that just are really focused on traditional console gaming. And I mean, even games as a service is newer, right? Versus just making a game, selling it for $60. People play through and it's done.
Yane An: Yeah. Lot of interesting stuff. Honestly, uh, as a gamer, it's a, it's a good time.
Lizzie Mintus: Yeah, it is amazing.
Yane An: I know a lot of companies, I've heard that they just auto filter your resume and like look for keywords, right?
Lizzie Mintus: Yeah. So here's the thing. Right now, the jobs are getting so many applicants. One of the companies I work for said over the weekend they had 500 applicants on a single role. At that point, you can't look through that. You just can't. Nobody can do that very well. And so your resume might not even be seen.
So if you're applying for a job, I think it's really important to figure out how you can stand out or how can you get a reference, right? How can you connect with somebody at that company that could actually help you? Because the chances that someone's seriously reviewing your resumes if they have hundreds or thousands of applicants is low.
I had talked to somebody the other day and she told me she wouldn't even get a reply because she saw how many applicants there were, and then two months later, she'll just get a rejection email because they hired somebody in the pile, right? But she never even heard back from 'em. So I think people, should think about other ways to get a job than just applying through a job portal,
Yane An: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I guess
Lizzie Mintus: Like using a good recruiter.
Yane An: true.
Lizzie Mintus: And also quick plug for good recruiters. A good recruiter might tell you about a job that's not posted, right? The company has told me, Hey, Lizzie, I think in a couple months I'm gonna need this role, and I'll think about that and I'll find the perfect person. Or I'll talk to somebody and I'll say, Hey, might you be interested in this company?
This just happened the other day, and my candidate said, I love that game so much. That's my favorite game ever. I didn't even know that they had roles open and they didn't even have this job posted. Right?
Yane An: Mm-hmm.
Lizzie Mintus: My recruiter senses are going off. That's so cool.
The job wasn't posted. He would've never found it if I hadn't reached out to him and just made that random connection. So, Work with a recruiter, work with a good recruiter. If you are a job seeker, go to the recruiter's profile. See how long they might stay at their jobs, right? Every couple months is not a good sign.
And check if they have any recommendations and check how many people they're connected with as well, because that will indicate how good of a recruiter they are basically.
Yane An: Should people who are looking for jobs now, then should they reach out to recruiters?
Lizzie Mintus: When you reach out, don't just say, Hey, I'm looking for a job. Here is my resume. That's kind of rude and I might get 40 LinkedIn messages a day, so it's kind of overwhelming for me and I really might not be able to see that. But instead, I mean, whether it's an internal recruiter that just works at a studio or an agency, you could say, hey I am looking for a job around, you know, in this kind of role, I'm looking for a marketing role, right?
And I see that you have a job posted, or I wonder if you might have a job posted in the future, would you be able to have an informational interview with me so I can learn more about your company? Or I can learn more about what you do that's really respectful and you're asking to just explore and you're not pushing like, Hey, find me a job.
It's not my job to find you a job. I would love to help you if you're respectful and understand how I work. But I think people often don't understand how recruiters work. People who are looking to break into the industry. I get a lot of questions about that. So I can't help you if you're looking for your entry level job.
That's not something we do. Companies pay us to find people they can't find themselves, which generally means mid-level and above. But if you are looking to get a job in games, I think you can participate in a global game jam. That's fantastic. I'm happy to put you in touch with them.
Or you can have a portfolio, an art station. If you're an engineer, contribute to an open source project. Do something that makes you stand out and shows that you care about the industry and you are going out of your way to make a contribution in the industry. And then you should go to in-person events for sure, because you don't know who you're going to meet there and that person might open a ton of doors for you. So go network and go contribute and update your LinkedIn profile with information about what it is you do so a recruiter can find you.
Yane An: Mm-hmm. Wow. Amazing tips, pro tips. I feel like anyone listening to you, you, you will get a job if you follow these tips.
Lizzie Mintus: Happy Happy to help.
Yane An: Yeah. Thank you so much for being here. It was so informative. I feel well informed.
Thank you so much for your time. And yeah, shout out to Adam for the introduction.
Lizzie Mintus: Thanks, Adam. Thanks for sitting next to me.