From Hero of Allacrost
This page explains the steps that we take when hiring for a new staff member or contributor. Depending upon the applicant and the need to fill the position they are applying for, sometimes it is necessary to deviate from these steps slightly. This page also lists the major criteria we need to consider when evaluating our applicants.
Generally, we make our decision to hire or not hire applicants based on two criteria. These criteria can be further broken up into sub-criteria that we use to evaluate our applicants. These two major criteria are usually weighted approximately the same, thus these two requirements for our applicants to become full staff members of contributors is known as The 50/50 Rule. These criteria are heavily considered when considering a new staff member, but are applied only lightly to contributor applicants.
The personality of the applicant is very important to consider prior to bringing someone new into the team. If they seem like they wouldn't "fit in" with the mindset of the team, then they may cause more harm than good, even if not right away. We want to avoid hiring people with poor personality traits at all costs. Unfortunately, conducting "interviews" over the internet makes it quite difficult to gauge one's personality. The personality traits we look for include:
Does the applicant show a general interest in Allacrost itself? We should be cautious in hiring applicants who seem more interested in joining any game project than just wishing to join our project. Did they give any specific reason for wanting to join Allacrost? If not, it is good to explicitly ask them for that reason.
Does the applicant seem reliable enough that they would not fail this team when it needs them? Do they project that they have a sense of responsibility and commitment?
Does the applicant write e-mails with proper English? If an applicant does not use punctuation or substitutes internet slang (ie, "u" instead of "you"), then that may indicate that they feel that they can not be bothered to take the time to communicate effectively with the team, or that they lack the seriousness and maturity for being a part of our project.
Skill and Talent
Secondary we need to take a look at an applicant's technical background. This category is usually more dependant on the department in which they are applying for (programming, artwork, music, etc.). We always require a reference to their previous work so that we may evaluate it for ourselves, and in some instances we may request that an applicant create a piece of artwork to our specifications.
- Technical Knowledge
Does the applicant have all of the technical skills required for the position they are applying for? If not, is their background good enough that they should be able to learn the required knowledge rather quickly?
How much experience does the applicant have in the areas that they claim competence in? For example, it is easy enough for someone to say "I've known C++ for 2 years", but did they ever complete a major project with C++? Make sure to request links to or attachments of work that the applicant has done, especially the work that the applicant (not us) feels that best represents their personal experience.
- Ability to Learn and Grow
Is the applicant willing to evolve along with the project, or are they of the type that has trouble breaking old (bad) habits? Can they learn to conform to the various art/music/code standards, or are they stuck on doing things "their way"? A good way to test whether an applicant has this quality or not is to require a simple test from them (ie, create a map sprite), by pointing them to the Artwork Standards wiki and instructing them to design a sprite consistent with that standard and with the style of the game.
Need to Fill Position
One final option to consider during the recruitment process (that does not reflect on the applicant) is how much we need to fill the particular position that the applicant is replying for. For example, if we have a severe shortage of artwork and we get an artist application, we are much more willing to hire the applicant (and hence less picky about their qualifications). On the other hand if we had more artwork than we knew what to do with, we might choose to turn away applicants unless they prove to be absolutely exceptional.
With a few exceptions, the first one to initiate contact in applying for a staff position is the applicant, not us. There are times where we find someone exceptional that we try to hire into the team though. Regardless of which scenario occurs, they eventually get to this order of events. When communicating with staff applicants, the important thing is to be polite and professional, while still maintaining a friendly and down-to-earth tone of speech.
- Official application e-mail is received from the applicant.
- Person in charge of recruitment of this applicant (the "recruiter") posts the e-mail to the Staff - News forum under a new thread (no poll)
- Allacrost staff make initial comments about applicant, and requests for more information and/or prior work
- Recruiter e-mails back applicant and thanks them for their interest in the project. Requests for the information (usually in the form of questions) and prior work that was requested by the staff. Recruiter should also point the applicant to the New Staff Guide so they can begin to understand how our team works (do this even though it is not yet clear whether or not they will make it into the team)
- If possible, recruiter does a little background check on the applicant. If they have a GameDev.net forum alias, for example, look at their previous forum posts and make sure
- Applicant replies to Recruiter's e-mail. Recruiter posts their response on the thread, and staff once again make comments and (if needed) requests for further information and/or prior work
- If no further information or prior work is necessary in evaluating the applicant, the recruiter should edit their first post on the forum thread and include a poll with 5 options on whether we should bring the applicant into the team: strong approval, weak approval, weak disapproval, strong disapproval, and one nonsense option for fun. :)
- After a couple days or so and a handful of votes are gathered, the recruiter makes the final decision on whether to bring the applicant into the team or not based on the vote distribution. This step may be expidited if it appears that the applicant is a no-contest (ie, has an overwhelming disapproval after the first 3-4 votes). Recruiter must post their final decision in the hire forum thread
- If the applicant is not voted into the team, the recruiter must send them an e-mail informing them of the team's decision and thanking them for showing interest in the project. Recruiter should then delete the applicant's hire thread in the forums
- If the applicant is voted into the team, proceed to the Post-Hire Process section
- Recruiter must send applicant an e-mail officially welcoming the applicant into the team. This e-mail should also include the following. (State that approximately the same name should be used for the applicant's forum alias, e-mail alias, and wiki alias)
- Another reference to the New Staff Guide page on the wiki, stating clearly that it is required reading for the applicant
- If the applicant has not registered on the forums, the recruiter must ask them to do so.
- Recruiter must also ask applicant whether they want an Allacrost e-mail address (which has a quota of about 10MB) or an e-mail forwarding address.
- The recruiter must ask the applicant to register on the wiki (and once the applicant has done so, give them "viewrestrict" user-level access on the wiki so that they may view restricted pages)
- An instruction for the applicant to post on the "Introduce Yourself to the Staff" thread once they have their forum access setup (this is also instructed on the New Staff Guide wiki page)
- The recruiter must delete the forum topic regarding the applicant's pre-hire process. THIS MUST BE DONE BEFORE THE APPLICANT HAS STAFF FORUM ACCESS because they should never see their recruitment thread
- Once the applicant is registered on the forums, the recruiter must go to the forum admin panel and add the applicant to the "Staff" group. A good recruiter will also edit the forum title for the applicant (from "Newbie" to an appropriate classification: "Artist", "Composer", etc.
- Once the applicant has stated their e-mail preferences, the recruiter must either setup their e-mail account or forwarding address (this is done in the website's cpanel). Send an e-mail to the new address to make sure that it works
- Add the applicant's new Allacrost e-mail address to the staff mailing list (this is also done through cpanel).
- Recruiter must create a FTP account for the applicant, which is performed through cpanel
- Once the applicant has registered on the wiki, go the wiki page Special:Userrights and add them to the "viewrestrict" group so that they may view restricted access wiki pages
- The applicant's permissions will need to be set to "Developer" on the bug tracker
- If the applicant requires or requested to use the sourceforge SVN services, they must be added to the project as a developer in the sourceforge admin panel
We still need to figure out our policies for contributors, so this section is pending. :)