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  • Interactive Selection featured in Recruiter magazine with client Monumental Games

    Interactive plays the game.

    Hunting down a top niche candidate in a young and developing industry was the task Monumental Games set for recruiter Interactive Selection.

    P22_DavidSmithThe Challenge
    With successful games such as MotoGP and Hunter’s World to its name, Monumental Games is one of the leading companies in what is still a relatively young industry. In just over a year the company has more than tripled its workforce from 30 to around 100, and expanded beyond its original Nottingham base by opening two additional sites in Manchester and India.

    “The company has gone from strength to strength and has not been affected by recent economic events,” said Rebecca Bull, Monumental’s HR manager. However, in a fast moving and vibrant industry, you are only as good as your next game. So when Monumental went looking for a director to develop a new game it was vital they found the right person. As Bull explained what made the task even more challenging was that the person had to have specific experience in MMO (massively multiplayer online – where many players can play against each other in real time from different locations) games, a branch of the industry that has been going for only around five years.

    It was clearly a job for a headhunter, because by the very nature of MMO people of this calibre are few and far between, said Bull. “The challenge of finding a senior person who had worked on a successful MMO was going to be difficult.”

    P22_rebecca_bullThe Solution
    David Smith, managing director of Interactive Selection, one of the three recruiters appointed by Bull, added: “Monumental is one of the first major players in the English market, so for a recruiter trying to find someone with good MMO experience was difficult because so few people have been making them in this country.”

    Drawing on the company’s 30,000-strong candidate database, and Smith’s massive network built up over 13 years in the sector, including 2,300 LinkedIn contracts – “I am probably the most LinkedIn person in the games industry” – Smith set to work.
    The initial results were hardly encouraging, however. “There were probably fewer than a dozen who would have fitted the bill,” Smith remarked. And not only that, he added, they were all in jobs.

    Having identified a likely candidate who he had met as a client in the past and was now a LinkedIn contact, Smith faced another challenge when it became clear that the candidate was reluctant to move as he didn’t want to work for a direct competitor of his existing company.

    “With such a small talent pool available, to find someone at senior director level who has the technical vision is an outstanding achievement”  REBECCA BULL

    But using his in-depth knowledge of the industry, Smith was able to explain to the candidate that taking up the position of director of this particular game would not put him in head-to-head competition with his previous employer. Clearly persuaded by Smith’s argument, the candidate took up his new position on 1 October.

    For Bull, one of the key reasons for Interactive’s success lay in its relationship with Monumental. “They visit our premises, they know our directors, they have met me and they do really try to understand the business. They are an integrated part of our recruitment strategy,” she said. This is in line with Bull’s rationalisation of Monumental’s PSL, from 15 to four suppliers, all of whom share her preference for a partnership approach.


    Building a personal relationship with Smith was also important, she said, and goes beyond just placements. For example, Bull and Smith have regular conversations about HR topics and recruitment initiatives. Smith also encouraged her to join the trade association of the games industry, which runs an HR managers’ forum.

    While these factors undoubtedly helped to deepen Monumental’s relationship with Interactive, and improved understanding between the two, in the end it was the ability to deliver that impressed Bull. “With such a small talent pool available, to find someone at senior director level who was working in the East Midlands who fits the culture of the business and who has the technical vision to take the MMO prototype to the next level is an outstanding achievement.”

    lessons learned

    * As well as having access to the best candidates, niche recruiters need to have an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of the industry
    * Spending time building up your contacts, such as on LinkedIn, is vital for niche recruiters who want to access the best candidates.
    * Establishing good recruiter-client relationships goes beyond placements. Spending time building individual relationships, even when there is no immediate placement, pays off for both parties
    * Rationalising your PSL into a small number of recruiters who share your approach works better than using a large number of recruiters who may not share your vision

    Kindly reproduced from Recruiter magazine, 28 Ocober 2009 with permission.


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