After German Chancellor Angela Merkel went on a tour of Wooga back in March 2013, the mobile game developer secured itself as a well-known Berlin startup success story. Since its founding in 2009, it has launched hit games like Brain Buddies and Diamond Dash that have earned top app store rankings and raked in millions of players.
However, with an estimated average of 1,000 new games launched per week, and with games like Candy Crush occupying top app rankings for an extended period of time, Wooga will tell you that the gaming market, despite its high growth rate, is anything but easy. In order to be successful, Wooga needs to produce two hit games every year.
“left”]There to take on the challenge are more than 250 Wooga employees sitting in Berlin’s Mitte District. As we learned through an interview with Wooga’s Head of People Gitta Blatt, the game developer conducts a meticulous search for talent. The goal of this search is to create a team equally creative and analytical to take the company to the next level. From our assessment, this is not only to the benefit of Wooga: Blatt wants to make sure candidates are as sure about joining Wooga as the company is about hiring them.
From our visit with Gitta Blatt, here are five strategies Wooga uses to grow a strong and happy team:
1. A Detailed Recruitment Process
Sending in your application to Wooga is the start of a five-step recruitment process including a screening call, a test, an on-site interview and even a follow-up interview. The company also involves as many employees as possible in the hiring process. The final hiring decision is made with maximum employee involvement.
Blatt explains that Wooga has always spent a lot of time recruiting to make sure that each hire is a definite “yes”. “There is no such thing as ‘we’ll give a try,’” she says. In the past year, after hiring 120 candidates, Wooga had only two separations during a probation period. For Blatt, any such separation “is always a hiring mistake.”
2. It’s Not Only About Your CV
According to Blatt, we are moving quickly from using the classical CV to creating what she calls a “digital fingerprint”. The recruiting tool that Wooga uses reflects this trend. Applicants are encouraged to upload pdf attachments as well as any other attachments that demonstrate their work. Wooga wants to see how active its applicants are and what is motivating them. Experience counts but showcasing your network, passions and skills is also important.
3. “Fit over skill”
At Wooga, it is not only about skills but also about personality fit. Blatt explains that in order thrive in the games industry the company relies on creative and analytical diversity. “We think a lot about who we are looking for and about who is missing as a character and personality in the team,” she says.
Blatt tells us that, because of the independent nature of the company’s culture, it is also important for candidates to be self-assured and convinced that they themselves are a good fit.
4. Recruiting in the right places
40% of Wooga’s hires come from its network. The company prioritizes its referral program which gives out attractive prizes for successful referrals. According to Blatt, one family was able to earn an entire vacation through the program. Other channels include recruiting at universities, events and through headhunters.
5. Creating the right job description
Wooga knows that communicating realistic and attractive expectations will ensure motivated and suitable applicants. To reduce the likelihood of a recruit preparing for and going to an interview only to find out that the open position is much different than their expectations, Wooga spends time carefully crafting their job descriptions.
Last year, Wooga hired on average three people a week. Based on the current number of job openings on its website, the company is still experiencing high growth. Since Berlin is Wooga’s only office, this is certainly good news for job seekers hunting for an opportunity in Berlin.
Image Credit: Wooga