We usually don’t try playing the games in candidate portfolios. There’s a number of reasons for this.
First, running an untrusted game on either our work or home computer is usually a fairly serious security risk. One of the senior Axie Infinity developers famously allowed a North Korean hacker group access to their Ronin side chain because they opened a [compromised job offer PDF], which resulted in a hack loss of an estimated $600 million in cryptocurrency. My employers disallow workers from plugging USB devices into their workstations for the same reason. My workstation has that functionality completely disabled. It’s just too big a security risk.
Second, just about every candidate from the fresh grad to the most senior developer has games in their portfolio. For a junior position, we can easily have dozens of applicants. If I have twelve applicants for a junior role and I spend ten minutes per applicant game, that’s two hours of my work week spent not doing my other work responsibilities. Furthermore, there’s no guarantee that the time spent playing the game itself will necessarily show me what the applicant actually did. For example, if an experienced applicant primarily worked on endgame itemization in a MMOG, I likely wouldn’t be able to see their work in action even after weeks of play.
Instead, our interest in the games our candidates have worked on tends to be more focused on the decision-making process and their approach to doing the work. What challenges did they face when building the game? Why did they make a particular choice? What was their process for evaluating the possible options? These kind of questions and their answers are usually quite telling about the kind of skills the candidate will bring to the team. We’re looking to hire someone we believe will be able to do the work. A good candidate will be able to answer questions and talk us through their thought process with an expert in their field. We don’t necessarily need to play the game they made, we just need them to answer development questions about it.
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