Our Corporate Ambassador ustwo games is this week launching an internship programme and we’re delighted to share the thoughts and insights of the studio’s Head of People & Culture Julie Piedrabuena…
Attracting a diverse group of candidates to your internship programme – especially if you’re hoping to create social mobility opportunities for young people outside of established career pathways – is akin to promoting one of your own games: it requires a strategic, tailored approach, plus full transparency at all times.
For our own internship initiative at ustwo games we opened up the process to suggestions from our team, in addition to leaning in to the expertise of organisations such as IntoGames, Safe In Our World and the collective experience of the Women in Games community.
We’ve learned so much, so we thought it would be useful to share back what we believe are the most important considerations when it comes to making your internship programme fly…
- Create a clear job description
This not only helps potential interns understand their roles and responsibilities, but also provides insight into the specific skills they’ll acquire. Include the technologies and software they’ll be using, like Unity, Unreal Engine, Python, or C++, but remember that your candidates may not have full technical knowledge if a career in games is not something they’ve considered before. Additionally, indicate whether they will be engaged in designing, developing, or other areas of game production. If social mobility is one of your objectives, include information about why a candidate should consider a career in the games industry, and spend time outlining how the roles you’re offering fit into the wider ecosystem.
- Explain precisely what candidates will gain from the internship
For many students and young people outside of education, internships represent stepping stones towards a career in the games industry. Highlight the specific growth and learning opportunities your programme offers, such as mentorship, hands-on project involvement, and potential for job offers post-internship. What games will they be working on? What responsibilities will they be given? How can the work during the internship contribute to their course or portfolio? Emphase that these opportunities will attract aspirants who are enthusiastic about professional development.
- Showcase your awesome company culture
This is a big one, as those looking for internships will likely have multiple destinations to consider. Shed light on your studio’s work environment, values, and team dynamics. Showcase perks such as flexible work hours, diversity and inclusion policies, or team-building activities. Giving candidates a glimpse of your studio’s culture will not only make your internship more appealing, but ensure that you attract candidates whose values align with your own.
- Describe the networking opportunities your internship will bring
This one can be easily overlooked, but working within any industry can open up opportunities to mingle at events – and we have plenty of those within games! Perhaps include information on the opportunities your programme will offer for interns to meet and interact with other professionals, attend conferences, or work on collaborative projects with partners. This may serve as a powerful magnet for candidates looking to broaden their network.
- Be upfront about compensation and benefits
While the experience and learning opportunities are essential, do not forget to clarify details of remuneration, benefits, or perks. Our view is that unless an internship is paid, it can’t really be considered inclusive, so transparency in this aspect is essential. Also, be clear as to whether your internship provides accommodation or covers travel expenses. We feel that, where possible, interns should be able to avail of the benefits enjoyed by full time members of staff – this will create a greater sense of belonging and safeguarding among candidates. Clarity here will prevent misunderstandings down the line and will reflect positively on your organisation’s ethics and culture.
- Outline the application process and the candidate journey
Ensure that you outline the application, onboarding and experience processes before and after you engage with a candidate. Include information such as key dates, required documentation, and selection criteria. Make the process as clear and streamlined as possible, reducing barriers for potential applicants, particularly those with little or no experience of work and/or the games industry.
- If possible, present testimonials and success stories
Consider including testimonials from past interns – success stories can significantly enhance the attractiveness of your programme. They provide a realistic snapshot of what future interns can expect, building trust and enthusiasm among potential candidates, regardless of their previous experience. If this is your first internship programme, ask existing team members, former employees or external partners to provide insight into why candidates should choose your studio.
- Tell the world about your internship programme!
The above steps will help you position your internship programme effectively – then it’s all about reaching the right eyeballs to ensure those applications come flooding in! If social mobility is one of your objectives, then it will be crucial to reach beyond the established games industry recruitment channels. As a studio or publisher, you might have a large and engaged player community, many of whom will have ambitions to make games for a living – social media will be your friend here in terms of spreading the word, both organic and paid. There are also lots of specialist organisations you can partner with, as mentioned at the top of this article. And, of course, there are myriad Further and Higher Education institutions you can engage with, either directly or through a third party, in order to present your internship to ambitious and enthusiastic students and graduates.
Building and promoting your internship programme requires a holistic approach that not only highlights the unique opportunities of the role, but also resonates with the aspirations and needs of potential candidates. By focusing on clarity, professional growth, company culture, networking, compensation, simplicity in application, and engaging presentation, you can hopefully attract the top next generation of talent – and offer unique opportunities to people outside of the traditional games industry recruitment pathways.
ustwo games’ is currently seeking two interns for separate programming and design roles – for more information, click here.