What Electronic Arts Looks For in Job Candidates

Electronics Arts is in hiring mode — to the tune of 600 people, roughly 40 percent engineers. If you’re headed to E3 next week, here’s how you can increase the odds of becoming one of the 600.

Nellie Peshkov, EA’s Vice President of  Global Talent Acquisition, told me what skills the company is looking for. In addition to the traditional jobs like artists, designers and producers, the company — like the entire game industry — is hot on engineers with digital talent, online and mobile expertise, or experience in analytics.

EA particularly likes jack-of-all trades engineers. The company’s games run on consoles, mobile platforms, online and on social networks, Peshkov says. So the broader the experience you have, the more interest EA will have in you.

Jobs EA is looking to fill include engineers experienced in Java, or digital analytics, Web developers and online product managers.

Your Strategy at E3

EA will have an army of executives and hiring managers in L.A. for E3, as well as a host of other employees, so you may want to lay out your strategy before heading to the convention center. Peshkov offers this advice:

  • Leave your resume at home. It’s hectic at E3 and it will be a challenge for a hiring manager to keep track of it.
  • Create a personal business card, and include a couple of bullet points about your skill set. Pass those out, instead of the resume.
  • Visiting EA’s booth is your best bet for connecting with the company. Job seekers should ask for an EA business card, which has a code on the back that they can scan to begin a dialogue. Additionally, Peshkov encourages candidates to query those manning the booth about opportunities at the company.
  • Executives and hiring managers may also be hanging out, and it’s worth it to engage them in discussions. If you happen to have a couple thumb drives with copies of your work, pass them out with your business cards.

The Art of Reading an EA Job Posting

Job postings that carry a substantial list of skills can leave job applicants wondering which of the skills are the top priorities. Peshkov says the first item listed isn’t necessarily the No. 1. All items on the list are important. “The best advice I an give is they should look at the responsibilities of the job and understand what skills are needed for that particular position,” she says.

It would be wise for to play EA’s games, too, and become familiar with their various platforms and genres, and let those be a guide for the positions you may want to apply for.

College Grad Advice

Even though college grads usually have zero professional experience, Peshkov notes the company “loves college grads.” For starters, most fit the age demographics of EA’s paying customers.

“The college grads should articulate which aspect of the industry they are passionate about, articulate the products they worked on in college, any internships they’ve done, and papers they’ve written,” Peshkov says. “They need to show they’ve done their research (on EA) and have a point of view of the kind of projects, direction or technology EA should be taking.”

Constructive advice, instead of a highly critical approach, is a winning strategy at EA. The company motto, Peshkov points out, is “Be Bold.”

Advice to Seasoned Pros 

EA wants you, too. So when you approach, identify your transferable skills. That’s it in a nutshell, and Peshkov herself is proof that it can work. Until arriving at EA, she had done talent acquisition, but never for a game company. “Skills like analytics at eBay or Yahoo are transferable to EA,” she says. “Analytics are analytics.”

Another must-have in your resume or cover letter: impact and results. Peshkov advises applicants to note the work they performed and, more important, how their work made an impact.

Comments

  1. BY Georgy says:

    What Nellie neglected to add it’s that they’re hiring at least 50% engineers with a similar skill set as all other game industry, mobile web services/Internet, and Saas companies. Everyone is looking for the same level of expertise! This includes strong C++ programming, or strong Java back end server or front end client programming along with Perl, Python, ACS, and narrow focuses such as Graphics, AI, Rendering, etc. They need solid programmers with 4-7 years mainly – this the key take away. EA is very picky but not competitive in the industry.

  2. BY Tom says:

    Interesting article, but why send it our on the last day of E-3?

    • BY Mark Feffer says:

      Hi Jon – We posted it to the blog on the first day, but thought EA’s insights were still worth sharing. Since the Advisor only goes out on Thursdays, I thought I’d include it.

  3. BY Just a programmer says:

    EA has a terrible reputation in the programming community. Most top coders won’t work there.

  4. BY Anonymous says:

    There are tons of open jobs that I applied for recently. I have tons of transferable skills and even a contact inside EA and I still have not gotten a response to jobs I applied for almost a month ago from the recruiters or HR department.

    Here is a word of advice, if you want hard working veterans to help make your company better, you should call them back for an interview in the first 2 weeks or they end up elsewhere, possibly with the competition.

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