Sunday, June 11, 2017

My experience at applying for a job at Ubisoft

I haven't talked much about this particular incident with many people, nor ever written about it, but here it is.

Disclaimer: This is not criticism against Ubisoft as a company. It's just a recount of my experience with one particular individual manager at Ubisoft Montreal, who was tasked to interview me.

This happened about 12 years ago or so. I had a good friend who was working as a lead developer at the time at Ubisoft Montreal, in Canada, and he had suggested, and I entertained the idea, that I would apply for a job there as well. Since I live in Finland, that would have been quite a change in my life. But I finally decided that what the heck; being a game developer was the dream of my life, and here was a golden opportunity to fulfill that dream. The opportunity was made even easier by the fact of having a connection inside the company, who could speak on my behalf, and if I got the job, would help me settle in. What more could I hope for?

So my friend arranged for me to have a job interview via phone.

The interview was less than stellar. The person on the other side (from what I understood, some kind of project manager) was not a native English speaker, and spoke with quite a heavy, and for me at the time a bit difficult understand, foreign accent. I, of course, am not a native speaker either, nor had an enormous amount of experience at speaking English out loud. And, it appeared, as much as I had sometimes difficulty understanding him to some degree, he had even more difficulty understanding me. (For example, for some reason, he could simply not understand the word "graph", when I tried to explain about my experience at programming tools for graph manipulation. It was a bit weird. I don't think that word is so hard to pronounce or understand...)

Anyway, after something like 20 minutes of somewhat painfully trying to wade through some basic questions, the interview was finally at its end, and he quite clearly and unambiguously stated that the job application procedures would continue from here, and that the next step would be an interview in person, meaning that I would have to go to Montreal for a live interview (Ubisoft paying the expenses). He made this quite clear, and there was no possibility of misunderstanding.

It turns out that saying that was quite a dick move.

I was fully expecting for it to happen. At the very least the live interview itself, if not getting the job and moving to Canada for the foreseeable future. I was fully mentally prepared to move to the other side of the world for this.

Weeks went by, and nothing. No emails, no phone calls, nothing. Weeks turned into months, and still nothing. Yes, in retrospect I should have contacted them after a few weeks, or after a month, and ask them about the situation (and nowadays I would absolutely not hesitate doing that), but back then I was younger and less experienced in life, so I just didn't. Stupid, I know, but I was younger and more naive.

So some months went by, with absolutely no contact, and then I had a conversation online with my friend (we weren't communicating all that often), and I mentioned about this situation, and he told me something along lines of "oh, they haven't told you? They decided not to hire. I though they would have told you." I understood from the rest of what he said that the manager had made the decision pretty much immediately based on the phone interview.

He never bothered even sending me an email to notify me.

Which is why I think it was such a dick move. From what I understood, that manager had decided immediately from how badly the phone interview had gone that he wouldn't hire me, even though he said otherwise at the end of the call, and he never informed me that there would be no live interview. Ok, I can give him the benefit of the doubt in that perhaps he wasn't thinking of it while the phone call was going on, and instead decided it afterwards; however, not even bothering to inform me was quite a dickish move. I literally lived for a couple of months fully expecting to move to Canada (or, at the very least, get a trip there for the interview.)

Yes, as said, I should have contacted them and ask, so I was being fool myself as well, but I think common courtesy would dictate for that manager to inform me that he had reversed his decision, rather than leave me hanging.

No comments:

Post a Comment