Should Managers Be Looking For Employees With Videogame Skills?

Does videogame savvy mean that they'll be a good worker?
Does videogame savvy mean that they’ll be a good worker?
Image Credit: Jennifer Gensch

When you think of someone who plays video games, what do you think of? If you are like most of us, you picture a young man with long stringy hair that is unwashed, perhaps wearing a flannel shirt, black jeans, and combat boots. This person probably doesn’t want to make eye contact with you and instead prefers to talk with his friends. It turns out that your image of a gamer is way out of date. First off, girls play video games also. Additionally, the video game universe has grown so much that video gamers now look like just about any young person that you might run into. This brings up an interesting point for managers: are video gamers the people that we should be hiring?

Who Are These Video Gamers?

The world is changing. What is starting to happen is that managers who work in a lot of different industries are starting to use their manager skills to take a closer look at candidate that identify themselves as being gamers. This can include having a background in both making and playing video games. What managers are starting to realize is that spending time playing these games has the ability to help potential employees with online collaboration, problem solving, and other types of critical workplace skills.

What managers need to understand is that today, more than ever, video games are very popular. There has been a much wider acceptance of the geek culture that video games first emerged from. Video games have become a part of everyone’s day as technology has slowly infiltrated just about everything that we do. At one time managers may have viewed video game players as being antisocial. However, these days listing video game playing on a resume may cause a manager to take a closer look at a job candidate.

The reason that managers are starting to become interested in adding video gamers to their team is because they have started to understand that video game players are the type of team members that a manager can just give a set of instructions to and they’ll go off and determine what needs to be done. This is not covered in any of the manager training that we are currently receiving. The reason that they can do this is because they have done the same thing as they have started playing each of the games that they were able to list on their resume.

Do Video Gamers Make Good Team Members?

It’s starting to look like video gamers may be a good fit for what managers are looking for. When hired, video gamers have shown that they can very quickly become familiar with a company’s software systems and then move on and start to help customers to use the same software. Video gamers have a high degree of trainability. A recent survey revealed that 24% of managers said that they were looking for entry-level candidates who identified playing or creating video games as a hobby. This is one of the things that managers believe sets recent tech graduates apart from each other.

Managers need to understand that there has been a type of cultural shift over the past 3-4 years. The attractiveness of gamers didn’t happen overnight, it is something that took a while to develop. One of the reasons for this shift is that video games have changed. What used to be simple “shoot ’em up” games have become a great deal more like work. Games have morphed into massive online multiplayer games that require players to do team building and work in teams to accomplish goals. Just as at work, players communicate using voice and online text tools. Job candidates can’t just say that they play video games. Instead, they need to show that their video game playing experiences are valuable to the company that they are interviewing with.

Playing video games has changed. What used to be something that we thought that people would go home and sneak off to the basements to do has become a part of everyday life. Playing video games is how a lot of people interact these days. Managers need to understand that playing video games allows job candidates to develop the soft skills that are so hard to come by. Video game players show up with problem solving skills. Additionally, they are adaptable to new situations and they are organized. The skills that video game players have developed can be applied to areas that have nothing to do with video games.

What All Of This Means For You

One of the most important jobs that a manager has is finding the right people to add to your team. It is our responsibility to be able to evaluate candidates and determine if they can do a good job. Lately, more and more candidates have been identifying video game playing as skill that they bring to the table. Managers have to be willing to understand what this means both for them and for their teams.

What managers are starting to realize is that spending time both playing and designing video games can help a job candidate to develop a set of skills that can be very useful in the workplace. Video games have gone from being something that a fringe group of people played to something that is everywhere being played by everyone. Managers are starting to become interested in job candidates that list video game playing on their resume because this shows that they are self-starters who can go off and do things once they are given instructions. Managers are getting interested in hiring video game players for entry level positions because they have shown that they have a high degree of trainability. Video games have evolved over the years from the simple shooting games to today’s massive multiplayer games that require cooperation between players in order to be successful. Manager have come to realize that playing video games allows workers to develop the soft skills that they need in order to be able to become an effective member of a team.

The world has changed. Managers need to understand that as they evaluate potential new team members, the ones who identify video game playing as a skill are the ones that you need to be talking with. The ability to play video games and do it well shows that the candidate has the ability to work with others in order to accomplish a shared goal. When you realize that this is exactly what we want our teams to be doing, then you’ll realize that perhaps the next person that you invite to join your team should be an accomplished video game player.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that it is possible for someone to be too much of a video game player to do well on a team?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As though you didn’t have enough else to worry about as a manager, it turns out that using your manager skills to keep your team together is an important part of what the company has hired you to do. We all understand that the people who make up your team are always getting calls from headhunters, suggestions from friends, and emails talking about great new jobs. None of this matters if they are happy where they currently are. However, if they start to become irritated with their job, then the chances that they’ll leave become greater. Do you know what could cause the members of your team to leave?