This month Olatunji spoke with Natalia from WRKSHP, the makers of the mobile game Battle Camp. Read on to find out what Natalia has to say about hiring freelancers and how this practice helps to improve WRKSHPs work culture.
For some of our readers who aren’t familiar with your company – WRKSHP, can you give a brief rundown in about four sentences, and what you do for the company?
WRKSHP is an entertainment company that wants to build virtual worlds that expand the possibility of people’s lives. We value team-work, experimentation and speed and our 60-person team creates deep, beautiful and massively social experiences. We have developed over 55 top 25 applications in the App Store and our latest game, Battle Camp was the App Store’s Best Multiplayer Game and is a Top 100 Grossing App in 100 countries on iOS and Android. I specifically lead our Recruitment efforts and Human Resources.
Thanks, your company is notable for working with freelancers. What can you say informed/informs this culture at the WRKSHP?
We have a strong belief that innovation happens when you have diversity of ideas. Working with people all over the world with different life experiences and viewpoints is probably the simplest way to ensure you always have diversity of ideas. Our games are present in over 150 countries, so we want to have a team that is global as well.
With the understanding of the above, what are the specific traits you look out for in every freelancer you choose to work with?
I believe the main trait to have as a freelancer to be successful at WRKSHP is to be able to work independently and to ask for the information necessary, showing pro-activeness. If I had to boil it down to one trait I can only call it Ownership.
Follow-up question: Do you hire them on a long- or short-term basis?
We try not to bring on anybody we feel doesn’t have the potential to be with us a long time. That being said, we usually start with a short-term contract and see if they adapt to the culture and overall meet our expectations. If that’s the case, we offer them a long-term contract.
Can you kindly give us a quick sketch of your recruitment process?
Of course! Our process usually involves a test/exercise for the specific skillset that is required for the position, followed by a call with me. Depending on if the position will be full-time or on a freelance basis, we might also have the candidate do an interview with the team members and lead before deciding.
Were there structures, equipment, and processes that you had to put in place – from your side and the freelancers’ side as well – in order to facilitate an easier rapport and partnership with the freelancers?
A lot of the structures already exist. Programs like Slack, Skype, Google Hangouts, allow for global communication and ultimately working with anybody is about communication. All of the processes after that boil down to how frequently you communicate. It’s not that different from working with people in an office.
Over the years of working with freelancers, what would you say are the major benefits?
Their perspectives. So many people we’ve worked with have brought things to our attention we would have never thought of without them. It’s amazing how much their viewpoints and experiences can help.
Follow-up question: Are there downsides? How are you able to mitigate this/these?
Coordination and speed of communication are probably the biggest downsides. Sometimes you need something now and a person won’t wake up for five hours. Sometimes you want to talk to ask a person about something and they’re not available. Planning and communication can mitigate mist if that though which is why we promote open dialogues.
You’ve got some interesting games out already, would you care to tell us about major milestones of the games?
Battle Camp was THE milestone. Battle Camp signified the shift for us from creating fun games to massive interactive GAME WORLDS. There are lots of games on mobile but the real potential of mobile is connecting people. It’s creating scenarios and situations where people meet others, create lasting friendships, and even in some cases fall in love and get married. The milestones… we can talk about downloads and rankings and things like that but I’d say the biggest milestone for us was when people started marrying people they met in game because that means we created a world so immersive and interactive that people could connect in a deep and meaningful way. And our next steps need to be to create more worlds and connect more people and give them fun things to do together.
Thank you for the interview, Natalia, we wish you and WRKSHP the very best for your future and upcoming games!