Things We Look for When Hiring

illustration by Mike Annear

A few months ago, we posted an article that outlined tips for submitting a portfolio. Now that we’re ramping up for a couple projects, we’ve decided to take it one step further; What type of person is the ideal CloudKid?

Dave and I both graduated from the Studio For Interrelated Media (SIM) at the Massachusetts College of Art + Design. SIM is a concept-driven, critique-focused, and collaborative environment for artists. The program encourages students to identify concepts and to translate them to the most appropriate media for each idea. In any given SIM class, students present works ranging from spoken word to paintings to animation to everything in-between. The results can vary from amazing works of art to visual (and audio) noise, but this model creates artists who view art in a more well-rounded manner, can talk about ideas, and know how to work with others in a creative setting. The tools we picked up in SIM guide CloudKid’s underlying foundation, and while not every artist we hire will graduate from SIM, most of the qualities we saw in our successful peers guide our hiring decisions.

In addition, we are committed to being a small, nimble and highly efficient creative studio. In order to do that, we look high and low to find extraordinary people with an extraordinary range of talents and skills. We recently took a close look at all our employees and identified the qualities that continued to surface.

1. Versatility

Most animation or interactive studios require lots of specialization. We are no different. We have high expectations for our animators to animate, designers to design, and writers to write. However, where we differ is that we also place a high value on people with cross-over and versatile skill-sets. We don’t just hire an animator, we hire an “animator plus”, someone who’s not afraid of working with typography, loves to write or even play with sound. We encourage our employees to take on multiple roles and to learn, grow and stretch through our projects.

2. Drawing

Drawing is the fundamental vehicle for visual communication – especially for anyone working in the creative arts. Everyone who joins CloudKid has to draw, even our producers and programmers. We’re not necessarily looking for the next MC Esher (though it helps); instead, we expect that our employees can quickly sketch in order to communicate thoughts and ideas. We view these type of rough, loose drawings the life-blood of our creations. But, if you’re applying for an art or design position, we expect that you’ve mastered the fundamentals of drawing.

3. Ideas

A lot of people can draw, but there are few people who have truly great ideas. As much as we pride ourselves on generating a high-quality product, ideas are the foundation of it all. We are creative problem-solvers and we spend a lot of time thinking about concepts and how to transform words and thoughts into a real thing. It requires being able to come up with ideas on your own, contribute to a larger group, and provide feedback to make the project even better.

4. Passion

While work is work, you should feel a sense of excitement, curiosity, and love for animation, character-driven storytelling, and gaming. We hire people who truly love to create things. Sketchbooks, side projects, and personal experiments are often the best way to gauge a candidate’s passion. If you haven’t filled a sketchbook in the last year or created projects outside of work or school, it’s usually a red flag. We live by the saying: You can fake passion. You can’t fool us.