Why video game tester job programs which make some people thousands of dollars leave others with a bad experience. And what determines when these programs are, and are not, right for you.
First, let’s look at hunting for a traditional job.
Take a step back and look at ways to seek traditional employment. There are different ways to look for work when searching for any job whether it be a secretary, sales representative, or plumber.
One way is do it yourself. Search on your own for job openings, write your own resumes, and visit each location (at the expense of gasoline or public transportation) to apply and attend interviews. At the end of the process you keep your full paycheck, pay no one else anything to get a job, and owe nothing to anyone once you have a job. This is the traditional way to obtain employment, and in many situations it’s still the best method today. One consideration if you collect unemployment benefits from a previous job, doing at least some of your job searching this way may be a requirement of the law where you live in order to not lose your unemployment benefits before finding a new job.
Another is work with a staffing agency or temporary employment agency. In this approach, they attempt to find employment for you from among hundreds of potential jobs. They may conduct your only interview or a small number of interviews, from which they gather the information needed to find the best matches for you among all the jobs in their database. They may also offer assistance in writing a master resume for their use, or a set of resumes from which they can select the best for each kind of job to submit to multiple companies.
Some agencies pay you, while charging the company needing workers both what you are owed and additional money to cover their fees. In this scenario, the agency is charging the business needing staff for providing workers as well as human resource management and other administrative services.
Alternatively, placement agencies and organizations which service freelancers may charge the job seeker: either a one-time fee per successful placement, or regular membership fees. One-time fees are more common among agencies providing permanent job placement, while membership fees are more common among providers of freelance work.
For example, freelance truckers can subscribe to services which give them access to hundreds of available shipping contracts they can select from. In this example, the agency aggregates and presents as many available contracts as possible to truckers for a fee; and leaves it up to the truckers to accept offers which best meet their personal, scheduling, and financial goals. Taxi drivers may have a similar arrangement with a dispatch agency which charges a regular fee for use of a branded name, the service of forwarding call-in customers to drivers, and possibly use of a vehicle specially equipped to serve as a taxi. Drivers in turn keep the money they collect from their passengers.
How are jobs as a video game tester different?
The answer is, they are not any different.
With game tester jobs your options are the same.
You can do it yourself. Using your own experience, deathknight, and training you can seek employment entirely on your own for free. You can search for opportunities using your own effort just as with any other kind of job. Directly contacting companies like Blizzard, EA Software, Konami, Riot Games, and others on your own will only cost you in your own time and resources. All you need to do is compete directly with other possibly more experienced game testers; some of whom may already understand what hiring managers will be looking for, be familiar with these companies, and have a broader set of experiences to build their resumes and portfolios from. You won’t have to pay anyone to compete directly against other applicants who may be able to respond faster, with more powerful qualifications, and a better idea of what matters and what doesn’t to perspective employers.