Whether we like it or not, we live in a judgmental society. Whether it’s an individual behind a Twitter account, a celebrity catapulted to fame through reality-television or a participant of The Jeremy Kyle show, we’re all inclined to judge them by using our past experiences and personal opinions as a springboard.
Fundamentally, it’s human nature to judge – it makes us feel secure, has the potential to protect us from danger, and is sometimes a useful ability within our daily lives. Employers, for example, can handpick interviewees from hundreds of applicants, making decisions and basing judgements on CV’s and application forms without stepping away from the laptop.
Is it reasonable, then, for employers to request minimum requirements? Earlier this week, Alex reported that Irrational are looking to hire a Design Manager that has worked on a title with an 85+ Metacritic score and asked, “is this wrong?” My response? Yes.[drop] As an A level student who is preparing to apply to University, the importance of good grades is being heavily emphasized, and probably rightly so. To attend the UK’s top academic institutions (20 “elite” universities in the Russell Group) a string of three A’s is less of a preferred requirement, and more a necessity. However, that doesn’t make it right.
There is no doubt that grades are important, but I believe that they are given too much weight. That’s not to detract from the achievement of anyone who has gained one – they’re still difficult letters to earn the right to place on your CV – but ultimately, they prove that you have learned a subject, can revise its content and then regurgitate it within an exam environment. They do not, and cannot, reflect an individual as a whole, yet judgements are still based upon them.
So applying similar logic, what does an 85+ Metacritic score represent in terms of the individual? It could very easily be argued that it means nothing – an individual does not, generally, make a videogame, and an employee who hasn’t worked on an 85+ scoring game may be in a far better position to take on the role of Design Manager than one who has.
It also creates a very fine line – how many potential candidates will refrain from applying because a single critic has dropped their Metacritic score below 85? In the past three months, 42 games have scored in the 80 to 84 range, so that’s a large pool of employees who have worked on critically acclaimed titles that won’t even get a chance to have their CV’s studied.[drop2]Then there’s the argument that a good Metacritic score doesn’t mean a good game – Diablo III currently sits at a score of 88 but has a user score of 3.8 and alternatively, The Amazing Spider-Man for the Nintendo Wii has a rating of 58 but a user score of 8.3. This brings up the issue of every number being a product of opinion, no matter how objective a reviewer tries to be.
Even though the majority of outlets use a rough scoring guide, there will always be small differences between each reviewer. This could result in subtle changes in score, and with a requirement of 85+, a subtle change may be all it takes to grant or deny you the opportunity to apply at Irrational.
My problem is that Irrational are making a very large judgement before a single curriculum vitae hits their inbox – that anyone who hasn’t worked on a title that has a Metacritic score of 85 or more isn’t good enough for them. I completely understand that it’s likely to be a position that’s in heavy demand, and it’s natural to want to filter “the good” from “the best”, but whether requiring a Metacritic score of 85+ will do that, I’m not too sure.