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228. Nate Clauss, Get A Job In Gaming, New Level Recruiting, Esports Hiring
Episode 22813th May 2022 • Business of Esports • Paul Dawalibi
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In this episode, with special guest Nate Clauss (Managing Partner & CEO of New Level Recruiting), we discuss New Level Recruiting, hiring and headhunting for major companies in the gaming industry, finding the right people for esports, the state of jobs in the video game world, the reality of recruiting in our industry, working for Riot Games & PUBG, and so much more!

Transcripts

Paul Dawalibi:

From the keyboard to the boardroom, this is the

Paul Dawalibi:

business of esports.

Paul Dawalibi:

From the keyboard to the boardroom, this is the business

Paul Dawalibi:

of esports podcast. I am Paul the profit that will lead me.

Paul Dawalibi:

I'm joined today by my friend and co host, The Honorable Judge

Paul Dawalibi:

Jimmy Bharata. For those of you who are new here, welcome to the

Paul Dawalibi:

official podcast of esports we do is we cover the most

Paul Dawalibi:

pressing, gaming and esports topics news of the week, we look

Paul Dawalibi:

at all of it through a business and C suite lens, dissect. We

Paul Dawalibi:

analyze the business implications of everything

Paul Dawalibi:

happening in this industry. For our regular listeners. Thank you

Paul Dawalibi:

guys for tuning in every week. Thank you for all the love the

Paul Dawalibi:

five star ratings and reviews. If you haven't yet, go leave a

Paul Dawalibi:

like review on the podcast, share it with your friends and

Paul Dawalibi:

your colleagues. We know the business of esports is

Paul Dawalibi:

everywhere. I'm sure you see it everywhere. But sharing it with

Paul Dawalibi:

a friend who maybe hasn't seen it. It's really appreciate it or

Paul Dawalibi:

leave a review and tell us how much you love it. That's also

Paul Dawalibi:

appreciated. Jimmy, how you doing this week?

Jimmy Baratta:

Having a great week, Paul, how about yourself?

Paul Dawalibi:

Crazy week? I mean, I thought it would be a

Paul Dawalibi:

little bit less than saying now that you know, we've been back

Paul Dawalibi:

from all these conferences and you know, things would settle

Paul Dawalibi:

down at home. But this is what people miss about conferences.

Paul Dawalibi:

The time requirements, like the time investment, I should say,

Paul Dawalibi:

is not just it's never just the conference itself. Right? It's

Paul Dawalibi:

the conference and then the 10s if not hundreds of hours of

Paul Dawalibi:

follow ups afterwards, right? Like if you've done the

Paul Dawalibi:

conference, right? You've met a bunch of people, you've made a

Paul Dawalibi:

bunch of new connections, they all lead to phone calls and

Paul Dawalibi:

meetings and zooms and God knows what. And so the time

Paul Dawalibi:

investments never just that week, it's usually like two

Paul Dawalibi:

weeks after that also,

Jimmy Baratta:

not to mention catching up on the work that you

Jimmy Baratta:

had to put aside or hold off on to go to these things. So you're

Jimmy Baratta:

talking three times as much work honestly. So it's fun, it's

Jimmy Baratta:

great, better, better to be busy than not. I remember, you know,

Jimmy Baratta:

when I was an independent contractor when I was just

Jimmy Baratta:

getting into esports. And I would wait around all week for

Jimmy Baratta:

that one call or that one meeting, you know that that your

Jimmy Baratta:

My call with you, by the way was one of those, you know, that was

Jimmy Baratta:

like the biggest thing I had that day the only thing I had

Jimmy Baratta:

that day and I was so excited for it. And you know, it's great

Jimmy Baratta:

unfortunate to be in the opposite opposite position,

Jimmy Baratta:

right? Or it's just not enough time in the day.

Paul Dawalibi:

It's one of those things where this is why I think

Paul Dawalibi:

there are some people who just go to like every single

Paul Dawalibi:

conference there is and there's nothing necessarily wrong with

Paul Dawalibi:

that. But why I tell people of course very humbly, you should

Paul Dawalibi:

only attend gaming, crypto, Metaverse, web three, whatever

Paul Dawalibi:

conference that you're into, where the profit of esports is

Paul Dawalibi:

speaking, because that's where you're gonna get maximum value.

Paul Dawalibi:

And this is what you know, where you should really be focusing

Paul Dawalibi:

your time and energy. I may be a little biased there. But you

Paul Dawalibi:

know, well, I hope you're not teasing either a little too much

Paul Dawalibi:

on what we have up our sleeves here. But maybe we should change

Paul Dawalibi:

the subject while we're changing the subject. We do have

Paul Dawalibi:

something up our sleeves. So stay tuned. Definitely something

Paul Dawalibi:

up our sleeve. But good segue. Because we do have an amazing

Paul Dawalibi:

guest who I don't want to keep waiting. Absolutely. You know,

Paul Dawalibi:

we keep every week after week, they just keep getting better,

Paul Dawalibi:

and better and better and better. And today is no

Paul Dawalibi:

different. We have none other than Nate Klaus, who is the

Paul Dawalibi:

founder and CEO of new level recruiting. Nate, welcome to the

Paul Dawalibi:

business of esports podcast. I thank you for having me. Nate,

Paul Dawalibi:

for our listeners who don't know about you maybe don't haven't

Paul Dawalibi:

heard about new level recruiting. We'd love a little

Paul Dawalibi:

bit of your background, how you got into gaming know why you did

Paul Dawalibi:

and a little bit about what you guys are doing at New Level

Paul Dawalibi:

recruiting.

Unknown:

Yeah. Let's see. Shall I start with my gaming history?

Unknown:

Yeah, of course. So, you know, funny enough, I just had been a

Unknown:

gamer my whole life played Counter Strike from when it was

Unknown:

a HalfLife mod I remember seeing it at a friend's house and had

Unknown:

been playing it ever since played through the 1.5 1.6 days,

Unknown:

and then fell hopelessly in love with World of Warcraft. Played

Unknown:

Vanilla WoW. And then fell in love with Starcraft and you

Unknown:

know, just played a ton of games and then ultimately quit while

Unknown:

when Cataclysm got announced and fell in love with League of

Unknown:

Legends. And so I remember I was at a Starcraft two tournament

Unknown:

with a friend when I saw league on a side stage for the first

Unknown:

time and I remember being like, what is that a Dota knockoff?

Unknown:

And then of course, years later, I ended up working at Riot and

Unknown:

join them as the first technical recruiter for Riot esports team

Unknown:

and Then as built in, these are hiring all the engineers that

Unknown:

built like while esports.com When you watch leak through the

Unknown:

stream theater, the live stats that go on. So hire those

Unknown:

engineers and then ended up taking over the larger

Unknown:

engineering or Well, taking over the larger recruiting team for

Unknown:

Riot esports. So did hiring for that, then fell in love with a

Unknown:

little game called pub G. and caught the bug for the battle

Unknown:

royale side of things and ultimately got a message from

Unknown:

their CEO asked me to help stand up US operations for them and

Unknown:

help them scale up their publishing in the US. And then,

Unknown:

you know, a little game called fortnight came around. And you

Unknown:

know, what I had seen it both riot and, and pub G was just on

Unknown:

the internal talent acquisition side, a real lack of recruiting

Unknown:

horsepower that really understood the gaming and

Unknown:

esports space. And so I set out to create a firm that would fill

Unknown:

the gap that I wish existed when I was on the internal side. And

Unknown:

so now, four years later, I've been lucky enough to work with

Unknown:

esports organizations, you know, various game devs, and

Unknown:

publishers and have even done a little bit of dabbling outside

Unknown:

of the gaming space. And most recently, this past year, it's

Unknown:

just been a ton of blockchain game stuff, as you can imagine,

Unknown:

there's just heaps of money being thrown into that world by

Unknown:

venture capital funds. And so we partner with various VCs that

Unknown:

are quickly trying to educate themselves on games. And so I

Unknown:

often end up playing nerd to English translator for some of

Unknown:

the VCs and helping them then find leaders for these companies

Unknown:

that they're giving 10s of millions of dollars to.

Paul Dawalibi:

It's a fascinating story. First of all,

Paul Dawalibi:

great tasting games, I must say, I mean, wow, very close. And

Paul Dawalibi:

very near and dear to my heart. I also played CS when it was a

Paul Dawalibi:

halflife model, though, I think I'm quite a bit older than you.

Paul Dawalibi:

But talk to me a little bit about recruiting in, like, let's

Paul Dawalibi:

start with a bit of your history. Talk to me a little bit

Paul Dawalibi:

about recruiting at Riot and pub G in the sense that I feel like

Paul Dawalibi:

you were there in the biggest boom times essentially, of those

Paul Dawalibi:

games, right, like, with League, and then pub g, where I feel

Paul Dawalibi:

like with pub G, that that business like they couldn't hire

Paul Dawalibi:

fast enough, right. Like they couldn't fix the game fast

Paul Dawalibi:

enough. They couldn't hire fast enough. Like what give me a

Paul Dawalibi:

sense of the hiring environment and the challenges around hiring

Paul Dawalibi:

in sort of this explosive explosive growth phases.

Unknown:

Yeah, so I mean, Riot, obviously a riot it was, it was

Unknown:

an interesting time, because this was during riots, hiring

Unknown:

air era where, at least at the riot esports organization, if

Unknown:

you didn't leave League of Legends, we couldn't hire you.

Unknown:

And so it actually was really difficult and challenging. I

Unknown:

remember we were running efficacy or not, yeah, efficacy

Unknown:

studies on the recruiting pipeline of how many people were

Unknown:

putting through. And at that point, it was r&d and esports,

Unknown:

that had the lowest pass rate. Because, yeah, and a lot of it

Unknown:

was because of the outside of just what you can do for your

Unknown:

job requirements that we required, which was that you had

Unknown:

to have some passion for the gaming and esports space. And so

Unknown:

obviously, that led to a lot of the issues that you know, have

Unknown:

come out since and, you know, if you are only hiring people into

Unknown:

your team that are hardcore gamers are hardcore, hardcore,

Unknown:

esports fans, that's a pretty small slice of the total folks

Unknown:

that you can hire. And, you know, I think we saw that,

Unknown:

luckily, I know, since then, there has been quite a bit of

Unknown:

change on that side of things to riot benefit. And, you know,

Unknown:

they've been able to bring in a bunch of great folks. But I

Unknown:

mean, it was to the point when we were recruiting it, right,

Unknown:

where we couldn't post certain jobs, because we couldn't get

Unknown:

back to get to everyone that would apply. And what you never

Unknown:

want to do is like, have someone apply for a job and not have

Unknown:

enough time to get back to them, tell them quickly, like, Hey,

Unknown:

I'm sorry, like, you're not a fit, because those are people

Unknown:

who are also passionate players of your game. And, and one thing

Unknown:

I will say about riot is like they do a really good job of

Unknown:

like, sticking to their values, like they really do care about

Unknown:

players. And, you know, they, it's because a lot of people are

Unknown:

big gamers at that company, that it's such a big focus. And so,

Unknown:

you know, obviously, a lot of the people that you're talking

Unknown:

to an interviewing are passionate players of your game,

Unknown:

and so gotta make sure you're treating them well,

Paul Dawalibi:

too. Can we touch on? Yeah, I want to touch on one

Paul Dawalibi:

thing you just mentioned around the passion and you know, that

Paul Dawalibi:

being a specific criteria around hiring. I was just, you know, I

Paul Dawalibi:

was just very fortunate. I teach at St. Peter's University, the

Paul Dawalibi:

business of esports and they asked me to come back for like a

Paul Dawalibi:

career day to talk about the industry and And the question I

Paul Dawalibi:

think I get most often from students is, you know, I'm super

Paul Dawalibi:

passionate about the games and gaming, how do I get a job in

Paul Dawalibi:

gaming? Right? And I think I made a comment, something to the

Paul Dawalibi:

effect of passionate for gaming sort of feels like the baseline

Paul Dawalibi:

in the industry. Like, it's such a that's such a desired industry

Paul Dawalibi:

to work in, right? I don't think I've met people who work in

Paul Dawalibi:

gaming, who are just like, men, that gaming thing, like, that's

Paul Dawalibi:

cool. But no, I don't really play or something like that

Paul Dawalibi:

really, guy. I've met very few people that don't, aren't really

Paul Dawalibi:

passionate about the games also. Right? So do you feel it's the

Paul Dawalibi:

baseline? Or are you starting to see increasingly, people who

Paul Dawalibi:

maybe have never played the game don't care about gaming? Like,

Paul Dawalibi:

if I'm taking the argument to the extreme here?

Unknown:

So for an entry level role, you're absolutely right,

Unknown:

you have to have some kind of passion for game to get in the

Unknown:

door. Because if not, you know, there's a million other people

Unknown:

that also have no experience or little experience and are more

Unknown:

passionate, but I will say there's an inverse correlation

Unknown:

between most roles and seniority and likelihood of being a gamer.

Unknown:

And so interesting, industry wide, I wouldn't say I mean,

Unknown:

when you go recruiting for other people, I think is the is kind

Unknown:

of what you think about. And so oftentimes, when I'm talking

Unknown:

with companies, they come to me, because we do work in a small

Unknown:

space, and they'll tell me, Hey, Nate, we know all the people who

Unknown:

can do this job that are endemic in this space, and we're not

Unknown:

really impressed with or, you know, we have already

Unknown:

interviewed them and, and we need someone who is outside of

Unknown:

games currently, but might not put on their LinkedIn profile

Unknown:

that they've played World of Warcraft for the last 10 years.

Unknown:

Got in. And so, you know, the difference is, is that there's a

Unknown:

lot of firms out there that will go out then talk to people and

Unknown:

someone will be like, Well, yeah, I play WoW. My favorite

Unknown:

one is I interviewed someone before and they said they played

Unknown:

a bunch of World of Warcraft and I asked them a border Alliance

Unknown:

and they said, I love making alliances. And you know, it's,

Unknown:

it's kind

Paul Dawalibi:

of what made for you hoarder Alliance. Sorry, I

Paul Dawalibi:

played both. You can you can be on the fence.

Unknown:

or freeze back in the day because your ward was Opie.

Unknown:

And then, when we started a guild, in classic WoW, I

Unknown:

maintained through the whole thing as a tauren warrior. And

Unknown:

we killed, killed Katie, Burning Crusade came out. And I'm like,

Unknown:

I'm running a company. I can't play him anymore.

Paul Dawalibi:

But interesting, I want to just follow this line

Paul Dawalibi:

of thinking. And sorry, Jimmy, because it's something I talk

Paul Dawalibi:

about and hear about all the time. One of the reasons I got

Paul Dawalibi:

into gaming was I looked at the industry, and I felt like a lot

Paul Dawalibi:

of the people operating in the space running companies or

Paul Dawalibi:

executive level, while may be passionate about the games,

Paul Dawalibi:

weren't necessarily the most seasoned business people, or

Paul Dawalibi:

maybe right for the role. It's interesting that the companies

Paul Dawalibi:

now are sort of asking you to look outside of the industry, or

Paul Dawalibi:

that that is a trend.

Unknown:

Like sales, I would say sales and esports is big one,

Unknown:

like, folks, I mean, the company that did this first, and

Unknown:

probably arguably one of the most success for successfully

Unknown:

was when I talked with 100 Thieves, they were actually our

Unknown:

first client because and so we ended up hiring their executive

Unknown:

producer who makes all their content and and Maddie Lee, who

Unknown:

was their VP of partnerships, and is now their CRO, and I

Unknown:

remember John told me he's like, we need people who understand,

Unknown:

you know, the digital media space. And we don't think that

Unknown:

you know, partnerships are done very well in in esports as it

Unknown:

stands today, and so we ended up taking Maddie from barstool and

Unknown:

so barstool and this was again like four years ago now, and,

Unknown:

and he had a little bit of, you know, understanding of the

Unknown:

gaming space that he wanted to do more for barstool and he was

Unknown:

running into barstool CEO and, you know, having make it harder

Unknown:

for him to sell partnerships. And so, and now Maddie has gone

Unknown:

on to absolutely crush it for and in the content side of

Unknown:

things isn't doing too bad for 100 Thieves either. So they were

Unknown:

an early success story that, you know, my firm has got to point

Unknown:

to a bunch of times or not. Now, I think we've placed like five

Unknown:

or six leaders over there now.

Paul Dawalibi:

Oh, wow. YEAH. Jimmy sorry. I cut you off.

Jimmy Baratta:

No. Yeah. I mean, so I mean, this is a perfect

Jimmy Baratta:

segue, honestly, because Nate would love to hear I mean, you

Jimmy Baratta:

mentioned right, you're mentioning the 100. Thieves

Jimmy Baratta:

would love to hear more about the companies that you are

Jimmy Baratta:

working with working for. And I think we could do it as they

Jimmy Baratta:

come up. But we'd love to hear different needs are different.

Jimmy Baratta:

Not just cultures, but you know, what, what is important to a

Jimmy Baratta:

developer versus what's important to an esports team

Jimmy Baratta:

when it comes to hiring, you know, as Paul mentioned with his

Jimmy Baratta:

students in me with mine and And we get it all the time on the

Jimmy Baratta:

show from our listeners, everyone, you know, is excited

Jimmy Baratta:

about the industry, there's a lot of opportunity. But a lot of

Jimmy Baratta:

people are uncertain how to position themselves, what really

Jimmy Baratta:

makes them qualified or what they should be looking for. So

Jimmy Baratta:

we'd love to really get into the nuts and bolts here of, of what

Jimmy Baratta:

you're seeing on the, on the client side of things when

Jimmy Baratta:

you're dealing with such amazing clients that you represent.

Unknown:

So, I mean, all in all, I mean, it's, it's been

Unknown:

interesting, it's been year to year. So I will say the last

Unknown:

year has been everything blockchain gaming, which is

Unknown:

probably no surprise to anyone. But I would say when we started,

Unknown:

you know, three and a half, four years ago, it was during the era

Unknown:

of like, oh, shit, esports teams need to make money. And so I

Unknown:

mean, we're working with a ton of different teams. I mean, we

Unknown:

placed Jordan, who's the CEO of immortals, we worked we had on

Unknown:

the podcast, but yeah, Jordan is great guy. And we have worked

Unknown:

with TSM on a bunch of different positions. You know, we've

Unknown:

worked with 100 Thieves we've worked with in our G,

Unknown:

complexity, tribe, gaming enthusiast, our VP, Rachel is

Unknown:

the former head of recruiting for evil geniuses. And, and a

Unknown:

lot of, I mean, I would say last year was big on the talent,

Unknown:

agency side of things. And so we helped place the head of TSM.

Unknown:

Agency, we've brought in some sales folks for loaded as well

Unknown:

as attr. It's been all over the place. And then on the game

Unknown:

developer side, we've worked with three or four of Microsoft

Unknown:

Studios. So we've worked with Gears of War with the initiative

Unknown:

with I'm forgetting the studio name, but it's the folks that do

Unknown:

Age of Empires. And then we also come from the internal side of

Unknown:

recruiting. So I think that's probably a big difference. And

Unknown:

something worth chatting about is like, most of the time, third

Unknown:

party agency recruiters just like hire people, and never have

Unknown:

to see them again. And I'll tell you working right was a trip

Unknown:

because anyone that I hired, I sat within 10 feet of or, you

Unknown:

know, well, in the engineering side, within 10, the room got a

Unknown:

little bit bigger when we're hiring for the entire esports

Unknown:

team, but definitely within like, you know, 3040 yards. And

Unknown:

there's something about that, where like, the people that are

Unknown:

in the room that you see everyday and care about, if you

Unknown:

make a bad hire, like could really, you know, mess their day

Unknown:

up. And so I like hiring people that have had to work

Unknown:

collaboratively and have had to work internal before and kind of

Unknown:

like, see their hires do well or do bad compared to the agency

Unknown:

folks that might not have ever met that person before. And, and

Unknown:

also, I think it's a little bit of a different partnership when

Unknown:

you're hiring for the same person for a long time. And I'm

Unknown:

proud to say that majority of our work is from former clients

Unknown:

or from clients that have been referred to us by people that

Unknown:

we've made placements for. And so it's, we definitely take a

Unknown:

longer term approach. And so a lot of what I've done now is

Unknown:

just hired a lot of my former colleagues from Riot and friends

Unknown:

from that I knew from the industry, and now we're kind of

Unknown:

on the Hired Gun side.

Paul Dawalibi:

How crazy is the game developer market right now?

Paul Dawalibi:

They it because you got you mentioned, right? You have all

Paul Dawalibi:

these hundreds of millions, billions of dollars, I think I

Paul Dawalibi:

don't even remember the number. But we talked about it on meta

Paul Dawalibi:

business, which, by the way, everyone should go subscribe to

Paul Dawalibi:

that podcast, that, you know, VCs have poured billions into

Paul Dawalibi:

blockchain gaming, just in the last quarter, nevermind the last

Paul Dawalibi:

year. We also have seen, you know, developers break off from

Paul Dawalibi:

their, you know, triple A studio that they were at to go start

Paul Dawalibi:

their own studios. So this feels like there's this really sort of

Paul Dawalibi:

aggressive market for game development talent. I'm just

Paul Dawalibi:

curious, maybe give some color, like how crazy is it right now?

Unknown:

Insane. And, and they're and they're raising

Unknown:

more, I mean, it, it is so nuts that it will take them multiple

Unknown:

years to deploy all the money that they have. So I mean, they

Unknown:

are I mean, and also just to give some context to I mean,

Unknown:

even when I started four years ago, when a company would get

Unknown:

like a seed stage band funding, they'd get like a million or

Unknown:

two. Now I'm seeing companies getting like, almost, you know,

Unknown:

$10 million seed rounds. And so it is it's just absolutely nuts.

Unknown:

And so, we've been lucky to partner with a16z with convoy

Unknown:

with Lightspeed ventures on some of like their investments and

Unknown:

you know, talking with their companies, we've also talked

Unknown:

with like makers, and actually just wrapped up a search today

Unknown:

for Knight ventures and or sorry, I love Knight ventures

Unknown:

and all the stuff they're working on. It's essentially

Unknown:

like, Knight is the company that may niches like Mr. Beast, and a

Unknown:

lot of the other big influencers out there. And their venture arm

Unknown:

essentially matches companies with their with potential or

Unknown:

with influencers that can help with their reach. So, Mr. Beast

Unknown:

burger is an example of that, like, company that wants to put

Unknown:

out food paired with Mr. Beast now has like way more reach than

Unknown:

they would have otherwise,

Jimmy Baratta:

real quick, because you'd mentioned startups

Jimmy Baratta:

in in the difference in seed rounds in just a couple of

Jimmy Baratta:

years. How's that correlating to the salaries that you're seeing

Jimmy Baratta:

offered for different level positions, executive positions,

Jimmy Baratta:

director level positions, entry level positions? Are they all

Jimmy Baratta:

going up as well? Or what can you tell us about how

Jimmy Baratta:

competitive those those offers are?

Paul Dawalibi:

Yeah, don't give Jimmy too many ideas here.

Unknown:

I mean, if you're you're getting, I mean, probably

Unknown:

10 messages a day to get paid twice as much as you were like

Unknown:

two years ago. Now. So I mean, the gameplay engineering market

Unknown:

right now is so insanely difficult. I mean, whereas when

Unknown:

I was at Riot, we were getting a, I mean, it could be like, a

Unknown:

30 to 40. Or it could be like a 20 to 40% response rate, and

Unknown:

maybe like 10% of which was positive. Now we're getting now

Unknown:

and this is across all companies from, you know, all the various

Unknown:

big tech companies, you probably don't want me to say they're

Unknown:

exactly who they are. But let's just say like, the average now

Unknown:

is like a 2% or less response rate. So I mean, if you're

Unknown:

sending 50 customized messages a week, you might be getting, you

Unknown:

might be lucky to get on the phone, one engineer that you get

Unknown:

to talk with, not even necessarily put into into

Unknown:

process. So they have huge teams of recruiters working on this

Unknown:

mean for prospective epic was under 40 recruiters last year,

Unknown:

and now has over 120 Riot tutors, Riot is trying to add

Unknown:

almost 3000 people to their company this year, it is insane

Unknown:

how much recruiting is going on right now in the space. And so

Unknown:

the it's actually been kind of weird, because now recruiters

Unknown:

are like the new engineers, they're really hard to find. And

Unknown:

like, so finding good, you know, talent acquisition folks right

Unknown:

now is really difficult it already was because typically

Unknown:

good talkers, and not very many actually know what they're

Unknown:

talking about. So, yeah, it's it's been I mean, I would say

Unknown:

that, across the industry, things have gone up, we actually

Unknown:

participated in a comp analysis with a16z, where essentially,

Unknown:

all the firms are working with compiled their, like rough

Unknown:

numbers on you know, what folks are getting paid across the

Unknown:

industry, and you get like a blind data report from that. And

Unknown:

it's crazy. Even the small seed stage companies are having to

Unknown:

fork over serious dollars to get people in the door.

Paul Dawalibi:

Wow. Was Was any of this part of the impetus for

Paul Dawalibi:

you to sort of go out on your own? Like, what, what made you

Paul Dawalibi:

decide to go from, you know, spending years in house,

Paul Dawalibi:

essentially, to being on the outside? Then, you know, like a

Paul Dawalibi:

hired gun, I guess? Yeah, I

Unknown:

mean, it was honestly, I mean, I just saw firsthand

Unknown:

working at Riot and pudgy that there would be these big pushes

Unknown:

for hiring and there was no one externally that we can rely on.

Unknown:

I mean, my big requirement, whenever you reach out to a

Unknown:

candidate should be that you get 100%, customized message. I'm

Unknown:

sure everyone listening or in both you guys have horrible copy

Unknown:

paste messages that you get from recruiters in your inbox, like,

Unknown:

there's no reason people would ever want to respond to that we

Unknown:

have an internal Slack channel for my team of just surprised

Unknown:

messages that we get back from candidates of like, oh, my gosh,

Unknown:

you actually took the time to read my profile and like, and

Unknown:

it's like, it's these things where you're like, why don't we

Unknown:

this should be the standard, but it gets us a much better

Unknown:

response rate, and it doesn't earn the brands of the companies

Unknown:

that we're representing. And obviously, it just kind of puts

Unknown:

the human element back into things as well. Like if you just

Unknown:

treat people well, surprisingly, things work out good because of

Unknown:

new revolutionary concept in recruiting. But I mean, the

Unknown:

reality is like no one goes to school to be a recruiter. So

Unknown:

it's I imagine, you know, there's tons of professions out

Unknown:

there where there's lots of people doing it, but not very

Unknown:

many good ones. So,

Jimmy Baratta:

so can you share more about why I mean, these

Jimmy Baratta:

companies are, like you said tripling or more, just the

Jimmy Baratta:

recruiting departments. What are the benefits of go of

Jimmy Baratta:

outsourcing? If you could explain that a little more

Jimmy Baratta:

detail, the personal touch, you mentioned with some of these

Jimmy Baratta:

emails that you guys are sending, would love to learn

Jimmy Baratta:

more about what's making you guys successful working for

Jimmy Baratta:

clients that have their own departments that are also

Jimmy Baratta:

recruiting internal?

Unknown:

Yeah, I mean, Microsoft's a great example. All

Unknown:

of my counterparts on the Microsoft side are Managing like

Unknown:

50 to 70 RECs simultaneously. So there's no way if you're

Unknown:

managing, I mean, if there's no way that if you're managing that

Unknown:

many searches, and by the way, they're not unique. It's the

Unknown:

same way for a lot of the other studios that we work with, like,

Unknown:

their internal recruiters are, essentially you only have time

Unknown:

to look at inbound applicants, and even then they're making

Unknown:

sure that hiring managers are aligned, doing a lot of the

Unknown:

like, hardcore, you know, frontline work that you have to

Unknown:

do to make sure that everyone that's going to be on your

Unknown:

interview, interview loop is aligned on exactly what you're

Unknown:

looking for, because of like, interviewer a and interviewer B

Unknown:

wants something different out of that role. Doesn't matter how

Unknown:

many candidates you put through, they'll continue to fail. And so

Unknown:

that's, you know, when we can come in and hyper focus on one

Unknown:

role, or even have a team of people working on one role. It's

Unknown:

just something that most internal teams don't have

Unknown:

bandwidth for, or don't have the expertise for.

Paul Dawalibi:

How much do you How much time do you spend Nate

Paul Dawalibi:

like cultivating the supply side? If you want to call it

Paul Dawalibi:

that, right? Like, because obviously, you work with clients

Paul Dawalibi:

who ask you to go fill roles, yet, but you know, how much of

Paul Dawalibi:

your time is spent? You know, Jimmy's unhappy, Jimmy reaches

Paul Dawalibi:

out to you like, Hey, I'm looking for something new, like,

Paul Dawalibi:

keep me in mind? Like, how much are you cultivating the supply

Paul Dawalibi:

side.

Unknown:

Um, I mean, it's hard for me to cultivate the supply

Unknown:

side, just because our searches are so drastically different.

Unknown:

Like, for example, I'm doing executive producer search for a

Unknown:

game company in Vietnam right now. And they are looking for

Unknown:

someone who will relocate to Vietnam. And so I'm looking for,

Unknown:

you know, folks that are in the Asia Pacific, first and

Unknown:

foremost, like, it really just kind of depends on, you know,

Unknown:

who we're looking for, and where and so because each person

Unknown:

searches are unique, I just, I, we do fresh research every

Unknown:

single time,

Paul Dawalibi:

sort of maintain a database of people you know,

Paul Dawalibi:

who are looking or, obviously, there'll

Unknown:

be searches that come up more often like sale searches

Unknown:

in the esports and gaming world, right. And so if if, whenever we

Unknown:

get those searches, I'm like, great, I know, who I've talked

Unknown:

to. But the problem is, is that every company has their own

Unknown:

flavor of what they're looking for, it could be the same

Unknown:

search, but one company might want someone from traditional

Unknown:

sports and other might want one from digital media. And so

Unknown:

there's really, I'm always personally very skeptical of the

Unknown:

folks that are like relationship recruiters and like, here's my

Unknown:

rolodex of people. Because I think those people usually just

Unknown:

end up rotating their hires to different companies every two

Unknown:

years. Whereas like, I'll go out and be like, Okay, you're

Unknown:

looking for someone that has this type of pedigree, like we

Unknown:

have a whole research organization. And then we have

Unknown:

folks that actually know what they're talking about that or

Unknown:

like reaching out to these folks and getting them on the phone

Unknown:

and talking with them. And that's, you know, really my

Unknown:

executive team when I'm leaning on them for and where

Jimmy Baratta:

are you finding these candidates? I mean, is it

Jimmy Baratta:

largely LinkedIn? Are you going on to indeed, and Glassdoor?

Unknown:

I mean, it really depends again, on like, where

Unknown:

they're at, right? Like more creative folks, you're gonna

Unknown:

catch on all kinds of different platforms. I mean, LinkedIn, I

Unknown:

will say, is still the largest one, if you want. I guess my PSA

Unknown:

that I should say is like, if you want to make it easy for

Unknown:

people to potentially offer you bigger and better jobs, update

Unknown:

your LinkedIn profile. And And also remember who your audience

Unknown:

is, like most recruiters are glorified keyword matchers. They

Unknown:

don't know anything about your job. They don't really know what

Unknown:

makes you successful. And so giving them a quick synopsis of

Unknown:

what you actually do and what your company does, will help

Unknown:

explain it to someone who might not otherwise know and can help

Unknown:

you increase your chances of being selected as someone who

Unknown:

could be a fit for whatever job they're looking for.

Paul Dawalibi:

Nate, would you add is such a great advice.

Paul Dawalibi:

would you add anything on to that? If I asked you like,

Paul Dawalibi:

what's the message for people looking to break in? Because,

Paul Dawalibi:

again, this is a question Jimmy, and I get all the time well, as

Paul Dawalibi:

someone who places people in jobs every single day, right,

Paul Dawalibi:

like what is the advice for people wanting to break in

Jimmy Baratta:

it? Some of the keywords? Sorry, I want to add

Jimmy Baratta:

to that post some of the keywords as well that you

Jimmy Baratta:

mentioned.

Unknown:

There's no silver bullet on this. I will say

Unknown:

Eunice over at InLight. Gigi is one of the best offerings I've

Unknown:

seen for folks that have absolutely zero experience and

Unknown:

are looking to break into a specific niche because she's

Unknown:

offering like courses that will give you real life experience

Unknown:

there. So shout out to Eunice. But, you know, I think other

Unknown:

than that, like really just getting experience in a parallel

Unknown:

industry. I mean, more and more. We have to go outside of folks

Unknown:

that are currently in the industry to to fill these roles.

Unknown:

And so, like I said, if you're interested in a social media

Unknown:

type position in the esports world, go to a digital media

Unknown:

space or a digital media company and do something similar, and

Unknown:

then just have the passion for games to transfer in but it's

Unknown:

There is so much more competition at the entry level

Unknown:

roles to get into our space that like, just being passionate

Unknown:

about the space isn't isn't enough.

Paul Dawalibi:

Nate, what keeps you up at night in terms of the

Paul Dawalibi:

business? Right? Like, what are what are some of the big

Paul Dawalibi:

challenges to your business?

Unknown:

I mean, I've been very lucky on the business

Unknown:

development side, there's obviously not a lot of folks

Unknown:

that specialize in executive placements across the gaming and

Unknown:

esports space. And I think our competition deserves their air

Unknown:

quotes when they that so I guess I mean, because I'm a business

Unknown:

owner that has 23 people on my team now, you know, the thing

Unknown:

that keeps me up at night is making sure that there's

Unknown:

business for us all to work on. But I'm very bullish on what

Unknown:

that looks like, for the next three years, at least, I don't

Unknown:

my crystal ball doesn't go further than that. Right now.

Unknown:

But I mean, I just see gaming continue to expand. And there's

Unknown:

so much investment in our space, and even some of the big tech

Unknown:

companies out there investing more and more on what the

Unknown:

metaverse will look like. And, I mean, we've just done a ton of

Unknown:

work in that space. So that's, that's probably the honest like,

Unknown:

what keeps me up. But I do think the blockchain NFT space will

Unknown:

have a very similar cycle, to what esports had, there'll be a

Unknown:

ton of dumb money that gets poured in, and there will be

Unknown:

bodies and wreckage and then they'll be a correcting, which

Unknown:

we're starting to see on the esports side of things as well,

Unknown:

that some of the low effort orgs are starting to die off. And,

Unknown:

you know, some of the games that were propped up, that were bad

Unknown:

from the beginning, can't sustain their leagues anymore.

Unknown:

And so I imagined blockchain gaming will kind of have a

Unknown:

similar deal. But what I'll tell you is the scariest part is how

Unknown:

many finance bros are at the tops of these blockchain gaming

Unknown:

companies, they're not gaming people. And that's, that's been

Unknown:

the biggest pushback that I've gotten from recruiting. It's

Unknown:

been like, who's running the company here? Like, these

Unknown:

people, actually, gamers. And so that has been kind of the thing

Unknown:

that I've been sniffing out every time I'm talking with

Unknown:

these companies is like, tell me about your background? What do

Unknown:

you know about making games? And, you know, some of them are

Unknown:

honest, and they're like, Look, I've and and then and, you know,

Unknown:

it's all just kind of a we want to build something that people

Unknown:

can speculate on. And then there's other people that are

Unknown:

like, hey, I really see this as like, you know, the the benefit

Unknown:

of being able to, you know, have a game asset that people can

Unknown:

take away and sell it on the secondary market. And as a

Unknown:

hardcore Tarkoff player, you know, I, I see the potential

Unknown:

there as well, I think interoperability of, of game

Unknown:

assets is a pipe dream. And I've from all the engineers that I've

Unknown:

talked to, they just laugh when they hear about that. I mean, if

Unknown:

you think about it, there's so much stuff that engineers

Unknown:

already have to do just for their game, the likelihood that

Unknown:

they're that a company would ever spend time to make sure

Unknown:

that someone else's assets from another game will work in their

Unknown:

game is just, the entire ecosystem would have to be

Unknown:

different for that to be that kind of interoperability to be

Unknown:

incentivized. So I think we're while up from that is my two

Unknown:

pennies there, but I do I mean, I'm definitely not down on

Unknown:

blockchain. I think it's super interesting. But man, what a

Unknown:

tough week we're having on the holders of the blockchain money.

Paul Dawalibi:

I mean, I when we were I was speaking at crypto

Paul Dawalibi:

Bahamas, and Jimmy was there with me two weeks ago now. And I

Paul Dawalibi:

think what I said was controversial in that room,

Paul Dawalibi:

because it was mostly finance people, not gaming people. And

Paul Dawalibi:

it was like, Hey, guys, the games need to be fun, right?

Paul Dawalibi:

Like, we can't start with like 12 slides on your token and your

Paul Dawalibi:

economics. And then one slide on by the way, we're going to make

Paul Dawalibi:

a fun game. And then 12 more slides on tokens. You just kind

Paul Dawalibi:

of glossed over the hard part

Unknown:

there. Which I I mean, it is kind of sad to me that

Unknown:

land sales are the new Kickstarter. Yeah. Because like,

Unknown:

that's essentially what you're buying when you buy land and

Unknown:

someone's game. It's a Kickstarter, because and you

Unknown:

hope that your Kickstarter, I mean, don't get me wrong. You

Unknown:

can see or wait, actually, I don't have gloom Haven over

Unknown:

there. gloom Haven, great Kickstarter, lovely for games.

Unknown:

But, you know, I think with a lot of these game companies out

Unknown:

there that are raising tons of money with land sales, it's

Unknown:

like, I'm very skeptical. It's kind of like whenever someone

Unknown:

says to preorder EA games, I'm like, don't do it. Don't do it.

Unknown:

Because they mess up every Star Wars game and, you know, as as

Unknown:

someone who has a lightsaber in their office, like, you know, I

Unknown:

just, you want to see what you're buying before you buy it.

Jimmy Baratta:

I got like five lightsabers right behind me.

Jimmy Baratta:

instead of not doing much hiring for EA, then,

Unknown:

you know, we would absolutely be happy to I mean, I

Unknown:

and I just personally am again, fully box side of things and,

Unknown:

and for what it's worth EA is taking their licks from that

Unknown:

hole. I mean, if you think about that that era was like, I mean,

Unknown:

when I was at right, so I guess, like five years ago now, I mean,

Unknown:

I think they've made a lot of smart changes since then, to

Unknown:

their credit. And I mean, for what it's worth is a recruiting

Unknown:

powerhouse. Like they they really do a pretty good job, I

Paul Dawalibi:

think, can you talk a little bit about, you

Paul Dawalibi:

know, one of the things I'm seeing in the news just in the

Paul Dawalibi:

last few days with the markets, you know, not being pretty awful

Paul Dawalibi:

over the last few months and potentially going into a

Paul Dawalibi:

recession here. Where are you on this argument? Because you get

Paul Dawalibi:

this unique perspective of what the hiring, you know, sort of

Paul Dawalibi:

market looks like? Do you see gaming in general esports may be

Paul Dawalibi:

specifically taking a dip over the next call it two years, if

Paul Dawalibi:

markets sort of soften the way it looks like they've been

Paul Dawalibi:

softening?

Unknown:

I don't think so. I mean, I don't know if we'll get

Unknown:

the same boost that we got through COVID. Right. Like

Unknown:

everyone, every other industry seems to be taking a hit. But

Unknown:

gaming benefited,

Paul Dawalibi:

oh, hiring slowed down in your mind, or do you

Paul Dawalibi:

think because so many companies are flushed with cash, like,

Unknown:

it's hard to say, what I will say having been in other

Unknown:

main, briefly, when I started my career, I started in aerospace

Unknown:

and defense executive recruiting. And it was just kind

Unknown:

of the end of like, 2008 recession. And what I've seen at

Unknown:

the executive level, for better or worse is that hiring doesn't

Unknown:

really stop. Companies have to innovate when the market sucks,

Unknown:

and they have to innovate when it's doing really well. And

Unknown:

leaders turn over or switch jobs during that time. Either way. I

Unknown:

think there might be some scaling down. But like I said,

Unknown:

there's hundreds of millions of dollars that are getting

Unknown:

deployed by venture capital funds right now into the gaming

Unknown:

space. And so I, I mean, it's very likely that, you know, at

Unknown:

some point, if there's a downturn that that that tap gets

Unknown:

slowed down, but on the other end, I mean, the have already

Unknown:

raised this money. And now it's really just about deploying it.

Unknown:

And so I don't think there'll be done deploying it for a couple

Unknown:

of years from the folks that I've talked to.

Paul Dawalibi:

Jimmy, I don't know if you have any other

Paul Dawalibi:

questions before we move on to everyone's favorite, favorite

Paul Dawalibi:

new segment. I'm ready. I'm gonna keep saying it's

Paul Dawalibi:

everyone's favorite new segment, even though it's not new. It's

Paul Dawalibi:

like it's like four months old.

Jimmy Baratta:

But it is everyone's favorite segment. So

Jimmy Baratta:

many people that love this part of the show. I'm happy. We're

Jimmy Baratta:

doing it happy you guys enjoy it. So for

Paul Dawalibi:

new listeners, this is Judge Jimmy's cross

Paul Dawalibi:

examination with what's going to happen here. Jimmy's going to

Paul Dawalibi:

ask Nate five or six rapid fire questions. We're looking to get

Paul Dawalibi:

some insight into who Nate is as a person as a gamer? A little

Paul Dawalibi:

bit sort of behind the scenes. Look at me here. So judge Jimmy,

Paul Dawalibi:

take it away.

Jimmy Baratta:

All right, Nate. First question? What game are

Jimmy Baratta:

you currently playing? Oh, Tarkoff. How many hours would

Jimmy Baratta:

you say you play a week?

Unknown:

Oh, I got to plead the fifth on that.

Jimmy Baratta:

Good, good. What's your go to gamer snack or

Jimmy Baratta:

drink?

Unknown:

Ooh. I mean, if it's late night talk about and I

Unknown:

would say drink if we're trying to keep it healthy. We've got

Unknown:

the liquid. Oh, it's unfortunately it's called

Unknown:

Lacroix per the company. But it's definitely shouldn't be

Unknown:

liquid. As a French

Paul Dawalibi:

speaker, there's not Lacroix.

Jimmy Baratta:

Let's see here. If you could go back to school.

Jimmy Baratta:

What class or major would you pursue

Unknown:

computer science degree? Oh my god. My job is

Unknown:

trying to find engineers for people for different companies.

Unknown:

If you're listening to this right now and you haven't

Unknown:

decided get a computer science degree, just work 30 hours a

Unknown:

week and make more money than anyone else. It's like, dude,

Unknown:

just do it. Do it again.

Paul Dawalibi:

Such a good answer.

Jimmy Baratta:

All right. Let's see last one here two parter.

Jimmy Baratta:

This is my favorite. What's your favorite ninja turtle and your

Jimmy Baratta:

favorite Power Ranger?

Unknown:

Oh, Donatella Red Ranger Donatella obviously both

Unknown:

deaf and been Red Ranger because I have a five year old son and

Unknown:

he's deep on the current power ranger iteration is like this

Unknown:

dinosaur crossover

Paul Dawalibi:

it's really hard to iteration I'm even though Oh

Paul Dawalibi:

yeah.

Unknown:

I mean, I will give them they've always been

Unknown:

multicultural and you know got a shout out to Power Rangers for

Unknown:

that. But really, I mean, good catch up.

Paul Dawalibi:

best selection of Ninja Turtles.

Jimmy Baratta:

I totally Yeah, I can tell by Paul's smile. how

Jimmy Baratta:

great this answers were how great the episode was.

Paul Dawalibi:

Wow player. Of course he's gonna pick the best

Paul Dawalibi:

Ninja Turtles.

Jimmy Baratta:

Oh, that's it for the cross back to you, Paul.

Jimmy Baratta:

Thanks,

Paul Dawalibi:

mate. For those of you who want to follow you

Paul Dawalibi:

what you guys are doing maybe follow new level recruiting or

Paul Dawalibi:

reach you for whatever reason, how do you want to be followed

Paul Dawalibi:

reached found 90 of

Unknown:

our entire industry seems to be on Twitter. So I

Unknown:

have a Twitter, it's made 362. And if you ever have any

Unknown:

questions about like, you know, companies and who to get in

Unknown:

touch with if you're looking for a role, or just general hiring

Unknown:

advice, or even, you know, if you're a job seeker you have,

Unknown:

feel free to email me, It's Nate at New Level recruiting, but the

Unknown:

ease are removed and level. So it's in Ew, LVL recruiting.com.

Paul Dawalibi:

I love it. I mean, I think so many of our

Paul Dawalibi:

listeners, so many people I know who listen, are either building

Paul Dawalibi:

startups in the space. Definitely encourage you guys to

Paul Dawalibi:

reach out to Nate, if you're looking for, you know, hiring

Paul Dawalibi:

help. I think what you guys are doing is so great. And, you

Paul Dawalibi:

know, proof that the industry is continuing to explode. I mean

Paul Dawalibi:

that you don't get sort of any more resounding proof than that.

Paul Dawalibi:

So they thank you so much, Jimmy, thank you. As always, for

Paul Dawalibi:

our listeners, just a couple of reminders. Don't forget, every

Paul Dawalibi:

Wednesday evening 8:30pm Eastern time we do a live stream to

Paul Dawalibi:

cover all the news from the last week. It's a big task. The best

Paul Dawalibi:

part is you get to get in my face and challenge me and ask

Paul Dawalibi:

questions. And it's a lot of fun, though. It's a live show

Paul Dawalibi:

every Wednesday evening. 8:30pm Eastern Time everywhere you get

Paul Dawalibi:

business of esports content. And don't forget to follow business

Paul Dawalibi:

of esports everywhere. So on Instagram on tick tock on

Paul Dawalibi:

Twitter or on LinkedIn on YouTube. Literally, we have a

Paul Dawalibi:

presence on every single platform. It's either busy

Paul Dawalibi:

sports or business of esports. And good reminder to go

Paul Dawalibi:

subscribe to metta business. It's our sister podcast or

Paul Dawalibi:

brother podcast, covering the business side of the metaverse

Paul Dawalibi:

in web three. So really appreciate you guys listening.

Paul Dawalibi:

Don't forget, the future is fun. We'll see you next week.

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