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- Comp & Benefits
- Work/Life Balance
- Senior Management
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
I worked at Valve Corporation full-time (more than a year)Pros
Valve offers extremely generous benefits and perqs, and affords employees high levels of trust to do whatever they need to be productive. It is a privilege to work with the folks at Valve because nearly all are exceptionally accomplished, competent and eager to build something great. The environment really encourages employees to be positive and to focus on work that will directly impact the customer. Productivity is rewarded in part by peer review which makes employees accountable to their team. Changing teams/projects is usually easy, and is usually each employee's own decision. Employee autonomy is inherent in Valve's process.Cons
Many of the ways in which Valve seeks to differentiate from other companies are not actually so valid. While it's true that Valve has no official job titles or promotions, compensation varies greatly among employees and many teams have an obvious pecking order. There is no formal management structure, but it's clear that some people have substantially more control over project direction and the work of others. Even though productivity is said to be the only metric that matters, people who are already connected or are accomplished social engineers will do just fine. Denying that all of these social forces are at work makes the problem intractable and difficult to even discuss.
For a company that makes so much money, Valve is surprisingly risk-averse. New projects, internal tools, dev infrastructure, and anything that doesn't contribute to a current product are met with disdain. Because teams are intended to be self-forming, it's rare that enough people will want to assume risk to all collectively embark on a new project. It's too safe and too profitable to just contribute to something that's already successful. Even though failure is supposed to be tolerated and even encouraged so that employees will try new ideas and experiments, there is little evidence of this. After a few rounds of bonuses, folks learn quickly what is rewarded, and what is not.
Valve's success has made folks arrogant, and this contributes to the problem of how new ideas are considered and discussed. Dogmatic thinking is actually common because people can always point to a great success in the past and use this to justify why everything should continue as it is. Some folks at Valve do not want the company to grow. Valve already has an incredibly strong profit/employee ratio. Why dilute it? This line of thinking crops up in project discussions as well, and causes many ideas to be dismissed because they seem too niche/unprofitable (at the time).Advice to ManagementAdvice
I think that funding separate companies would be the best way for Valve to invest in new/different product areas. Identify capable teams who already work together and let them make their own rules and set their own goals.
Be more honest about management structure. It will go a long way toward helping people make better decisions and will create more trust among employees.RecommendsPositive OutlookDisapproves of CEO
Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
- Application Details
I applied online. The process took 3 weeks – interviewed at Valve Corporation in March 2015.Interview Details
The interview process is very long and is in stages. I made it to the second stage.
After sending in my resume without a cover letter, since there is no specific area on their career page for localization and translations as is with their competitors, I received notification of their interest within a week. I was asked to complete a translation test within 24 hours into my "native" language (my native language is obviously English as noted on the top of my resume, so I asked which of my fluent, native-level languages to translate into, to which the recruiter replied quickly that I should do whatever felt most comfortable in.) I chose to translate into my two strongest foreign languages, which I feel extremely comfortable writing and translating in. Since this was a Monday and the test was timed, I had to quickly inform my grad school professors that I would be unable to come to class that day. I would have really appreciated doing the test on the weekend. However, when a job interview comes in you have to be flexible.
The test was 3 parts:
1. Write a business letter in English in response to a complaint and then translate said message.
2. Translate a short advertisement for a game on Steam called Peggle.
3. What is your opinion on Steam and how can it be improved?
Since the second element was an artistic and technical translation, I spent a bit of time doing research on the game and understanding how it works before getting started translating. Completing this test and then proofreading for 2 languages was time consuming and tiring, however I was proud of my translations (that's my profession after all) and confident.
Two days later I noticed they checked out my LI profile and the day after I received an email concerning a phone call to discuss opportunities at Valve. Over a week later, at their convenience, I had a phone-conference call at 4 PM with two guys. At the beginning of the interview, I could tell that they did not take me seriously as they joked the entire time and did not ask much about the specific professional and academic challenges that I have faced, perhaps because I am underestimated for being a female seriously interested in the video game industry or because I am only 26 and looking to start a career now and settle down somewhere to start my own life. I wish they would have been a bit more professional. Specifically, they only asked me one short question about my professional experience and focused mainly on overly-long problem solving questions (perhaps trying to fill their required 1 hour time requirement). Plus, the two guys interviewing me didn't sound very serious and actually hung up on me once as they were joking around.
I was informed the next day that they would not be continuing with the interview process. I simply felt that an interview should not be conducted this way and I felt very hurt afterwards. This makes me feel not as positively about Valve as a company and by effect their products. The main recruiter however is excellent and responds even on the weekend with updates. I wished him well and thanked him for his time and asked him to thank my interviewers for the one hour they took out of their schedules to talk to me.Interview Questions
No OfferNegative ExperienceDifficult Interview
- We are making a new controller for Steam and there will be some bugs when it first comes out, how would your respond/prepare for these extremely rare questions? Answer Question
Let us know if we're missing any workplace or industry recognition –
Valve Corporation keeps gamers moving full Steam ahead. Along with creating video games for consoles and portable devices from Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony, as well as for the PC, Valve also runs the industry-leading online game distribution, management, and social platform Steam. Popular Valve titles such as Half-Life, Portal, and Left 4 Dead are available on Steam, as well as games from publishers such as Electronic Arts and Ubisoft. Valve also licenses its Source game engine to game developers and others, and it provides gaming content to a network of cybercafes in...