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Gabe Newell on How Valve Hires: Traditional Credentials Have Little ‘Predictive Value’

by Eric Frederiksen | January 6, 2014January 6, 2014 5:30 pm PST


Valve has developed a reputation as a great place to work for their flat structure and for the free atmosphere that lets its employees work on personal projects and suggest new directions for the company. Another part of the company’s reputation is its penchant for hiring from the mod community, turning mods like Counter-Strike into full, standalone games.

In an interview with¬†The Washington Post, Valve’s co-founder and Managing Director Gabe Newell talked about his hiring philosophy.

Newell says that “traditional credentialing doesn’t really have a lot predictive value to whether people will be successful.” Instead, he’s more interested in what you’ve actually done more than your qualifications for doing it.

“The fact that somebody has been able to build something and ship it and not get sort of bogged down and give up and then deal with the gush of responses you get, filter through that in a useful and productive way and iterate is really the core of product design and development in our world,” he says. He adds that most of those people get good grades and some some of the traditional predictors for success, but “it’s orthogonal,” meaning correlation isn’t predictive.

In the interview, Newell also speaks about letting employees work to their talents rather than fit their talent into a role, helping employees fit their family lives – pregnancies, emergencies – together with with their work lives, and how some people within Valve thought that Steam was a bad idea at one point. Check out the link below for the full interview.

And no, he didn’t mention¬†Half-Life 3.

Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...