Strong inte­rest in inter­na­tio­nal way of thin­king – Fin­ger­soft builds inter­na­tio­nal home


Because games are fun, crea­ting them should be enjo­y­able too. This is the ideo­lo­gy behind Fingersoft’s cul­tu­re and way of doing things. Fin­ger­soft is one of the most well-known names in the racing gen­re of mobi­le games. In 10 years, it has taken its place among the lar­gest game deve­lo­pers and publis­hers in Fin­land. What is behind this success from the HR pers­pec­ti­ve?

The­re is somet­hing fami­liar about Hill Climb Racing’s main cha­rac­ter Bill New­ton – the red-chec­ke­red flan­nel shirt, the backwards worn base­ball cap and so on. A simi­lar resemblance can be seen in the shirt worn by Alek­san­dar Lepo­je­vic during this inter­view. He has been wor­king as a 3D artist at Fin­ger­soft for two years now. He moved from Ser­bia to Oulu.

– In 2022 my stu­dio was clo­sing, so I was applying to jobs in and out­si­de of Ser­bia. Luc­ki­ly, I saw an ad on Lin­ke­dIn about an open posi­tion for a 3D artist at Fin­ger­soft. I remem­be­red playing way too much Hill Climb Racing in high school, so I was eager to apply.

Alek­san­dar had recei­ved job offers from Ger­ma­ny and the US, but after some research, he thought Oulu and Fin­ger­soft would be the best fit for him. With prior expe­rience living abroad, he was open to the oppor­tu­ni­ty.

– The rec­ruit­ment process was easy. We had a few inter­views and an art test, and wit­hin a few months I was alrea­dy in Fin­land. After comple­ting the paperwork, it took only a couple of weeks to get a work per­mit, and we were good to go. It was smooth, qui­te dif­fe­rent expe­rience from applying for a US work visa, which was pret­ty much more complica­ted.

Fin­ger­soft has 118 emplo­yees, approxi­ma­te­ly 20 % of whom are inter­na­tio­nal. They have had inter­na­tio­nal emplo­yees almost from the begin­ning. Howe­ver, the first rec­ruit­ment from abroad was comple­ted in 2020. Since then, they have rec­rui­ted people from 8 diffe­rent count­ries.

– The first case was the tric­kiest, not only because I didn’t have prior expe­rience in inter­na­tio­nal rec­ruit­ment, but also because the world was upsi­de down due to COVID-19. I had to turn eve­ry single sto­ne to push the rec­ruit­ment forward since the embas­sies weren’t open or they weren’t accep­ting new resi­dence per­mit applica­tions, HR Mana­ger Eli­na Yrt­tia­ho remi­nisces about that first case.

– When we final­ly mana­ged to get the new rec­ruits to Fin­land, they nee­ded to under­go the covid qua­ran­ti­ne accor­ding to the pro­tocol. We did their groce­ry shop­ping for them and tried to keep them enter­tai­ned some­how.

Cer­tain­ly, inter­na­tio­nal rec­ruit­ment has felt a lot easier after the COVID restric­tions and special cases.


Path to beco­ming a 3D artist

Alek­san­dar has always been inte­res­ted in digi­tal art. He star­ted out with an onli­ne forum, whe­re he drew ani­ma­ted stick figu­res figh­ting each other. He remem­bers that the­re used to be a big com­mu­ni­ty for that back in tho­se days.

– I ear­ned my bachelor’s degree in grap­hic design and wor­ked in various voca­tions, such as pho­to­grap­hy, ani­ma­tion, web design, and grap­hic design. Howe­ver, I always knew I wan­ted to work in the gaming industry. At some point I fell in love with 3D art and just never loo­ked back. Since then, I’ve wor­ked with THQ Nor­dic, Robot Enter­tain­ment, Chi­ne­se Room, Sumo Digi­tal, and Room8 on nume­rous pro­jects, pri­ma­ri­ly focusing on sty­lized art.

Game artists design the visual con­text of the game, which affects the gaming expe­rience and how success­ful the game can be. 3D artists use 3D grap­hics softwa­re to crea­te and design all the ele­ments and sur­roun­dings in the game.

– My role invol­ves crea­ting sty­lized worlds. We concep­tua­lize dif­fe­rent sce­na­rios for our games and then I bring them to life in 3D space. We try our best to make our worlds ima­gi­na­ti­ve, whi­le ensu­ring opti­mal per­for­mance on mobi­le devices, desc­ri­bes Alek­san­dar, explai­ning the work of visual desig­ners.

Open mind for diver­si­ty and lear­ning

Eli­na sta­tes that they have lear­ned new things from each rec­ruit­ment. She explains that by pro­mo­ting diver­si­ty at Fin­ger­soft, they sup­port crea­ti­vi­ty and pro­duc­ti­vi­ty. At the same time, they crea­te an atmosp­he­re of lear­ning from diffe­rent cul­tu­res and backgrounds.

– We have found great talents through inter­na­tio­nal rec­ruit­ment. The more diver­se our com­pa­ny is, the bet­ter we can crea­te fun games that are loved all around the world.

It’s tru­ly an advan­ta­ge to have inter­na­tio­nal talents, when trying to att­ract an inter­na­tio­nal tar­get audience. Dif­fe­rent pers­pec­ti­ves and cul­tu­ral bases crea­te more ver­sa­ti­le outco­mes – also when it comes to visual ideas.

Alek­san­dar apprecia­tes the amount of auto­no­my that they have in their work at Fin­ger­soft.

– In gene­ral level, we have an inde­pen­dent wor­king cul­tu­re, and we trust our people that they are specia­lists in their own field, and they are capable of making deci­sions that benefits their pro­ject and the com­pa­ny. Our people are expec­ted to take ini­tia­ti­ve and owners­hip of their work. We emp­ha­size the impor­tance of trust, res­pect and res­pon­si­bi­li­ty, Eli­na explains.

Are inde­pen­dence and trust emp­ha­sized more in the gaming industry or are they typical cha­rac­te­ris­tics of Fin­nish wor­king life? Pro­bably it is a com­bi­na­tion of gene­ral trends of Fin­nish wor­king life and free­ness of the gaming busi­ness.

– One thing that’s real­ly diffe­rent com­pa­red to Ser­bia is how qui­et the workplace is in com­pa­ri­son. Which was odd at first, but I have come to like it.

Has the so-cal­led Fin­nish qui­et­ness star­ted to kick in?

Mobi­le gaming is a nic­he with its own specia­lists

Fin­ger­soft has a mas­si­ve audience with over 2 bil­lion down­loads of Hill Climb Racing games. This crea­tes a solid foun­da­tion for adver­ti­sing their open posi­tions worldwi­de.

– Since our games have such a huge audience and they are well known all over the world, it makes rec­rui­ting easier. We par­tici­pa­te in the gaming industry’s rec­ruit­ment events such as the Games Jobs Fair and use other gaming industry speci­fic rec­ruit­ment plat­forms as well as social media to reach talents, Eli­na explica­tes.

Eli­na belie­ves that Fin­ger­soft con­ti­nues hiring both domes­tic and inter­na­tio­nal talents and stu­dents. Taking care of the newco­mers has a major impact on kee­ping the great talents on board.

– In the futu­re, I would like to imple­ment a Bud­dy pro­gram when rec­rui­ting from abroad. And of cour­se, we will offer the same inte­gra­tion pac­ka­ge as befo­re: paid flights, finding a fur­nis­hed apart­ment for the first couple of months, rent sup­port during the first months, full sup­port with all the bureauc­racy and offe­ring Fin­nish cour­ses.

Accor­ding to Eli­na the best advice for nai­ling inter­na­tio­nal rec­ruit­ment would be to sup­port the inter­na­tio­nal emplo­yee with all the bureauc­racy along the way and give assis­tance with sett­ling into a new count­ry.

– When the new hire gets help, they can bet­ter focus on their new job, and they feel secu­re. We orga­nize a Fin­nish class for all inte­res­ted expats since we think lear­ning Fin­nish will help with inte­gra­tion. The teac­her comes to our office once a week and our people can use their wor­king hours to learn Fin­nish. We also orga­nize casual events in which spouses are welco­me to find new friends and con­tacts.


Life in Oulu as a foreig­ner

Alek­san­dar feels that he has adap­ted well to life in Oulu by for­ming his dai­ly rou­ti­nes. He finds it amazing to see the city trans­form from sea­son to sea­son.

– Pros of living in Oulu would inclu­de natu­re, but also real­ly nice people and the bike cul­tu­re for sure. For cons, as someo­ne who comes from sout­heas­tern Euro­pe, the Novem­ber and Decem­ber night cycle can get pret­ty difficult. No real sun expo­su­re for that long some­ti­mes gets to me.

– I think the great thing about Oulu is that it’s just urban enough. You’re never more than a short walk away from natu­re, even though it has all the things you would expect from a city. 99% percent of people speak English, which is great, especial­ly in the begin­ning.

“Oulu is urban enough.”

The­ra are a lot of cul­tu­ral and art events, that Alek­san­dar likes as his favo­ri­tes.

– I go to the art museum pret­ty regu­lar­ly and visit the various small gal­le­ries around town whe­ne­ver they chan­ge reper­toi­res.

Being a mem­ber of the com­mu­ni­ty plays a sig­ni­ficant role in sett­ling in.

– The­re is a good inter­na­tio­nal com­mu­ni­ty in Oulu, but it can seem a bit scat­te­red. I would love to see the com­mu­ni­ty come toget­her more, which is why it’s great to have the Inter­na­tio­nal House Oulu the­re. I’ve been to a few events, and it’s been pret­ty fun. People seem to real­ly be down to chat the­re.

When Alek­san­dar is asked about the futu­re expec­ta­tions of the wor­king life in Oulu, he replies:

– I just hope things con­ti­nue as they are, to be honest. It’s been great so far.

Our ser­vices for com­pa­nies see­king inter­na­tio­nal talents

We here at Inter­na­tio­nal House Oulu assist com­pa­nies with fin­ding sui­table inter­na­tio­nal emplo­yees or interns through our exten­si­ve network of con­tacts. We speci­fical­ly tar­get inter­na­tio­nal talent alrea­dy living in Fin­land or Oulu. Busi­nes­sOu­lu’s job see­ker data­ba­se con­tains many indi­vi­duals with foreign backgrounds and exper­ti­se across various fields of busi­ness.

Addi­tio­nal­ly, we orga­nize rec­ruit­ment events and cam­paigns that your com­pa­ny can par­tici­pa­te in, for example, check out the free JobCor­ner. We also orga­nize infor­ma­tion ses­sions and coac­hing ses­sions on inter­na­tio­nal rec­ruit­ment.

For more infor­ma­tion con­tact:
Sal­la Hir­vo­nen,