Keywords Studios
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Keywords Studios Employee Reviews

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3.0
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Amazing workplace to start working in the industry, not to stay
KWS is an amazing workplace to start working in the industry, amazing with capital "A", but after more than 3 years, the lack of insurance and stability, make first party QA much more attractive to the experienced tester.
Pros
Can be really relaxed often, schedule flexibility possible, anyone can enter
Cons
No benefits, no insurance, even most experienced testers gain close to minimum wage
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Official response from Keywords Studios
3 March 2020
Hello, and thank you for your review. We are glad to hear you found Keywords to be A-mazing!

While most positions are on-call at the beginning, about half of the workforce at Keywords Studios Montreal are on permanent contract, and approximately 75% are on long term projects. Scheduling is done according to each employee’s provided availability. Staff members can provide any availability they choose, offering reduced availability can result in reduced hours.


Keywords is especially proud to promote from within; all Level 3 employees moved to permanent positions in the past year. The ratio of permanent staff continues to increase, as it has over the past decade.


Once they become permanent employees, testers are given three options of benefits plans at different price points, and may choose the one that suits them best. Multiple benefit plans were considered, and the program was revamped according to employee feedback.


In addition to these benefits, we are proud to offer employee perks including a discounted mobile phone provider, bike share program, gym discount, coffee, refillable OPUS station at the office, happy hour parties, summer and winter parties, event ticket and game giveaways throughout the year, and free fruit every day.


Thanks again for your feedback. We think the Keywords staff is pretty A-mazing too.
5.0
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Did the interview process where you translate an article from a game
Did the interview process where you translate an article from a game.
The transition was fine, it was Risk-II but lost touch with the recruitment team and never got the job
Pros
Email communication
Cons
Communication isn't perfect
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4.0
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Environnement relaxant mais stimulant.
L'environnement est propice à une évolution calme et gratifiante de votre carrière bien qu'étant une entreprise travaillant par contrat, il n'y a pas de garantit d'un nombre d'heures stable annuellement.
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Official response from Keywords Studios
22 April 2020
Bonjour et merci pour vos commentaires. Nous sommes ravis de savoir que vous trouvez votre emploi de testeur gratifiant. Bien qu'il soit vrai que certains nouveaux postes soient sur appel, plus de la moitié de nos employés ont désormais des contrats permanents. Le nombre d'employés permanents continue de progresser chaque année.

Merci de nous informer que la culture d'entreprise de Keywords vous plait, ainsi que le salaire et les avantages. Nous continuons d'offrir plus d'avantages aux employés, avec entre autres des fruits frais, ainsi que des réductions sur des abonnements au gym, des plans d'abonnement téléphonique, Bixi, des restaurants et plus encore. Vos commentaires sont importants à nos yeux et nous sommes impatients de continuer à croître ensemble.




Hello, and thank you for your review. We are glad to hear that you find your position as a game tester gratifying. While it’s true that many new positions are on-call, more than half of the staff are now permanent employees. The number of permanent employees continues to increase, each year.


Thanks also for letting us know that you enjoy the workplace culture at Keywords, as well as the pay and benefits. We continue to offer employees more benefits, including fresh fruit, discounted gym memberships, cell phone service, Bixi, restaurants and more. Your feedback is valuable, and we look forward to growing with you.
2.0
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Très mal payé et heures supplémentaires obligatoires!!
Payé au salaire minimum pour un travail a temps plein et heures supplémentaires (fin de semaines ou soirs) obligatoires sinon une note au dossier est ajoutée.
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4.0
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Nice workplace, slow management
Not a bad work day. Enjoyable, coffee and water machines around, nice eating areas, etc. Depending on what you're doing and what day it is, you can either be super busy or super bored. Management and HR are nice, but bad at communicating a lot of the time.
Pros
Advancement, cozy office, flexible hours
Cons
Slow to communicate, stagnant and super busy periods
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Official response from Keywords Studios
3 March 2020
Thanks so much for taking time to share your thoughts. We are glad you found your time with Keywords enjoyable overall. It’s true that the volume of clients requests can fluctuate day to day. Keywords’ staff comfort is important to us, hence the cozy office space, and multiple break rooms with the coffee, water machines, vending options and free fruit.

Employee-wide communication is an ongoing process that we continue to hone, and for which we value feedback from employees, such as yourself.


Thank you for also sharing with us that you appreciate the flexible hours, room for advancement, and the HR and Management teams overall.


We wish you the best with your future career.
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1.0
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The more you care, the sadder it gets
- Salary is low, and planning appears to give less hours if you get a salary upgrade.

- It is impossible to know if you'll get work before the very day before and your schedule may be switched between day and evening on a weekly basis, leaving any possibility of adapting your sleep out the window. It is possible, and even likely, to end not be receiving any work for days.


- Training, while paid, ended up useless as the first project I've been assigned to required completely different methodologies. As an employee, you get shifted around projects often on a day to day basis, requiring you to constantly adapt to different requirements right after training.


- The best, and only good part of the job, is the other employees, it is very easy to get friends with everybody since everyone clearly have a passion for games. Even if you'll often end up never seeing them again as they put you on another project...
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Official response from Keywords Studios
24 February 2020
Hello, and thank you for your review.

We are glad to hear that you are enjoying the friendships you’ve made at Keywords. While staff are scheduled according to project needs, and not who their friends are, Keywords Montreal organizes events throughout the year to give everyone the opportunity to socialize outside of work; summer and winter parties, Halloween and St Patrick Happy Hour events, tournaments, as well as the private Star Wars screenings and Esports Central event late last year.


The Level Up program has been implemented to offer built-in growth and salary increase opportunities for Keywords Montreal team members. In terms of scheduling, both permanent and fixed term contracts (often 6 months) are based on clients’ needs, as well as the quality, availability and desire of Testers.


Sorry to hear that you did not find Training to be helpful on your first project. You may be pleased to learn that Just last week, we were able to grow the FQA Training program from 3 to 4 days! Training will now cover more ground, and help new Testers be better prepared for a variety of project need.


We hope this helps address some of your concerns. If there is anything else you would like to discuss, we encourage you to share with your leadership or the relevant department.
1.0
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Some very nice and friendly people but not a good job, that's for sure.
It would be nice place with better salary and management. At this point I wouldn't recommend. It is a waste of time. LQA department is slightly better.
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Official response from Keywords Studios
10 February 2020
We appreciate you taking time to share your thoughts and would like to invite you to meet with your local HR team about concerns you have. We truly care about our employees' experiences and hope you will take time to share your thoughts in more detail, in person.
4.0
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Relaxed working environment
Good working environment. Relaxed atmosphere , no tension of dress code. Level up program is really good. You can have meetings with mangers on how to improve yourself. Very good company for freshers to start there career.
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Official response from Keywords Studios
10 February 2020
We appreciate your feedback, thank you! We are very proud of our teams in Montreal and the hard work that is being done to make our employees' experience the best it can be.
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4.0
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good coworkers
Amazing coworkers from different countries, low salary, joyful and fun environment. The workload was not really stressful. I generally enjoyed working there.
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Official response from Keywords Studios
13 January 2020
We appreciate your feedback and your time spent at Keywords. Thank you!
2.0
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Friendly environment
They have a friendly environment but everyone there makes you feel like you are surrounded by people with no goals in life. it's too gloomy and it feels like you cant affort any mistakes.
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Official response from Keywords Studios
20 November 2019
We are sorry to hear you had a negative experience while at Keywords. We'll pass this feedback on to our management teams. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and we do wish you the best.
1.0
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A Sweatshop disguised as a Progressive Tech company
Keywords Studios' goal is to acquire multiple service lines around the world, strip them from all benefits and essentially turn themselves into THE premiere Sweatshop of the video games industry.

I have worked in multiple departments within the company (FQA, Console Certification and Virtual Reality).I was mainly a Certification Tester throughout my employment, and I cannot stress how anti-worker the company is.


If you're familiar with Rockstar/Riot/Activision/etc in the news, expect the same expendable/harassing treatment from management throughout your employment.


Certification Testers are paid the ABSOLUTE minimum and not compensated extra for their extensive commitment to their department. As individuals who are verifying titles for end-user release for Microsoft/Nintendo/Sony/VR, we were constantly spoken down to and threatened for talking about workplace conditions.


Speaking of conditions, the Virtual Reality department is the biggest offender in my opinion. I am not sure if they have improved the lab, but when I was working there, we were squeezed closely together using VR headsets and constantly hitting each other with no solution in sight. Furthermore, the lab is literally unfurnished with concrete flooring, just desks and PCs with carpet only situated for management. I am pretty sure the CNESST would have a field day with the room.


Do what I did, get your experience and find a company that would actually appreciate you.
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Official response from Keywords Studios
11 October 2019
Hello and thank you for taking the time to provide your review.

We are very sorry to hear that you felt expendable and talked down to in your time with us. We value our employees and encourage them to raise any issues so that they may dealt with accordingly.


Our business is built around our teams. Wiithout our teams there is no business to offer. We are proud to hear when our staff goes to work for clients and partners, even to the competition, should the right opportunity arise. This proves that our staff is progressing, regardless if their career growth occurs within Keywords or externally. Though our goal would be to find opportunities internally, we are proud to say that within the past year we had an organic growth of 50%, which included many opportunities for our existing staff.


We are happy to hear that you have seen improvements and we are committed to continue them, especially in regard to staff retention which is the core of our business. We wish you well with your next endeavors.
4.0
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I enjoyed working with them.
Was a wonderful place to have to begin my career, since I was straight out of college it was a tremendous boost to my own personal growth. Downside is very low pay.
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Official response from Keywords Studios
23 August 2019
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for your time at Keywords. We wish you the best in your future endeavors!
1.0
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Only recommend for experience, don't stay here
This place is great for getting experience and getting into the game industry, but there are way better opportunities and jobs out there that won't treat you like a number and actually value you. Get in, get some experience, get out.
Pros
It's a stepping stone.
Cons
Hours, contracts, lack of trust, management, sad company culture
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Official response from Keywords Studios
29 August 2019
Hello, and thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. We are happy that your experience with Keywords Studios led you onto your desired career path in the games industry.

While new employees often begin to work on-call, we are pleased to say that an increasing number of projects are full-time, long term and we offer flexible scheduling according to employees requests.


Our Survey Focus Groups have been hard at work over the past months reviewing all Keywords employee feedback, updating and adding new initiatives for our employees to know that they are appreciated and heard. We are also proud to offer perks, such as quarterly studio-wide events, free fruits every day, and discounts with local businesses including gyms, gaming facilities and restaurants.


Once again, thank you for sharing your feedback. We wish you the best on your career path.
2.0
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Not a good 3 years
I started as a tester and moved up to the Planning Department. As a tester you're treated as entirely disposable and getting regular shifts is more about pure luck than skill, and getting in with the right people. As a Planning Specialist, I was horrendously overworked, and voiced this many times to completely uncaring higher ups, but despite burning out repeatedly and having a series of mental breakdowns, it took nearly a full 2 years for anything to change.
Pros
Benefits, insurance, wonderful team
Cons
Pay, favoritism among leads, lack of respect, lack of concern regarding mental health
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Official response from Keywords Studios
17 October 2019
Thank you for your feedback, we are very sorry to hear you had a difficult experience. Your review will be shared with our HR Team and taken to heart as we strive to make Keywords the best it can be. We do wish you the very best in your next endeavor.
1.0
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Do not apply here
I worked at Keywords for a few years as a certification and QA tester.

When you start you make bare minimum wage and are forced to pray for hours. I recall having a week where in total i was scheduled 6 hours, 3 hours each on 2 stress tests. The most frustrating thing was seeing people absent or not available and yet not getting scheduled for a shift. The worst thing is you never feel valuable because they are constantly hiring more people and if you have worked for a longer period of time you are expected to coach and mentor other testers because leadership cannot be bothered to do so.


This company confirms your attendance DAILY. as in you get an email every day for what time you are working. There is no consistency with the schedule you are given and you are forced to constantly adjust your sleeping patterns to whatever time they give you. The planning department is completely useless and will constantly schedule you for


1) weekend shifts (that you did not sign up for)

2) shifts at a time you TOLD THEM you could not work

3) shifts on a day that you organized to have off


You are then penalized for not showing up or you need to go talk to HR for a mistake that was not your fault but you are punished for regardless.


There is an extremely large amount of NEPOTISM here and very little opportunity for growth as a consequence. The only pro of this job is that the people you work with are usually very nice and easy to get along with being that most people have the same interests and hobbies.


You are not a person here but rather a number, your sole purpose is
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Official response from Keywords Studios
26 August 2019
Hello and thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us.

While starting positions can be on call, an increasing number of employees at Keywords Studios are on permanent and fixed term contracts.


It is true that a project contributor's absence one day may not always be filled. Training for a new project can take time and secured accounts are created by clients for individuals. Swapping someone out can take as long as a week to set up, so occasionally you may see an empty seat if someone calls in sick.


We are sorry if you experienced issues with Planning. Due to our rapid growth, Planning went through a difficult period. Processes have since been revamped to improve the strain that you mention. Employees are never penalized if they cannot take shifts outside of their offered availabilities, nor are they penalized for absences with relevant proof of reason.


Additional training is being offered to reduce strain, as well as promotions, particularly for more seniors and leads.


We are glad that you did enjoy testing video games and we do take your feedback seriously. We are continuously working on offering an increase in channels in which our employees are encouraged to share feedback, and provide suggestions to improve our work environment.
1.0
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Hope you don't have to work here
NOT RECOMMEND
The management is bad with no possibility of promotion

Efficiency of communication is rather low

They would fire people all of a sudden

No job security and no promised benefits

Hope no followers would come to work here

You will be regretful like me
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1.0
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Unreasonable company
Even though it says on the contract that they will let you know 1 week in advance if they're terminating you, they won't. No warnings no nothing. Was absent for a couple days because I was sick and just got fired from HR with no warning. Reached out to provide doctor's notes as well as even told them to call the doctor to prove I was going in and out of his clinic hence could not come to work. HR said decision was final and irrevocable. Will not even try to listen to you. I can handle the undetermined hours of work, having to wait until dinnertime to know I'll be working the next day as well as the minimum salary but seriously? No respect for the employees. Probably has no regard for their employees because they have so many of them to the point people who worked there longer has problem securing hours. They're still hiring though which fascinates me. The "benefits" are not that great too, offering bixi and stm discounts when you can get them from their respective websites, Telus employee discount which only works on certain plans, no healthcare insurance unless you want to talk to a social worker about how hard your life is then you'll have that benefit.
Pros
Free fruits maximum of 2 per day lmao, playing games
Cons
Undetermined hours, can't make plans because they'll only let you know you'll be working the next day at 5 to 7 pm, goodluck reaching out to the management
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1.0
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Hopefully you don’t have to work here.
Not a good place to work. Inconsistent hours, no guarantee of work. Minimum wage.. the other reviews have covered it. I did however appreciate the fruit provided (really, it makes a difference saving 30 cents a day when you are being paid so poorly)
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1.0
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This is not a real job!
There's a lot I could say about this job but let's keep it brief. Its a contract job which they try to sell you as a positive. "You get to be flexible with your hours and choose when you work!" Except that this isn't true at all. It's just an attempt to sell precarity as some sort of positive, and you don't really get any rights as a worker. Here's what you should know:

-you have no permanent hours. I went several weeks at a time without shifts and worked other jobs to make up for it.

-you're on call every day that you've put as available and they only let you know at 6pm the night before if you're working or not.

-they pay minimum wage so if you lose a few shifts and have no backup income source you're pretty stuck,

-there's basically zero room to move up and even the highest paid position you can reach after several years doesn't pay a living wage. They gave a bunch of people a 25 cent raise the week before the minimum wage was increased so even if you work hard its not like it makes a difference.


I will say that they at least pay for the training which I appreciated. I've been told by other employees that HR essentially sides with corporate at all times and will drop you at the sign of any contention. This is probably why they have a strict "no politics" rule during work and break time. Again they try to sell all of this as fun and competitive (look we have a video game area where you can wait for 3 hours and see if you have a shift or not today!)


Avoid this job if you can and don't get caught sitting 2 weeks behind on your bills wondering if you're going to
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Pros
work itself can be fun depending on the project
Cons
bad wage, no confirmed scheduling, no career advancement, toxic management
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2.0
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A company that cares about its public image more than its employees
This company has potential to be decent, but toxic management and corporate brainwashing has actively kept wages and employee morale low.

As a "freelance" worker, you're subjected to strict attendance and workplace policies that are made to keep your mouth shut about the company.


Management scans your public Facebook/Twitter/Instagram accounts and reprimands you for any negative comments about the company. More so, they have implemented a "whistle-blowing" policy to actively sweep responsibility under the table and to keep their public image clean.


HR will always side with management, no matter what kind abuse of power or conduct. HR actively discourages testers to pursue claims, and in some cases, punish you for being "unprofessional" if you show emotion. As far as I know, its another "leak" for them to plug.


As of now, the company is very well aware of its issues (due to a mass survey sent out) but are still hesitant to provide any noticeable action or changes to fix them due to the manpower and money needed to do so.


It's an absolute shame, this company has the potential to provide a proper career path, but constant jealously and greed from management and corporate are making sure that employees are rotated often, keeping responsibility at a bare minimum, and just plain incompetence are holding it back.
Pros
Depends on the project, can range from fun to redundant
Cons
Scheduling, wages, management, questionable policies
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2.0
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Textbook example of why the Video Game Industry needs Unionization
If you can accept a care-free gig knowing that you will not advance further within the company, by all means apply here and just do the minimum required to stay afloat.

Management is pretty atrocious and the company highly favors "yes men" due to unreasonable crunch times and awkward scheduling. HR is not your friend here when it comes to harassment and misconduct from management.


The workplace culture is like every other entry level tech job. You're expected to treat your position as "more than just a job" and willing to be overworked and underpaid.


The hardest part of the job is working around the constant incompetency of management. The lack of communication and transparency is a trademark sign of freelance contractor companies.


On the flip side, if you accept your position as a freelance worker, you can leverage it to decline awkward schedules and overtime without repercussions.
Pros
Very easy job, easy to stay afloat
Cons
Low wages, incompetent management
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