Job Hub: Pixar Animation Studios Jobs and Culture

Today we highlight tremendous business analyst and post-consulting leadership jobs at Pixar Animation Studios. Pixar Animation Studios, a California-based subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is a fun filled company that has changed the face of the movie industry. Two of its fourteen feature films – “Finding Nemo” and “Toy Story 3” – are among the 50 highest-grossing films of all time, while an impressive thirteen of the fourteen are in the 50 highest-grossing animated films of all time. But, as Pixar says, working with them “isn’t just a chance to work on great movies or tell stories. It’s your opportunity to bring imagination to life.”


History & Culture

Pixar Animation Studios actually began as Graphics Group, a division of Lucasfilm, in 1979 before becoming a corporation in 1986 with major funding from Steve Jobs; it was later bought by Disney in 2006 for 7.4 billion dollars. Pixar, now a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is an Academy Award winning film studio with world-renowned technical, creative and production capabilities in the art of computer animation. In fact, Pixar was initially a producer of computer hardware, before beginning to create animated commercials; later, it sold the hardware division entirely while producing major cinematic successes in collaboration with The Walt Disney Company. Pixar is now the creator of some of the most successful and beloved animated films of all time, including “Toy Story”, “Monsters, Inc.”, “Cars”, “The Incredibles”, “Ratatouille”, “Up” and “Brave.” The Northern California studio has also won 29 Academy Awards and its films have grossed an impressive $7.7B+ to date.

Pixar is known for its super-hip culture – jeans and sneakers every day of the week, all the fun they have in the office, and its highly collaborative team. Even engineers and business people are considered a part of the creative team; there are 1200+ employees today, but the firm hasn’t lost its edge – everyone’s voice can be heard in the midst of the creative process.

Pixar’s success isn’t based on a formula, it understands that foundations like cultivating a positive environment, putting employees before a project, and maintaining great relationships across the company are what breed their success. Instead of its focus being on profit, Pixar’s focus is to “make great films,” which, in turn, creates profit. For example, Pixar doesn’t just make a sequel simply because it knows it would be a box-office success. Rather, sequels at Pixar happen if, and only if, there’s a creative spark.

Promoting a culture that stimulates community, relationship, and a continuous flow of great ideas is very important to Pixar. It’s especially important that new concepts and designs are easily passed around and bounced off of each other, to keep creativity flowing. Their offices are strategically designed in a campus-like style to keep this going, with mailboxes, cafeteria, and break rooms being centrally located.

Plus, the benefits at Pixar are fun: in-house screening of in-progress films, access to presentations on incredible in-house graphics research and development, ping-pong, massages, an in-house gym and on-site daycare. Pixar is truly more than a workplace where people make their living: here, you are part of a community.

Interview Tips & Tricks

As in Pixar’s short films and full length feature movies, their people are all about creativity, excellence, hard work, and fun. No matter where you are positioned at Pixar, the work that you will do will be both fun and challenging – most of the time, anyhow.

Be ready to collaborate and innovate because Pixar highly emphasizes teamwork; a strong cultural point of definition is that creative ideas come from team collaborations, not top-down mandates. Expect to be enabled and empowered to do great things from passionate leaders – at Pixar, you will not be told what to do.

Pixar’s interview process is both light-hearted and challenging. They are looking for the most intellectually-gifted employees who are also creative, innovative, independent, passionate, and persistent. Are you an overachiever? A bit OCD and perfectionistic about your work? These are the kind of people Pixar wants – people who are energized and passionate about the things that they do in life, and who put their passion into their work. The quickest and easiest way to get an interview at Pixar that leads to an offer is to network through some of their existing employees and get them to refer you.

When going through the interview process, you can expect 2-3 phone and Skype interviews, each typically 1-3 hours long; after passing that, you are brought to an all-day intensive interview session at Pixar HQ in Emeryville, California. Part of what Pixar looks for in the in-person interview is whether they feel your personality is a good match for the company and department for which you are interviewing. This can be a rather grueling day spent talking to a revolving door of people, so prepare yourself well to keep conversation levels up all day long.

Pixar is very selective about those they bring in to the fold; it is not uncommon for them to leave a position open for 5 or more months in order to find the right person for the job. On the other hand, if they are extremely impressed and like you in your interviews, they may make room for you, even if it’s not the exact position for which you applied. Be ready during the interviews to answer behavioral and situational questions such as “What was your thought process in an unexpected challenge?”, “What are the details on how you solved a particular problem in a project?” or “Tell us about a team project; were you the leader? If so, how did you manage and plan for the team?” On the other hand, also be prepared for personal questions such as “What’s your favorite movie?” “What’s something not on your resume that you would like us to know?” or “What’s the greatest challenge that you have overcome at work?”

Be prepared – the questions that they will ask will start off easy and gradually get tougher and tougher.

The typical hiring process at Pixar from application to offer will take an average of 6-9 weeks.

To learn more about open positions and how to apply, visit the Careers Page today.


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