Google is secretly recruiting engineers through its search engine

 
Clara Guibourg
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"Up for a challenge?" (Source: Getty)

With companies like Apple, Facebook and Google fighting tooth and nail to get the best tech talent, what’s a poor little Silicon Valley HR department to do to stand out?

Google has cannily used one massive tool it has at its disposal, and is now recruiting engineers directly through its search engine: programmers googling the right search terms are taken to a secret recruitment test, it turns out.

New Google employee Max Rosett bagged the job by accident. Using programming language Python, he was trying to figure out a coding problem that had him stumped. Turning to Google, he typed in “python lambda function list comprehension” and the familiar blue links appeared.

But then something unusual happened, he wrote on his blog:

The search results split and folded back to reveal a box that said “You’re speaking our language. Up for a challenge?”

From there prospects are taken to a UNIX-like interface and asked to complete programming puzzles until the last stage, when they’re prompted to fill out their contact details. In Rosett’s case, Google was soon in touch for a more conventional in-person interview - and eventually more:

Google used it to identify me before I had even applied anywhere else, and they made me feel important while doing so.

The page Rosett was taken to is called foo.bar. But don’t bother searching for it: although finding it is simple enough, you won’t be able to access any of its contents unless Google has already decided you are special enough: "To log in, you have to have logged in before."

City A.M. got in touch with Google, but rather than commenting on the unusual recruitment process in English, the company sent us the following message:

\u0050\u0075\u007a\u007a\u006c\u0065\u0073\u0020\u0061\u0072\u0065\u0020\u0066\u0075\u006e\u002e\u0020\u0053\u0065\u0061\u0072\u0063\u0068\u0020\u006f\u006e\u002e

Leaving this reporter completely stumped, reliable sources have since decoded this hex code as a message reading "Puzzles are fun. Search on."

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