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Photograph by Philippe Huguen — AFP/Getty Images

Google has a very clever recruiting trick

Aug 27, 2015

Google is known for its challenging interview process. What's not as well know is that it covertly recruits top coders based on their Internet searches.

If you're in the habit of googling obscure coding terms (see: "python lambda function list comprehension"), then you may see a note from Google pop up in the results, saying "You're speaking our language. Up for a challenge?"

From there, you can choose to "play," which will take you through a series of coding challenges. This happened to Max Rosett, who wrote about his experience on The Hustle.

I clicked through and landed on a page that called itself “foo.bar.” The page resembled a UNIX interface, so I typed the command to see the list of files. There was a single one called “start_here.txt”. I opened it and saw two sentences:

“Type request to request a challenge. Type help for a list of commands.”

I typed “request” and half expected to see “Follow the white rabbit, Max.” Instead, the screen displayed a paragraph outlining a programming challenge and gave instructions on how to submit my solution. I had 48 hours to solve it, and the timer was ticking.

Over two weeks, Rosett solved six challenge questions before it asked him to submit his contact information. A couple days later a recruiter reached out to him, at which point the standard Google interview process commenced.

Don't expect to simply click on the foo.bar link above and be able to throw your hat in the ring for a coveted Google (goog) job. You can only log in and attempt the challenge if it "finds you." Though, be aware, Google's hiring rate has been slowing these days.

Read more about Rosett's experience.

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