Companies Lure Engineers With Programming Challenges

Tech companies are getting more creative in their efforts to lure engineers by holding contests — with cash prizes.

That’s what Quixey, a startup app search engine, did. The company hosted a programming contest where contestants had to solve a simple programming bug in 60 seconds or less. After one day, 81 out of 385 contestants had won the cash, and Quixey had a nice list of possible engineering recruits.

What would you think of an employer who ran a contest as a recruiting tool? Tell us by posting a comment below.

“It’s a competitive environment for hiring engineers,” said Liron Shapira, chief technology officer and co-founder of Quixey, who came up with the idea. “We wanted to distinguish ourselves and get our name out there.” The effort has resulted in Quixey hiring three full-time engineers and three interns so far, CNBC says.

Facebook also invites prospective developers to submit solutions to programming puzzles posted on its site. New York-based SeatGeek asked job candidates to hack into its site in order to submit their resumes. One hundred people were successful, so now SeatGeek asks all prospective programmers to do it. (The task takes about 10 minutes if done correctly.) In fact, SeatGeek has expanded the program to create tests for non-engineering positions such as media reps and office managers.

3 Responses to “Companies Lure Engineers With Programming Challenges”

  1. Frediano

    There is something a little backwards about this savvy means of getting savvy candidates if the required skillset is basically confirmed as googling ‘hacking SeatGeek” and finding this:

    Note to self: you really don’t want to tell your kids someday that this is what you were doing for a living while Rome was burning…

    What do I think when a roomful of MBAs at American Express dream up the idea of a contest in which they get to keep all the entries and pay one ‘lucky’ idiot $50,000 for his entry, to develop a whole slew of new smart card apps for $50,000? I think, ‘there’s one born every minutes”, and I’ll pass.

    What do I think when Mechanical Turks posts HITs that pay $2 for a 350 word article on ‘rheumatoid arthritis,’ to fill up some content somewhere, then keeps all the entries and pays nobody, waiting to get sued over not paying someone their $2? I think that when it comes to filling up millions of pages of websites on the in-ter-net, it’s all about quantity, not quality.

    Does there come a point when we finally realize and admit to ourselves, this is all– all of it — 99.999% crap?

  2. Anyone who thinks they are a programmer that does not love solving problems is kidding themselves. Giving a programmer a problem is like giving a drunk a bar. Who cares about the money – just keep the problems coming.