Google’s Unusual Coder Hiring Trick

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Google needs excellent coders—that’s been one constant throughout the search-engine giant’s existence. But aside from traditional job postings and recruitment channels, how does it go about sourcing the best talent?

As it turns out, Google relies on a rather unique tool: Its own search engine.

In a recent posting on The Hustle, software developer Max Rosett talks about searching on Google for a specific programming-related term (“python lambda function list comprehension”) and seeing a box appear in the results that said: “You’re speaking our language. Up for a challenge?”

Undeterred by the spontaneous decision, he clicked the invitation and landed on a website that presented him with a series of timed programming challenges. “After I solved the sixth problem, gave me the option to submit my contact information,” he wrote. “I typed in my phone number and email address, fully expecting that to be the end of things.”

A little while later, he received a call from a Google recruiter. After a series of interviews, he ended up with a job offer. Considering how he’s now in the employ of the company, Rosett has nothing but praise for the method. “They made me feel important while [applying],” he wrote. “At the same time, they respected my privacy and didn’t reach out to me without explicitly requesting my information.”

Google is praised (and damned, in some circles) for its unconventionality, so its use of its own search engine to find programmers should be unsurprising. It’s certainly not the first company to resort to out-of-the-box tactics to find the best people—whether designing wacky job commercials, posting mind-puzzlers on subways, or posting hiring ads on a billboard, firms all over the world have pursued similarly creative (or just plain weird) paths.

2 Responses to “Google’s Unusual Coder Hiring Trick”

  1. Thank you for this interesting article. It seems like nothing I search for on the internet comes without some kind of popup these days, usually interrupting my reading of an article with unwanted advertising. I almost automatically simply X-out of the popup without reading it and try to stay focused on the task at hand. In particular I wouldn’t enter any personal and/or contact information should such a form be presented to me, as I wouldn’t know the source, and I treat everything as an untrustworthy phishing attack. I think Google should try some of the more-conventional and traditional hiring practices instead of engaging random users in questionable practices.