Uber wanted to play a game called Code on the Road.
Microsoft engineer Joshua Debner was taking an Uber in Seattle to meet a friendwhen the new notification poppedup on the screen.
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The fact that an engineer like Debner saw the test means its working at identifying prospects that Uber mightve missed.
Uber is not the first company to hide a coding challenge into its product. Its alreadyprogrammed an UberBot to challenge programmers on Codefights. Googlehas its own secret programming testthat is prompted when people search forcertain programming-related terms.
If theyre good, the app prompts them to click a button to get in touch.
Uber insists that it is not using individual information to identify recruits, but that it is just identifying geographic areas where tech jobs are concentrated to find candidates.
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Debner has no idea how the company knew he is an engineer. He has never talked to Uber, had a recruiter reach out, or submitted his resume to the ride-hailing company.
If they accept the test, Uber challenges the rider with three coding problems to solve, each with a 60-second countdown, and scores them based on their answers.
A vertical stack of three evenly spaced horizontal lines.
We are always looking for new ways to reach potential candidates that want to join our team and help us solve interesting problems. If youre in a place where a lot of people work in tech, you may see our Code on the Road challenge within the rider app, a company spokesperson said. The option to play gives interested riders the opportunity to show us their skills in a fun and different way – whether they code on the side or are pursuing a career as a developer.
The questions he answered in the Code on the Road challenge were very generic coding interview questions and not tailored to his skills, Debner said. Instead, it seemed like an easy way to find candidates who might be interested and hadnt thought of working at Uber before.
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Uber is trying to recruit engineers by randomly sending a coding game to play during rides
Uber confirmed to Business Insider that its found a new way to lure engineers to work for the fast-growing startup by testing their coding skills during an Uber ride.
Ubers Code on the Road challenge popped up during Joshua Debners Uber ride.Joshua Debner/Twitter with permission
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While Debner is in Seattle (and just happens to be a Microsoft employee), Uber has been running the hacking challenges in cities like Seattle, Austin, Boston, Denver, and Portland, which have a large number of tech workers.
Screenshots of what Ubers Code on the Road challenge.Joshua Debner/Twitter with permission
Debner did hit the prompt to submit his results to Uber just to see what would happen. The company sent him an email that gave him a link to apply if hes interested (hes not), but he hasnt heard from them otherwise.
I think its kind of a crapshoot either way, Debner told Business Insider. I dont know if answering a timed 60-second quiz in a dark Uber when the driver is trying to talk to you is the best way. If someone passes all of it, its kind of like a free phone screening.
His Microsoft email address is not used on his account, and he has not used Uber for Microsoft business, nor was he going to or leaving from the Microsoft campus.