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Use Google to look up weird coding terms? You could end up working there

According to HR chiefLaszlo Bocks recent book, it resulted in a blitz of resumes and inquiries, zero hires, and a waste of resources. He wasnt a fan. From the book:

To translate from unicode, open the terminal on your computer, typeecho -efollowed by a space and the above surrounded by single quotes, and press enter (linux or Mac only, sorry Windows users). The translation is at the bottom for the busy.

Its also encouraging for people looking to break into the tech industry or switch careers that theres an unconventional path into the company as a programmer.

And the screen he got to after clicking I want to play:

Max Rosett, a former management consultant who was in the process of finishing an online masters in computer science from Georgia Tech, came across the challenge while searching a Python term,he wrote on The Hustle. After completing a series of six problems, he was asked to submit his contact information and got an email from a recruiter a few days later. He was able to skip the standard phone screening, and three months after first seeing the challenge, says he is a Google employee.

But Rosetts post suggests the tool is more than just a fun project someone at the company started and left on the internetits a way to get a job.

The tactic is reminiscent of cryptic billboards the company put up in Boston and California in 2004, which had a math puzzle that led to a website. People who went to the site found another puzzle. If they solved that, they were invited to send their resume to a specialized inbox.

Googles statement, translated, is Puzzles are fun. Search on.

You can click the link to the challenge any time, butcan only log inand attempt it if it finds you.

Google has many ways of sourcing talent. It has a highly developedin-house recruiting organization, and gets astaggering numberof external applications. But if youre in the habit of looking up obscure coding terms, you might see one of the companys more obscure recruiting methods, a message from Google letting you know that youre speaking our language, and asking if youre up for a challenge.

Most visitors didnt make it through both puzzles. In interviewing those that did, we learned that doing well in solo competitions doesnt always translate into being a team player. And while people who win this contests can be brilliant, its often only in one field. Or they are accustomed to solving problems with finite ends and clear solutions rather than navigating the complexity of real-world challenges.

Weve reached out to Rosett and will update this post if we hear back. As for Google, a spokesperson responded to Quartz about the matter:

In this case, recruiters have more control; they can reach out to if they choose, rather than facing a deluge of resumes.

Heres what Yanofsky ran into:

This has cropped up in the media before. A poster at Hacker News, a link sharing site popular among programmers,came across it last year. Phil Tower wrote about it more extensivelyat Ello, and revealed a (since removed) cryptography problem that also offered a way in. David Yanofsky, a reporter on QuartzsThings teamalso hiring!), ran into it earlier this year.

(Hint: you may want to read up on ISO/IEC 10646)


Some search terms and topics that have led people to the challenge include angularjs directives, and mutex lock, according toHacker News posters. Rosett searched python lambda function list comprehension.

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