The Sneaky, Brilliant Way Google Recruits Some of Its Workers
The secret is in the search. Feed Google the right search keywords in the right order at the right moment and you just might land a job at the tech giant. Max Rosett did.
Earlier this week the Yale-educated mathematician, only one month into his new gig as a Googler, told the tale of how he snagged a coveted software engineer position at Google in a revealing blog post on The Hustle. His unexpected journey to the Googleplex started three months ago, split seconds after he Googled “python lambda function list comprehension,” or so he says.
Rosett’s brainy search terms yielded a peculiar result. They “split and folded back to reveal a box that said ‘You’re speaking our language. Up for a challenge?’”
At first the former ApartmentList.com data scientist thought he was the “the victim of an elaborate prank.” Still, he was curious. So he took up the geeky gauntlet and clicked on a little turquoise box that read “I want to play.” Up popped google.com/foobar, a programming quiz that Re/code reports Google has deployed before to source talent.
Game on. Google challenged Rosett to solve an elaborate programming puzzle. He had 48 hours to figure it out, but he didn’t need that much time. He unraveled the riddle in just “a couple of hours.” The puzzles kept coming and Rosett kept slaying them, five in two weeks, he says. Not too shabby.
Finally, the sixth successfully solved problem was the charm, triggering a request for Rosett to submit his contact info. Then came an email from a Google recruiter. Then an introductory phone call. Then, heavens to Murgatroyd, he did it -- he scored an interview.
Soon Rosett was deep inside Google headquarters, cracking problems like peanuts on a whiteboard. Three months later, he was officially an employee there and apparently still is, despite blabbing his employer’s “Secret Interview Process” online. (We doubt he got Google PR’s approval to do, so we’re interested to see if his tell-all, screenshots included, results in a pink slip.)
Re/code, doing its due diligence, reached out to Google to verify Rosett’s story. A spokeswoman responded to the publication’s inquiry with -- surprise, surprise -- a puzzle. Re/code humored Google and decoded the alphanumeric hex code, which it says reads: “Puzzles are fun. Search on.”
Puzzles aren’t just fun to Rosett, and Foo.bar isn’t FUBAR. They’re life-changing career catapults. “Foo.bar is a brilliant recruiting tactic,” he says. “Google used it to identify me before I had even applied anywhere else, and they made me feel important while doing so.” Good on you, Rosett, but, now that the cat’s out of the bag and making the rounds in Google search results, let’s hope the feeling lasts -- and the new gig, too.
Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here.