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8/28/2015
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Google: Your Searches Could Land You A Job Here

Google is targeting people for job offers based on their search activity. It's certainly a way to attract people with an inborn curiosity and willingness to investigate unusual things (and no fear of malware).

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Imagine working to solve a problem for your current project, and the process helps you get a new job. This is what has happened for at least one new Googler, Max Rosett. Rosett was working on a project for his Master's Degree in Computer Science at Georgia Tech when he Googled "python lambda function list comprehension" and he was startled by an invitation to a challenge. The challenge led to a job at Google.

The surprising thing is that Rosett didn't immediately assume it was malware (you can check out a picture of the invitation here). The usual Google search results split open to reveal a black bar that said, "You're speaking our language. Up for a challenge?" It is a wonder it didn't ask if he wanted to play a game of thermonuclear war.

(Image: HebiFot via Pixabay)

(Image: HebiFot via Pixabay)

Rosett clicked on it and it took him to a site called foo.bar which somewhat reassuringly has a Google address. Foo.bar put Rosett through a series of challenges. He had 48 hours to solve each set of challenges. For two weeks Rosett solved the challenges without any promise of a job offer or without knowing anything about what was happening to him. He enjoyed the exercises. After two weeks of solving the challenges, Rosett received an email from a recruiter asking for a resume. After that, a slightly more normal recruiting process happened and Rosett is looking forward to his new job.

In many ways this is nothing new for the tech industry. Such companies have been hiring people who can solve puzzles and challenges for quite some time. What is new, and a bit strange, was that Google reached out rather anonymously via search results. On one level, it's a random way to get people to try the challenges. It's as if the New York Yankees recruited employees by targeting those who searched "Infield fly rule" or an accounting firm recruited workers from a pool of people who searched for "amortized deductions."

[ Finding the right job involves more than playing with keywords. Read 10 IT Job Search Habits To Nail A New Gig. ]

It's not only about getting the search terms right. You have to find a person who is willing to click on an unexpected pop-up, is in a position to drop whatever else they're working on to check out the pop-up, has 48 hours starting that very minute to work on a challenge, and has two weeks more to keep trying new challenges, all to finally get to the resume stage.

It's certainly a way to attract people with an in-born curiosity and willingness to investigate unusual things (and no fear of malware). Google has a reputation for liking those kinds of people. So maybe it is the right way to attract Google's kind of person.

What do you think? Would you have clicked on such an invitation? Is Google is smart to recruit this way? Do you plan on running to Foo.bar to see if you are the next Googler? Don't bother. You need to be invited. But search away and you might receive an invitation of your own.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2015 | 1:22:50 PM
Re: That is the most unexpected
In a competitive job market as we have seen, this is just another tool for tech companies to hire new talent.  I find it king of creepy that Google is monitoring their searches to find new employees; I hope they do not do that with their Gmail account or other services.   They could be filtering their products for new employees as well.  I think people will feel very uncomfortable if they get an email from Google, about something they emailed or chatted with someone. 
nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2015 | 2:15:09 AM
Re: That is the most unexpected
> The winning answer was 15 ways. Only one managed to secure that coveted position.

@yalaland:

Really! I didnt think it was possible to do in 15 different ways. So what are these 15 different ways?
nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2015 | 2:03:01 AM
Re: That is the most unexpected
@impactnow:

> However if you're looking for a candidate that has multilevel skills this process
> maybe more frustrating as soft skills tend to be harder to train .

If the tech skills are the basic pre-requisite and soft skills can be assessed in the second rounc, then it makes all the sense to first filter for the tech skills and then find out if the soft skills are there or not. Proceeding this way would mean fewer candidates getting in.

If the search is started from the other side, a lot of people would make it to the second round and fail the basic pre-requisite resulting in an in-efficient search process.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
8/28/2015 | 3:52:47 PM
Re: That is the most unexpected
I am in love!  Darn it!  Why couldn't I have had the need to research "python lambda function list comprehension!"

This is such a fantastic means of using the tools at your disposal in an unorthodox way to reach out to folks you may never have stumbled upon otherwise.  I agree with you on the soft skills issue @impactnow but I think it's a novel approach worth testing out.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
8/28/2015 | 3:02:04 PM
Re: That is the most unexpected
It is interesting recruiting process however it depends on the full skills that you're looking for . If the job only requires problem-solving skills but does not require other soft skills then maybe it's a good solution . However if you're looking for a candidate that has multilevel skills this process maybe more frustrating as soft skills tend to be harder to train .
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
8/28/2015 | 2:24:56 PM
Re: That is the most unexpected
But if you come to think about it, Google presidents always said they never planned to be a conventional company. I am starting to get the feeling that they aren't one. I have heard stories about unconventional recruitment procedures. A story goes like this: When Google recruiters came to IIT Bombay they only asked one question to the students to had cleared all the rounds upto the final job interview. The question was "Using your native programming language, how many ways can you print the statement "Hello World" on the output screen/console? Please explain your ideas." 

The winning answer was 15 ways. Only one managed to secure that coveted position.
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
8/28/2015 | 2:19:14 PM
That is the most unexpected
I never thought Google would have such a recruiting process. It's almost like Cicada 3301. 
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