Secret search gets programmer job at Google

Using some words will bring up a challenge — and passing it might lead to working there

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The Independent Tech

A secret Google search will take people into a complex series of puzzles to get a job at the company, according to one new employee.

The site will respond to some computing terms by opening up a series of puzzles — and giving the correct answers could end with them being employed by the search giant.

New employee Max Rosett has described in a blog how he entered the programming terms “python lambda function list comprehension”, to find information about a project he was doing for a degree in computer science. When he did so, the search results broke apart and a message popped up saying: “You’re speaking our language. Up for a challenge?”

Clicking on the “I want to play option” — rather than choosing “No thanks” or telling the computer not to show the message again — took Rosett on a series of challenges. Those included finding a file in a special interface, and then undertaking a programming challenge — all run from within the browser.

The page threw up a range of problems — all of which were solved by Rosett — before asking him to submit his contact information.

“Much to my surprise, a recruiter emailed me a couple days later asking for a copy of my resume,” he wrote. “I emailed it to him, and we set up a phone call.”

The rest of the process was like the expected Google interview, and Rosett said that when visiting the office was the first time he was sure the challenge wasn’t a prank. After passing the traditional interview stage, Rosett was offered a job two weeks later, then started at Google three months after it all began.

(Google does run its own jobs site, named Google Careers, which can be retrieved through a straightforward search. But the questions that page asks are nowhere near as interesting as those on the secret page.)

The search that Rosett used doesn't activate the challenges any more, but there appears to be other pages still active.