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Code on the Road: Uber, Google, Marriott and US army are gamifying recruitment

Gabriela Motroc

Uber made the headlines last month when it transpired that some people received a “Hacker Challenge” from the unicorn during rides. However, Uber is not the only company to lure engineers through coding games.

One Slate employee revealed that he received an unusual notification from the Uber app during a trip. Code on the Road, a coding game which appeared on the screens of selected Uber users, is in fact a series of coding challenges which, if beaten, concludes with an opportunity to receive “more information on what it’s like working for Uber.” Some people on Twitter indicated that the game shows up during events that are linked to the tech world; Uber later revealed that the Code on the Road initiative is a way of contacting talented coders from nontraditional backgrounds.

Google’s semisecret coding game

Max Rosett wrote in an article in August last year about Google’s secret interview process. He said he was in the midst of a career transition and earning a Master’s in computer science through Georgia Tech’s online program when Google approached him in a nontraditional way. Rosett googled “python lambda function list comprehension” when the search results split and folded back to unearth a box which read “You’re speaking our language. Up for a challenge?” He landed on a page which called itself foo.bar and received a programming challenge which was supposed to be solved in 48 hours.

After Rosett solved the sixth problem, foo.bar gave him the option to submit his contact information. A recruiter emailed him two days later asking for a copy of his resume. Rosett is now working at Google.

Marriott’s own Farmville

Marriott International Inc. was among the first companies to use games as a recruiting tool. The company launched an online game similar to The Sims and Farmville, in which players had to impersonate a hotel kitchen manager. The idea behind My Marriott Hotel was to attract more millennials to the hospitality industry; it was so successful that the company created an additional game called Xplor.

US army’s recruiting game

In 2002, the U.S. army released a first-person shooter game named America’s Army. The game was developed over three years, cost over $5 million and matched the excitement of other shooters such as Counterstrike. The game was considered a great recruitment tool and had three sequels. Lt. Colonel Wardynski, the then-director of the Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis at West Point told The New York Times that “if the game draws 300 to 400 recruits in the next year, it will have been worth the cost —especially since the game is considered likley to attract people attending or considering college, who tend to be more expensive to recruit.”

Gamification market will be worth $11 billion by 2020, according to a report by MarketsandMarkets. With gamification, employers can test job seekers’ skills, educate them about what is expected of them and help the company build a recruitment pool.

Author
Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc is editor of JAXenter.com and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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