Engineers Stuck on California’s Highway 101 Can Tackle a Coding Challenge Today

CodeEval (part of HireVue), is launching a series of challenges on the 101 Freeway this summer, a very popular Northern California commuting route for technology employees.

The first billboard launches near the San Francisco airport today, and involves a commuting-related puzzle. The billboards point you online, where you have to find the shortest distance between a set of startup companies in San Francisco.

There’s a not-so-subtle message at work here: If you take a job at one of these companies mentioned in the challenge, like Glassdoor, you can work in the city of San Francisco (actually, just “The City” to locals) and not have to deal with the traffic headed down to Silicon Valley.

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Combining IT assessment with interesting challenges, games, and contests is a hot area in the recruiting field. It’s happening both online with tools like CodeVue, Gild, and many others, as well as using in-person events.


5 Comments on “Engineers Stuck on California’s Highway 101 Can Tackle a Coding Challenge Today

  1. Todd…

    It’s also not new; frankly many of the long time ERE’ans have been on this train a long time. While this certainly qualifies as casting-a-wide-net recruiting, it’s not a substitute for targeted talent community building and stewardship which for some reason is anathema to so many in our profession.

    There’s a reason so many in tech believe recruiters are “douchebags” (their word – look it up). Why is it so hard for recruiters in tech to be able to develop professional relationships?

    Billboards are not shortcuts…

  2. @ Steve: There’s a saying those of us inside have:
    “If you have time to develop relationships with candidates, you don’t have enough reqs.”



  3. I can appreciate this as one more way to accelerate short term attention or *traffic* to your website…assuming they remember the site by the time they get to work.

    What are they solving for?
    *the commute?
    *lack of awareness about their company?
    *too many unqualified candidates at the top of the funnel?
    *all of the above?

    The bottom line is that if you have a strong/relevant career value prop, commuters who hate their commute and want to work in the city, will apply or network their way to your company. That’s part of the problem i have with this billboard approach, as well as the website it points you to.

    1. none of the company logos on the website are live
    2. none of the companies answer the basic question of why my company?

    You have to at least answer #2 and until you do, Im not sure candidates will take the time to solve the coding challenge. Candidates have a hard enough time getting through the basic gauntlet of applying online (my company included) so to throw another barrier up without answer the *why* seems counter productive.

    I would also be concerned that there is a high backlog of applicants who’ve already applied and havent heard from anyone through the basic process. They will see this billboard and be even more annoyed. So, before put out a big promotion such as this, you should be really sure that the basics are buttoned up.

    Caveat: have no idea if these companies are doing a great job with recruiting or not, but this is the response that most of the recruiting billboards trigger for me.

    I agree with @stevelevy…there are no shortcuts.

  4. @ Craig: I think the main problem they’re solving is how Clear Channel (or whoever owns the billboard) can get more money out of a customer that obviously has lots to spend. Think how much more cost-effective a carefully-targeted direct sourcing campaign (going after people who clearly have the appropriate backgrounds) would be. It makes me think of the local SF company which is using (rather silly) bus ads to attract potential candidates- more money than sense, if you ask me…



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