Uber is using a game to recruit engineers from its pool of passengers in select cities, Business Insider reports. The in-app game, called "Code on the Road," appears on the screen of the Uber app when a passenger begins a journey. If a user accepts the game challenge, they have to complete three coding problems within 60 seconds each. If successful, they are offered the chance to contact Uber directly to get a link to a job application.
News of the coding challenge first appeared on social media last week, with several Uber passengers tweeting screenshots of the in-app game. One such passenger was Microsoft engineer Joshua Debner of Seattle.
"I think it’s kind of a crapshoot either way," Debner told Business Insider. "I don’t know if answering a timed 60-second quiz in a dark Uber when the driver is trying to talk to you is the best way. If someone passes all of it, it’s kind of like a free phone screening."
Some initially suspected that Uber was using passenger information, such as where rides begin and end, to target tech engineers, but a company spokesperson told Business Insider that the only deciding factor on whether a passenger gets a prompt to play the game is if they’re in a city where a lot of people work in tech.
"We are always looking for new ways to reach potential candidates that want to join our team and help us solve interesting problems. If you're in a place where a lot of people work in tech, you may see our 'Code on the Road' challenge within the rider app," a company spokesperson told Business Insider. "The option to play gives interested riders the opportunity to show us their skills in a fun and different way—whether they code on the side or are pursuing a career as a developer."
Besides Seattle, where Debner and Microsoft are based, Business Insider says the company is also running the Code on the Road challenge in Austin, Boston, Denver, and Portland.