“Found, saw, received”: unusual interview invitations – from the HTTP header to the message in the search engine

Some companies hide offers for developers in HTML code or HTTP headers, while others offer first to solve algorithmic problems on the site. Let’s talk about several such cases.


Photo – Nikita Kachanovsky – Unsplash

Easter eggs on sites

Many companies hide job offers in HTML code. For example, Microsoft inserted HR ads on an Azure page. A similar approach is followed in The new york times and Imgur. Also at Mozilla send out Invitations to work in the browser console. But some organizations are very inventive and hide offers in HTTP headers.

In 2015, Troy Hunt, an information security specialist, conducted a workshop at an Australian firm. During the exercise, one of the students noticed An interesting HTTP response received via mobile APIs from an Airbnb server. It contained an invitation to work and the email address of the head of the development department of the online platform for finding housing:

X-Hi-Human: The Production Infrastructure team added this header.
Come work with us! Email kevin.rice+hiring@airbnb.com

A month ago on Hacker News appeared material whose author discovered other sites with job offers in HTTP headers. Them managed to find on Paypal.me, Booking.com, Etsy.com and Otto.de and many others. The author has published the full list in his repository on Github.

Sometimes, to find a hidden invitation, you need to dig a little deeper. For example, in 2017, a special page with an offer posted at Apple. To open it, it was necessary to analyze application traffic on the iPhone. Some of them forwarded packets to servers. blobstorecommonly used for hosting iCloud data. The offer was just located at one of the addresses, but Apple had to remove it from the site. The fact is that his discovered editor of ZDNet magazine and published on Twitter. After that, the corporation began to receive too many applications.

The tasks

Solve several problems in 2015 offered on google. Engineer Max Rosett was looking for information on Python’s lambda functions when in a search engine appeared message: “You’re speaking our language. Up for a challenge? ” (“You speak our language. Ready to pass the test?”).

Max agreed, and a browser tab opened with a Unix-like console and six algorithmic tasks. When Max decided them (it took 48 hours), he was asked to send a resume – and as a result, the engineers were hired by the corporation.


Photo – Free to use sounds – Unsplash

Interestingly, in a similar way, even take away to the government agency of the British counterintelligence. Participants are invited to analyze the image (at the end of the page link) and decode the message contained in it. If you clean the image from “noise” in a graphics editor and use encodings in RFC 4648, you can find a job invitation:

$ python solution.py | tr -d '-' | xxd -p
Songratulations, you solved the puzzle! Why don?t
you apply to join our team?

What interesting solutions did you come across for inviting candidates to work? And did you try to announce technological vacancies in a non-standard way?


More materials on Habré and in our corporate blog:

“Laugh for the sake of”: why you might need software tools that do not have a “combat” application

Participation in open source projects can be beneficial for companies – why and what it gives
Why developers are more expensive than money, how to save and increase them
Benchmarks for Linux servers


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