Just as giant companies like Apple and Google lead innovation in tech, they are innovative in other respects too – including recruitment. Getting to work for companies like these is famously difficult, and even more so when their recruitment ads are ‘hidden’ online.
A hidden ad looking for an engineer to work at Apple was found accidentally by Cnet’s Cyber-security reporter Zack Whittaker when he was analysing data being sent from iPhone apps. The ad appears to have since been removed.
The ad was on a page with the web address “us-east-1.blobstore.apple.com” (which currently displays an error message).
“Blobstore” is the name of a series of servers belonging to Apple.
A chance to contribute to the Apple ecosystem
The post began: “Hey there! You found us”, and went on to say Apple is searching for “a talented engineer to develop a critical infrastructure component that is to be a key part of the Apple ecosystem”.
Whittaker humbly says that he will not be applying for the job, because Apple is looking for “someone who’s far smarter and qualified, and who has better office etiquette.”
Familiarity with modern server technology and distributed systems is among the desirable traits of anyone who did wish to apply for the job (if they can find the ad).
How he found it
The tech writer explained that:
“I was using Burp Suite, a traffic analyzer, to intercept data between several iPhone apps to see what kind of personal data was sent along to advertisers.
“Among the stream of connections to analytics sites and advertisers used to track a user’s app consumption, there were several outbound connections to one of Apple’s “blobstore” servers, which the company uses to host iCloud data, such as customer photos and videos.
“I entered the web address into a browser, and there you have it.”
Quoted by the BBC, Mr Whittaker also said:
“It’s remarkable to see these companies taking innovative ways to entice people to work for them. A lot of times finding a job is down to chance and luck. This definitely keeps things interesting.”
Apple’s crazy interview questions
Even if you are able to find hidden jobs online, working for Apple won’t be easy.
Luis Abreu, a UX (user experience) designer that specialises on Apple’s platform, explained on his blog what he went through as part of the application – only to not get the job.
He endured three screening calls, five FaceTime interviews, and a trip to Cupertino for five two-person interviews that took a full day.
The interviews lasted six hours and involved 12 people.
Among the many questions was the seemingly erroneous:
“Say you were given the task of writing a cookbook, how would you go about it?”
Other strange Apple interview questions that have gone public include:
“If you have 2 eggs, and you want to figure out what’s the highest floor from which you can drop the egg without breaking it, how would you do it? What’s the optimal solution?”
“How many children are born every day?”
“You have a 100 coins laying flat on a table, each with a head side and a tail side. 10 of them are heads up, 90 are tails up. You can’t feel, see or in any other way find out which side is up. Split the coins into two piles such that there are the same number of heads in each pile.”
With those sorts of questions, you’d feel obligated to think of good questions of your own at the end. “Erm, do we get free iPhones” just wouldn’t cut it.