BUSINESS
03/28/2008 02:44 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Google Games! Tech Giant Recruits With Lego Building, Treasure Hunts And Pizza Parties

On a spring Saturday, about 90 students from Stanford and as many from the University of California, Berkeley, converged on Google's corporate campus for a day of spirited team competition over mind-bending puzzles, Lego building problems and video games.

It was called the Google Games, a convivial way for the mostly computer science and engineering students to renew the Stanford-Berkeley rivalry. But behind the fun was a serious corporate recruiting event that underscores a rivalry no less intense: the tug of war for talent between Google and its competitors.

As much of the high-tech industry is enjoying a renewed boom, the competition for top recruits in engineering and other fields is as intense as ever. Companies like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo frequently find themselves going after the same candidates or recruiting in one another's backyards. At the same time, they are running up against a myriad of start-up companies across Silicon Valley that have been pumped up with venture capital in recent years.

To lure talent, these companies have expanded their recruiting arsenal far beyond the traditional job fair to include a growing number of events like technology lectures, cocktail parties, pizza parties, treasure hunts and programming contests, dubbed "code jams" or "hack days."

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