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Microsoft Principal Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated May 6, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting an Interview  

33%
25%
16%

Interview Experience  

66%
33%
0%

Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
12 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
Relevance Date Difficulty
in

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Principal Researcher Interview

Principal Researcher
Redmond, WA

I applied through an employee referral and interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – These positions are industry lab research positions with qualifications similar to university research positions. Two days of back-to-back interviews with other researchers, most of whom are in your research are, some who are not.

Interview Question – It's not difficult, but many people will ask why leave academia for Microsoft?   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Negotiation entirely with hiring manager and recruiter.


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Principal Enterprise Strategist Interview

Principal Enterprise Strategist

I applied online and the process took 5 months - interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – Multiple phone screens plus two in-person interviews over the course of five months. An extremely long and arduous process with little to no communication. Applied online directly through MS recruiting and was quickly contacted by 3rd party recruiter. Next step was three phone screens over the course of two months which then led to in-person round deemed "finals". Three weeks after "finals" I was told there would be another round. Weeks later another "finals" round was scheduled in-person. After this there was radio silence for almost 6 weeks despite reaching out to my contacts twice. On the last attempt was told requirements for the role changed and therefore I no longer was a tight fit despite being a "top-tier" candidate.

Interview Question – There were no difficult or unexpected questions. Very casual interviews.   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Principal Software Development Lead Interview

Principal Software Development Lead

Interviewed at Microsoft

Interview Details – Relatively simple programming and design questions

Interview Question – Implement a lock   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – No negotation


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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Principal Program Manager Interview

Principal Program Manager
Redmond, WA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in January 2013.

Interview Details – The process started from a recruiting company which found me and thought I had a good skill set from linkedIn. Two interviews with recruiters and then two phone interviews with Microsoft internal. Each about a week apart. Full onsite interview was scheduled for a few weeks later. The entire day lasted 8-9 hours at the headquarters in Redmond. 6 individual interviews all were one on one. Good mix of technical questions and program management questions. Many repeating questions on how to deal with other groups that need to interact with. Lots of program management technique questions. A lot of examples asked and make sure to have plenty of detail to give. Most of the folks dig into things until they get what they want. Some questions will last 20 minutes. Know your technical area that you are trying for. Even if it is a management position you will be expected to know quite a bit about the technical piece. The day went very well overall. I got to the last interview which was not scheduled. I was told it went well and felt the same way. Left feeling like an offer would come. Never heard from them again so it was very strange. I felt like I nailed most of the interview and knew the areas very well. I have no idea what else they could have been looking for. I would love to have understood what drove that decision.

Interview Question – Asked about scenario's in terms of tests failing in production and how to handle it with lots of revenue on the line and also how to communicate to team and to senior executives about the issue.   View Answer


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Principal Developer Interview

Principal Developer
Redmond, WA

I applied in-person and the process took 3 days - interviewed at Microsoft in January 2013.

Interview Details – Questions focused on ability to build high performance and scalable application design. Heavy emphasis on writing lower level algorithms in C#. i.e. data structures.

Interview Question – Ability to navigate a data structure   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Principal Program Manager Interview

Principal Program Manager
Redmond, OR

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in April 2009.

Interview Details – It was an internal transfer. I knew several people on the hiring team, but I still had to go through a full interview process. I got grilled on both business and technical skills, as well as soft skills like communications and cross-group collaboration. When I got the job, I needed all those skills, so the broad range of questions was justified.

Interview Question – A programming question; something to do with calculating all the prime numbers between 0 and n.   View Answer


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Principal Platform Sales Specialist Interview

Principal Platform Sales Specialist
New York, NY

I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in July 2010.

Interview Details – This had to be one of the most organized recruitment processes I experienced. I was initially contacted by their HR Recruiter via email in reponse to my online application. We arranged for a prescreen interview. At the end of the prescreen she book time for me with the hiring manager for a phone interview the following day. Within three days I was contacted again to arrange an onsite interview, which was far more interesting. I was set up in my own interview room (this was interview day so other candidates had their own rooms, too) and three different interviewers came through. They would target about forty-five minutes each and then they appeared to convene as a group to compare notes before switching to other candidates.

Interview Question – Some IT departments attempt to keep their vendors from talking to line of business people. Tell me about a time you had to manage a situation where the IT department wanted to restrict access to the end-users and how you overcame that.   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Principal Architect Interview

Principal Architect
Redmond, WA

I applied online and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in January 2008.

Interview Details – All day onsite interview after two phone interviews. The onsite interview included PM's, developers, and management. They constantly IM one another during and after each interview segment to determine overall suitability of candidate. If at any time they vote you out, they short circuit the interview and send you home. If you make it to the end of the day, you typically meet with the GM so they can "wow" you with how important you are to the company, etc...

Interview Questions

  • Explain the difference between HA and DR configurations. When would you decide to use each?   Answer Question
  • Explain the difference between a physical and logical database diagram.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – I was able to negotiate the salary, bonus, stock, and relocation benefits. At first Microsoft told me they didn't take into account the increased cost of living in Seattle but after further negotiations they increased the overall offer to suit my needs.


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Principal Consultant Interview

Principal Consultant
Frankfurt am Main (Germany)

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 7 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in May 2009.

Interview Details – I was laid off along with my entire division as the company melted down. A friend recommended me to Microsoft. I interviewed with them and they all went very well.

Interview Question – I had only worked two years at the company that laid me off. Before that only one year at another company, and had left my startup. They said they had doubts if I would stay at Microsoft. I found it very unexpected and actually felt guilty when they asked it.   View Answer

Negotiation Details – I was firm and asked for a slightly smaller salary than I was laid off at. I got it.


Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Principal Product Manager Interview

Principal Product Manager

Interviewed at Microsoft

Interview Details – Multiple rounds of reviews.
All subjective. Crap shoot.

Interview Question – Again, all subjective. Senior people should not get brain teaser questions.   Answer Question

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