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Microsoft Software Design Engineer Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jun 5, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting an Interview  

22%
22%
11%

Interview Experience  

62%
12%
25%

Interview Difficulty  

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

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Design Engineer (SDE) Interview

Software Design Engineer (SDE)
Redmond, WA

I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at Microsoft in October 2010.

Interview Details – I had interned at Microsoft over the previous summer so I skipped the phone screens and went straight to the in-person interviews. I flew out to Redmond for a one-day loop with 6 interviews, including one over lunch. Half were with one product team and half were with another. The last interview of the day was with the "as ap" -- this is the Microsoft term for the interviewer for is looking more for cultural fit and less for any specific skills/knowledge.

Interview Question – Given some synchronization primitives, implement a multiple-reader, single-writer lock. I was given the choice of using a primitive semaphore, monitor, mutex, etc.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – I didn't negotiate as I was coming straight out of college and didn't know any better. In hindsight I believe I could have easily negotiated for a greater signing bonus, if not a greater salary.


Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Design Engineer (SDE) Interview

Software Design Engineer (SDE)
Redmond, WA

I applied through an employee referral - interviewed at Microsoft in April 2014.

Interview Details – I was contacted by a recruiter through a referral and got a call for the interview in a couple of weeks. It went for about 45 minutes and the interviewer asked me questions about auto scaling, load balancing and a lot of questions on distributed systems. He asked me to implement a queue, which was easy. After a couple of weeks, I was flown to Redmond and had 4 back to back interviews. The range of questions varied a lot in all the interviews. I had to explain in detail about the projects I had worked on and infact 1 of the interviews was solely based on one of my most complicated projects that required a lot of knowledge about distributed systems, nosql, sql, scaling. He asked me issues existing in current system and how to make changes to the current implementation to take care of a huge number of requests made to the database. All in all, the whole process was pretty exciting. I was nervous at first but the moment I met with my first recruiter, I became confidant and composed. If you go for a final round, it indicates that you did pretty well. It was a great experience. Prepare threads well. MS loves that.

Interview Question – I did not expect to be grilled so badly on my projects.   Answer Question

Reason for Declining – Just a matter of interests. Was more interested in another project from another company. But it was a tough decision.


Accepted Offer

Negative Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Software Design Engineer In Test Interview

Software Design Engineer In Test
Redmond, WA

I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at Microsoft in March 2009.

Interview Details – 6 hours worth of interviews, with people of various levels. The focus is on technical and testing skills, and less about cultural fit. It makes for a long day, so get plenty of rest the night before, take the interviewers up on their offers to get something to drink (stay hydrated). Focus preparation on coding and technical questions.
As you think about the answer do your best to think out loud. It is just as much about how to get to the answer rather than getting the correct answer.
Also - try not to get rattled by interviewers being jerks. It is common. Sometimes it is intentional to see how you react, sometimes you just get an inexperienced interviewer who has poor people skills.

Interview Question – You'll get challenging coding questions, and a testing question that requires creative thought.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – They just sent an offer, and didn't do much in the way of negotiation. It was more than enough for me, so I took it.


Accepted Offer

Negative Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Software Design Engineer Interview

Software Design Engineer
Redmond, WA

I applied through other source and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – was tagged by recruiting at a school career day expo (though I wasn't a student at the time, just attending), was called about 2 weeks later and since local, brought in for an all day interview that started late morning, visited each office and was asked to white board technical questions explaining my thought processes as I did it, then was also asked about my shipping products experience or other theoretical 'what would you do in such a situation' project management like situations

Interview Question – asked to create a particular algorithm for a hash table scenario. the scenario was confusing and I didn't know how to even start. was not given any clarification when asked, just told to do it. I did a regular hash table and could tell that wasn't what he wanted but he just huffed and said we were done, and went to fetch the next interviewer.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – The HR person gave me a long sob story about how they couldn't meet my requirements but this was such a great opportunity I should feel grateful and just take what I was given. As I'd already messed up and told them I currently was without job, having just moved states, they hinted that this might be my only chance. like an idiot, I believed the whole thing and didn't negotiate. but I had a great manager that first year who saw what I was paid versus what I was doing and got me a large bump and stock options for fear of losing me once I figured out that I'd been conned.


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Software Design Engineer In Test (Contract) Interview

Software Design Engineer In Test (Contract)
Redmond, WA

I applied through a staffing agency and the process took a day - interviewed at Microsoft in September 2011.

Interview Details – 1/2 hour with one interviewer and 1/2 hour with the other which turned into 1 hour. Hiring manager was out of town so didn't get to interview with her.

Interview Question – 1) How do you test a paper cup? Then I was presented with a networked client software with an error dialog with user logged in as a standard users without administrator privileges and I was asked it was a bug.

2) How do you test a parking meter? Then I was asked a coding question on how to write a nested loop function to manipulate two arrays set of numbers
  Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Very little or no negotiation with Vendor Agency since this was a contract position. I was offerred W2 hourly rate with $1 difference with holiday pay only and no other benefits; and another $1 difference with vacation+medical+401K, or 1099 which is almost 20% higher than W2 rate.


3 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Design Engineer II Interview

Software Design Engineer II
Redmond, WA

The process took 1+ week - interviewed at Microsoft in May 2010.

Interview Details – My first Informational round was with the General Manager for a Lead Position in which he asked questions around my profile in lead roles. I had second informatiendoronal round with the Development Lead for Technical screening before they put me into formal interview loop. I was refered for SDE 2 position for which i interviewed and accepted offer

I had to go through 5 rounds in formal interview process. The interview included questions on;

1) Architecture Design
     Specific to your Skill & Role you are going for.
2) IQ
      Questions on Probability
      Scenario Questions
3) C# Code Writing
        Write Code by hand again and again
4) Problem Solving
          Use Whiteboard to your advantage
          Validate the problem the your are required to solve.
          Find the information and write your assumptions
          Write Sample data on the white board. Once you look at the numbers you will get more ideas.

5) Thought Process evaluation
        Break down the problem into parts and provide as detailed answer you can.
        Use the SDLC (A, D, B, T, D)

6) Personality Questions
            Tell Your Weakness,
            How would your colleagues describes you,
            Why do you think you will be good fit for the role

7) Communication skills
             Effectively Communicate
             Eye Contact is must
             Present your self confident and dress up nicely

I would suggest to look at the Job description very carefully and make sure you cover each and every aspect of the role. Have one of your buddy to take your interview 2-3 times, this will help you evaluate whether you really remeber things or go blank when you have demonstrate to somebody.

There were 2 more internal candidates came for the interview before the team made me the offer. If you don;t make through they will tell you in 1 - 2 days. If there are more candiates in loop they will keep you informed.

Overall Technical Recruiter was of great help with scheduling, negotiation and any other information you needed.

Good Luck to everyone who is planning for MS Interviews

Interview Question – General Conditional Probability Questions, String Manipulation Questions   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – You Can Negotiate Salary, Signing Bonus


Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Software Design Engineer Intern Interview

Software Design Engineer Intern
Redmond, WA

I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at Microsoft in March 2010.

Interview Details – I had applied online and they emailed me back saying that I will have the first interview "on campus".
1) 1 interview in the university (mostly behavioral, less technical) - 30 minutes

After about 3 weeks I was informed that I would be called to be interviewed in Redmond.

Interview in Redmond:
2) 3 *1 hr interviews and 1*90 minutes long lunch interview in Redmond.
The product for which I was selected to interview, didn't impress me much initially. However people were good.
i) Interviewer 1 - He asked me a lot of questions based on my resume and my experience. He asked me 1 design question
ii) Interviewer 2 - This was a lunch interview. He asked me to solve a problem on board first. Then we went for lunch where he asked me questions related to my resume and other general questions
iii) Interviewer 3 - 1 question and general questions
iv) Interviewer 4 - he was the seniormost guy. Asked me to code two problems and asked general questions.

Interview Questions

  • Think of any product. Design it. Define data structures for it and write algorithms for the methods used.   Answer Question
  • How would you search m strings in a given text in an efficient manner?   Answer Question
  • A set of line segments represent a geographical region (enclosing line segments). you have a couple of such sets. All together, the regions form a complete closed Big region. Find the bounding line segments for the total Big region.   Answer Question
  • Write code to remove redundant spaces from a string in C   Answer Question
  • Write code in C to replace a particular character in a string with k other characters.   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Software Design Engineer (SDE) Interview

Software Design Engineer (SDE)

Interviewed at Microsoft

Interview Details – Great experience, from the first contact with the recruiter until the offer was accepted. I had one phone screen followed by an onsite interview in London at the Skype office, which is pretty incredible. Can highly recommend applying, it was so far my best interview experience.

Interview Question – I can't share specifics, but I had one classic brain teaser over the phone, and pure technical questions at the interview, some regarding algorithms for sorting real-time input. The hardest question was probably a systems problem, where I really had to ask a lot of questions.   Answer Question


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Software Design Engineer (SDE) Interview

Software Design Engineer (SDE)

Interviewed at Microsoft

Interview Details – It was great... If I would have prepared for my interview, it would have been very easy...
1 - Find min distance between 2 nodes.
2 - A few questions on Strings.
3 - A design problem on Social Networking sites - design a social networking site for children

Interview Question – Design a social networking site for children   Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Software Design Engineer Interview

Senior Software Design Engineer
Bangalore (India)

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – There is an initial telephonic round, which is technical. You should be prepared to write C code for basic coding problems such reversing a linked list or deleting every n-th node in a linked list.

After you get past the telephonic round, there will be in person face to face interview rounds. There can be minimum 3 to maximum 5 or 6 rounds.

You will be tested on coding, problems solving, computer science fundamentals, design etc.
 Each interviewer may focus on one of the above areas. Most of the time, you will be asked to write code. The code is expected to be tight, handle all boundary conditions, efficient in terms of time and space complexity.

Interview Question – you have an array of size N whose contents are either 0, 1 or 2 (repeated, of course). Sort the array in a single pass.   Answer Question

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