I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at Microsoft.
Interview Details – Many back to back 1 hour interviews with different people from different departments.
Interview Question – Draw the contents of an asynchronous FIFO. Answer Question
I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at Microsoft in December 2011.
Interview Details – Within 2 days of submitting your resume to Microsoft you will be contacted by a Talent Sourcing Consultant. From the email address line it appears to be person from EASI LLC (Enterprise Alliance Systems, Inc).
They require you to fill out a Self Rating Profile prior to speaking to the consultant.
The consultant is efficient and professional. His mission is to quickly process you into the system and to very skillfully extract/deduce your salary information / salary expectations from you. A single noncommittal statement of acceptance to something the consultant says can immediately lead to you being considered for the same job but at a lower job title. Seeing what they did and how skillfully they did it led me to immediately purchase a salary negotiation book from Amazon.
They do an excellent job of telling you what you can expect in the interview process as well as the engineering topics you will be questioned about during the phone interview.
A couple days later you will receive a phone interview. The interviewer will immediately state the job title that they are interviewing you for (ie the lower job title) and whether that is acceptable to you. The interview won't continue unless you say yes.
I was interviewing for a hardware position. I found the interviewer to have only a fraction of the knowledge and experience that I have. She had a list of questions which she asked. It's a good cross-section of questions. She would write a summary of each of my answers into her laptop. In addition to these questions, she would often ask about best practises, methodology and design techniques. She was trying to obtain as many of these as possible. Later, I found out why. Microsoft outsources their physical design work.
At the end of the technical interview the engineer required that you discuss your salary expectations. I've never seen this before. Here was an engineer who could potentially be a co-worker and yet I was being required to discuss salary.
IMO, the Microsoft candidate system is designed to obtain candidates at the lowest salary level. This makes sense since they are a mature company and their stock price has flatlined for the last 11 years. Their candidate system is not designed to identify and recruit top talent. (e.g. Google, Facebook, Apple)
I found it distasteful how Microsoft engineers extract as many best practises, methodology and design techniques out of its interview candidates without offering anything in return. They are "Takers". There is no reciprocity.
Overall, because of my experience I found the interview to be easy. Inexperienced engineers would have difficulty.
Interview Question – Microsoft will provide you a list of engineering topics that you will be questioned about during the phone interview. View Answer
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