I applied in-person and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Microsoft in August 2012.
Interview Details – Minimum of 4 Interviews (past MS jobs were up to 8 interviewers). Generally very positive interview athmosphere, folks want you to succeed whenm they bring you into the interview loop. No unfair or stupid questions.
Interview Question – If we have another candidate with the exact same skills, why should we choose you? Answer Question
Negotiation Details – tough but fair.
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in July 2012.
Interview Details – 2 phone interviews and followed by face to face interview with recruiter and manager. Lots of asking about how I would improve processes and bring in new business, with little actual information about the position and responsibilities
Interview Question – How I would handle life / work balance. Working at Microsoft becomes your life, and you have to be willing to accept seeing family / friends less to further career. Answer Question
I applied in-person and the process took 4 months - interviewed at Microsoft in January 2008.
Interview Details – a number of informal 1:1 interviews at tradeshows and later in HQ as well as on the phone. 1:1's were followed by a long 6-7 person all day loop. there were numerous follow-up calls after the interview loop. The decision took quite a long time to make and then the negotiation on salary was kind of take it or leave it.
Interview Question – what was my worst negotiation experience Answer Question
Negotiation Details – Not a lot of budging.
I applied online and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in February 2009.
Interview Details – Several phone Screenings, day Long interview day, case study
Interview Question – Why Microsoft Answer Question
Negotiation Details – Relatively short and with fairly good discussions and transparency
Interviewed at Microsoft
Interview Details – I went through 4 interviews - skip manager, 2 of my skip manager's peers and HR (who also doubled up for recruiting). 3 guys and 1 lady. The process was unusual in that I did not speak to my hiring manager until I joined work.
I interviewed for SMSG (the sales & marketing group) and I believe the process was geared towards figuring out which business unit I would be suitable for - sales, presales, solution team or evangelism. The 4 interviews each lasted 20-30 minutes. The focus was largely on my resume and exploring what was in it. I had worked on a couple of projects earlier (which I later discovered were relevant to Microsoft India's mid-market business strategy), and one of the interviewers spent the whole time on those 2 projects. None of the interviews had the puzzle questions that Microsoft is so famous for.
So I was made a spot offer, for a role in sales. There was no opportunity to negotiate the salary as it was a spot offer - I had to decide on the offer immediately. In hindsight, I am glad I took it up.
Interview Question – The interviewer from HR came up with a very unexpected question in the middle of the process -- he wanted to know my salary expectation. View Answer
Negotiation Details – Typically, Microsoft does not negotiate salary, unless you are joining at a senior level. They have very standard packages and bonus plans that depend on your years of experience and the role that you have applied for.
However, I've heard from others that you can negotiate a reasonable joining bonus (cash) and stock grants, depending on the circumstances. Your leverage depends a lot on how desperate they are to fill up the position.
I applied online and the process took 2+ months - interviewed at Microsoft in April 2011.
Interview Details – Microsoft in Australia is very different to US Microsoft in their hiring practices and culture. I spent a lot of time researching their interview techniques but ended up with the feeling that I knew better about Microsoft interviewing techniques than the people who were interviewing me. I was interviewed 8 times over 9 weeks for two different roles and was offered a role verbally by hiring manager in week 5 which was retracted the same day (I was told it was a miscommunication). Later I was put into another interview loop. They did offer eventually after 9 weeks.
Remember the following:
- You can be interviewed as many times as they like. Unlike US where all interviews happen in one day, Microsoft AU will keep bringing you back on separate days. Think about investing 7-8 days of your job search for just one company.
- There is no thing such as an 'interview loop' in Microsoft Australia - don't be misled by information on US websites. Interviewers are not expected to hand in 'hire/no hire' decision at the end of each interview. This allows hiring managers to use their influence on the process and candidates generally get hired if they are 'liked' by hiring managers rather than on their interview loop performance. .
- Generally, you will spend 2-3 days preparing for an interview and then up to a week waiting to hear from them and this goes on for 8-9 weeks. Be ready to make a lot of excuses to your current boss on 24-48 hour notices to attend weekly Microsoft interviews.
- Because they are aware of their mysterious process and fear that candidates will refuse to put up with their unreasonable demands, they drop a love bomb on you when you first start interviewing. As long as you are in the process, you will be told that you are the best candidate they ever dreamt off. Don't be flattered as they are telling the same story to everyone else in the loop and as soon as they start 'liking' someone else better than you, they won't even bother picking up the phone and sharing the outcome with you. When they retracted first offer, I was told that they can't even provide feedback with rejected candidates and then they suddenly fell in love with me again after two weeks.
- Microsoft uses contract recruiters in Australia who are completely disengaged from the process and their job is just to schedule appointments. They hate their jobs and it is very obvious from their attitudes. Always feel free to negotiate with them and ask for updates as often as you can - they have no 'say' in the process and I found them equally frustrated by the random ways of hiring managers.
- Microsoft interviewers vary in their ability and engagement. I had some great interviews and some really bad ones. One recruiter kept checking his emails during the interview and another kept me waiting in the lobby for 45 minutes and tried to give me the impression that he was testing my patience - he then rushed through the interview as he was getting late for lunch.
In general, they don't care about you as a candidate and demonstrate utter disrespect at times. They think they can get away with all that because of Microsoft brand but in the process end up loosing good candidates to competitors.
1) Expect to spend reasonable time in the process. If you are working full time, this could mean taking half a day off every week for 1-2 months. Allow yourself plenty of time as their visitor parking is generally full and it is hard to find parking in the area.
2) Keep reminding yourself that at any point your chances of getting a job are 0%. Don't have any hopes regardless of what you are being told. DO NOT BELIEVE THEM - they want to distract you from your recruitment processes elsewhere by raising your hopes but they are telling these stories to everyone and may be end up not hiring anyone or most likely go for an internal candidate.
3) Demand to know up front the extent of process. I was told it was just going to be three interviews in total and I ended up interviewing 8 times.
4) Any information that you find on Microsoft interviewing on GlassDoor is irrelevant to Australian process - don't bother wasting your time.
5) Don't expect to hear back in 48 hours after each interview and get an offer after one day of interviewing - welcome to Australia.
6) Don't expect feedback - if it has been more than a week since your last interview without being called, this is your feedback 'The Microsoft WAY' that you didn't get the job.
Hope this is useful to future candidates!
Power to the candidates and wish you all good luck!!!
Interview Question – How do you think we can beat Apple? Answer Question
Reason for Declining – I didn't find Microsoft to be an ethical and responsible prospective employer. From the interview process, it was evident that they had a lot of bureaucracy and decisions were made on 'personal likes/dislikes' instead of following a logical process. I was a fan of real 'Microsoft interview process' through my research long before applying and was aware of Microsoft using this that great framework to improve Education industry in the US and if one of their own subsidiaries is not using a great system which Microsoft thinks everyone should use, there must be something unusual with the culture of that subsidiary.
The process took a day - interviewed at Microsoft in June 2008.
Interview Details – Full day, long loop. Day started with initial interview with HR. Then I interviewed with the manager of the position that was open. Third interview was with the group manager, and then I had two interviews with potential teammates. Final interview was with the GM, who was very laid-back and easy going, and was more of a conversation to make sure that I would fit in with the team.
Negotiation Details – No negotiation.
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