Microsoft Hardware Engineering Intern Interview Questions & Reviews
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Hardware Engineer Intern Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
The process took 2 months - interviewed at Microsoft in December 2011.
Interview Details – I applied online through my career site, and also went to a resume building session and dropped off my resume, never expecting to get an interview.
I flew to Seattle, and everything was taken care of. Hotel, rental car, plane ticket. The first day you're there, you are able to explore Seattle. You are also invited to a recruiting event where they rented out a bowling place with OPEN BAR for the applicants to relax and get to know their recruiters. The applicant pool there was quite intimidating. Everyone is from the top engineering schools in the US. MIT, Stanford, UChicago, Maryland, UCLA Berkley, GA Tech just to name a few. And here I am from the University of Florida(lol). I was able to meet some program managers and talk to them about what they do.The next morning we were swept away in a MS shuttle into the interviewing room.
The interviews consisted of four 1:1 interviews for full time and intern positions. All of my interviews were very technical. My first interview was with a PCB designer for windows phone, and coincidentally my current internship consisted of me doing PCB design for high frequency applications. He asked me a lot of questions pertaining to my work, and will really make you think.
Ironically, my second interviewer was a lead designer for PC hardware, which I talked to the night before at the intern event. We had a nice conversation, which then led into the technical question. It was primarily based on Microprocessor applications, and I was able to work it out even though I had dropped the class that semester.
My third interview was with the Lead Xbox Designer, who had about 20 years of experience under his belt. Really nice guy, but this time the interview didn't go as well. He asked me a lot about pcb design, signal integrity, and pcb design. I couldn't get the signal integrity question right, but he was able to help me work through it by applying easy to understand analogies and concepts. I felt pretty bad about this interview but kept my chin up.
My last interview was with another MS employee who was exceptionally bright in circuit design and programming. This guy grilled me so bad in circuit design. The interview consisted of two problems consisted of circuit analysis, and op amp transfer function derivation. I struggled a lot on these questions and felt that I bombed this last interview.
I was pretty depressed after the interview as I felt it went horrible. After all the interviews, we were told to hang out in the library and eat lunch while the interviewers deliberated. One by one, the full time applicants were pulled inside the office to be given their results. Finally, the interns were pulled one by one. I was pulled in last, and was not feeling so confident, because of the 12 applicants that were there, only one had been given a solid "yes". Two other applicants were given "maybes". I was the last one to be pulled in, and was extended an offer, which I accepted on the spot.
P.S. - To be honest, I answered a lot of questions wrong. But it's important to voice how you work our your problems aloud and show them what you're thinking. Also, there was no lack of talent there in the applicant pool. But what I did notice was that some applicants were lacking social skills. I do not think that I had the most intellectual prowess of the group, but I believe that my prior work experience and social skills were able to boost my chances in the deliberation.
- If you increase the width of a PCB trace, does it decrease or increase the trace impedance? View Answers (3)
- What factors control the impedance of a trace? View Answers (2)
- What happens to a signal integrity as you increase length and when there is return current? View Answer
- Derive the transfer function of a specific Op Amp configuration Answer Question
- Find the collector current based on this configuration and voltages. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – There is no negotiation, but trust me, what they pay interns is more than what they pay most starting EE salaries with a BS degree. You will NOT be disappointed by their offer. They give you GREAT benefits along with an enormous intern salary. ;)
Hardware Engineering Intern Interview (Negative Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at Microsoft in February 2012.
Interview Details – I submitted my resume at the college career fair, heard back about a week later from someone from Kelly Services (Microsoft's outsourced hiring people). The Kelly Services person didn't seem very organized. But, she did finally get me scheduled for a 30 minute phone interview. My resume & experience is geared towards a software position, but they set me up for a hardware interview, so it didn't go well. It was a 30 minute phone interview with a Microsoft employee that was very difficult to understand (and who had trouble understanding me). The questions were all on caches, pipelines, and basic logic design (most of the questions were simple, but not things I remembered). Between him asking "What did you say?" and me asking him "what did you say?" the 30 minutes went very quick, and wasn't very productive.
Hardware Engineer Intern Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at Microsoft in December 2011.
Interview Details – Overall, Microsoft is one of the companies with which I have had the most pleasure interviewing. I'm currently pursuing my electrical engineering degree and have been looking for the right company to get started with in the tech industry... and I believe I found it!
MS recruiters came to our career fair and were more than happy to discuss different possibilities for interns and had really great feedback on what it's like to work for such a large company. I handed them my resume and assumed it would get lost with the other 1000 resumes they probably received. Not at all. A week passed and I received an email asking if I was available for an on-campus interview (at my university) for a hardware internship. I didn't hesitate and found myself ready to give it a shot!
This first round of interviews was very intimidating and I found myself slightly unprepared. The interviewer was very nice, but was not a hardware engineer. The 1 hour interview was composed of a technical and a non-technical part. During the technical section, their job mainly was to see how I approached problem solving as well as posing a few EE questions about hardware components and filters. During the non-technical section, I was able to discuss some previous internship experiences I had completed as well as relevant extracurriculars. After the interview, I was told I would hear back in a few weeks whether or not I would move to the 2nd (and final) round of interviews on Microsoft's campus...
Three weeks pass and I get the email that I had been selected to interview in Redmond for a hardware internship! For this round, MS will fly you out to their campus on an all-expense paid trip for the weekend. Hotel, rental car, meals, and other sightseeing expenses are covered! Seattle is a great city with plenty of things to do and see, but the weather is nothing to get excited about in the winter. It was so nice to enjoy a stress-free weekend before the "big day" on Monday.
The interview day is what it all comes down to. You have four 45 minute interviews with 15 minute breaks in between. Each interview is with someone from a different division within MS. Questions ranged from technical (design a circuit to do X, how would you fix Y, etc.) to experience-based (what did you do at X, how did you learn from Y, etc.) to abstract (2 pails of water to measure X amount of liquid, and other brain teasers). It is quite an exhausting day lasting about 5 hours straight.
After your last interview, you have your results in about an hour! Three possibilities exist: 1) "We would like to offer you a position!" 2) "We could not offer you a position for this summer." and 3) "We aren't able to confirm an offer for you at this present time, but we may have something soon." Let me just say that the recruiters are extremely nice and personable. They go to great lengths to make sure you feel comfortable during your entire stay and are able to answer as many questions as you throw at them. Definitely don't hesitate to ask.
In my case, I was offered a position and am very excited about it! Their compensation is very competitive and as I said, the recruiters are behind you 100% of the way making sure you know all of the details and aren't left in the dark.
I'm confident that the job will be as pleasing if not more so than the overall interview process.
Interview Question – How would you design analog filters? Answer Question
Negotiation Details – No.
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