Microsoft Interview Questions & Reviews
Getting an Interview
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Attorney Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Microsoft.
Interview Details – Microsoft's in-person interview process is a series of 1:1 discussions with people of different levels within the organization that you are applying to. All aspects of the day are included in the interview process, including the semi-casual lunch that you will have. Throughout the day, people who interviewed you write comments about you into an online tool so that others interviewing you can better focus their questioning to areas of interest. In addition, interviewers also indicate whether they think you are a "hire" or "no hire". While it won't be on your interview schedule, there is an "as appropriate" interview at the end of the day, which is based on whether interviewers are suggesting that you be hired. So if you get an interview at the end of the day that's not on your schedule you should take that as a good sign, although not a guarantee of an offer.
Negotiation Details – I did not negotiate.
Software Development Interview (Negative Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 3 days - interviewed at Microsoft in December 2013.
Interview Details – Did one interview with me on campus, and then flew me out for a weekend. While there I was interviewed by 4 or 5 different people. Once the interviews were done, I waited (along with a group of others who were interviewing) for decisions to be made. As we left they gave offers to some of us.
Interview Question – How would you create an algorithm to sort wine? View Answer
Software Development Engineer (SDE) II Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in March 2012.
Interview Details – Phone Interview with live-meeting so they could see me coding, then a full day loop interview including lunch. I showed up 9 AM, and passed 3 technical interview, then had lunch till 1 PM. Had another technical interview and at last meet the hiring manager.
Interview Question – It was all data structure and security related questions. Nothing unexpected. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – It was quick, they gave an offer with a full relocation package.
Software Design Engineer (SDE) Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Microsoft.
Interview Details – Phone screen by recruiter and then on site interview. On site interview was a set of 4 interviews. Last interview is usually with a hiring manager. I had 1 technical question in each interview. The phone screen is more behavioral. The technical questions were moderate difficulty. Make sure you are explaining your thought process.
Interview Question – Question difficulty level similar to the ones in Cracking the code interview. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – Non negotiable.
Program Manager Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Microsoft in November 2013.
Interview Details – Had an interview on undergraduate school campus and then was flown to seattle for an on campus interview. While in seattle, they had put me in the wrong group so I was being interviewed by test/developers who were not prepared to ask PM questions. But over all all of the interviewees were very nice and easy to talk to which was good.
Interview Question – How would you design an algorithm for an elevator control system Answer Question
Senior Project Manager Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 6+ weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in February 2010.
Interview Details – Cumbersome, crazy questions (how would you test an ink pen). I have been doing my job for 15+ years, getting these questions made me wonder about the company.
Interview Question – Ethics - If you are out of country, and the norm is to bribe to get the deal done, do you bribe? View Answer
Negotiation Details – Always negotiate. Negotiate on different levels (salary, bonus, training, vacation).
MBA Interview (Neutral Experience)
Interviewed at Microsoft
Interview Details – At least 4 different interviews, mostly behavioral, a few case-like questions. I did not have an "instigator" interview where someone tried to push me, but I have heard that can happen. One of my interviews was over lunch which was interesting, to try to be impressive while eating Pho at The Commons.
Interview Question – To talk through a go to market strategy for a new product Answer Question
Negotiation Details – There is a standard offer for MBA interns, negotiating wasn't really an option
Microsoft Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Microsoft in April 2013.
Interview Details – Microsoft process professional but slow. After initial interview screen they loop 2 to 3 candidates for a position. You meet with 3-4 people that work with the position you're applying. If the interview is going well they will let you know you will be meeting with additional person that wasn't on the initial interview list. This is normally the "AA "As Appropriate" They normally have 7-10 years experience at the company are director level or above. Normally they are your hiring managers skip level but not always. This interview is to look beyond the job you're applying and they want to figure out if you're a long term fit for the company.
Interview Question – What is a product you love but is marketed very badly? How would you market it differently? Answer Question
Negotiation Details – I held out for signing bonus 15% of salary.
Content Developer Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
Interviewed at Microsoft
Interview Details – I was employed at Microsoft for many years. I have interviewed once as an external applicant, and at least 20 times as an internal candidate. I was also an As Appropriate interviewer (AA), in that I was trained to be the final interviewer who's interviewing specifically for Microsoft potential. I've interviewed and hired many people over the years. I hope this information helps. :)
Expect one or more standard phone screens followed by an invitation for on-site interviews. I don't know much about the phone screen process since I was a product group manager and not part of the initial recruiting. In my experience, the best way to prepare for a Microsoft interview is as follows:
1. Create a table with the elements of the job description in one column, your level of competence with that requirement in the second column, and a specific example of when you applied that skill in the third. Have one row for each requirement, each responsibility, and for any other qualities mentioned in the job description.
2. Write a two or three sentence answer to the question: Why do you want to work at Microsoft?
3. Be clear about what you have learned. Where have you failed? What did you learn from that and how did you apply that knowledge to a subsequent situation?
4. Write two to three sentences about what your unique contribution has been to each position you've held. This is referred to as your "super power." Are you the person who finds flaws in the plan? Are you the person who has big ideas? Are you the one person who's not afraid to disagree? Find your thing and lead with it.
Microsoft wants its employees to be self-critical and willing to grow. You will need those skills in order to succeed as much as you need technical or professional skills.
I've seen other posts with more details about the process, so I won't repeat them. Just be honest about yourself. You don't need to dredge up and reveal the worst things about yourself, but you should be willing to expose who you really are, where you need and want to grow, and what your unique contribution to the company or group might be.
Interview Question – How did working at your last job change you? Answer Question
Negotiation Details – I didn't negotiate and realize now I should have.
Program Manager Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Microsoft.
Interview Details – Setup through University Recruiting.
One on campus interview. Interviewer asked me what I am passionate about and asked me to design an app for it on paper.
Next Onsite. It will be 8 hours long and 5 rounds. Two junior level PMs, one engineer, and two exec level PMs.
Asked me to design systems on whiteboards and pointed out edge cases, which I had to address in the design. Last interview with the top exec and was very pleasant conversation about why I wanted to be a PM then design a product problem.
Interview Question – Nothing really. Even if it comes up. Stay calm and take a moment to think about it. Always think back to the user and you'll be good. Answer Question
Interviews for Top Jobs at Microsoft