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Microsoft Research Software Development Engineer Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Mar 7, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting an Interview  

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22%
11%

Interview Experience  

87%
0%
12%

Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
8 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
Relevance Date Difficulty
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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Research Software Development Engineer Interview

Research Software Development Engineer
Seattle, WA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took a day - interviewed at Microsoft in June 2011.

Interview Details – 1. introduce background;
2. the research has been done;
3. Design questions:
3.1. data center network;
3.2. sync in distributed systems;
3.3. TCP / IP performance;
3.4. Routing;
3.5. coding: dynamic programming

Interview Question – No unexpected questions.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Told the HR I have 7 offers, and each of the salary.


No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Research Software Development Engineer Interview

Research Software Development Engineer
Redmond, WA

I applied through college or university and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Microsoft in November 2008.

Interview Details – The process started with submitting resume at career fair, then had a on-campus interview. Basic questions were asked about projects etc, followed by writing code for a simple problem. After 2 weeks got a call for on-site interview. Was told there would be 3-5 interview in Redmond office with Live Search Data Mining group. The recruiter had no idea how different the interview process would be compared to SDE position. As such i brushed up on my research more than the algo+data structure parts.

On the day of the interview, I arrived early in the morning and went over simple hr type questions ie. why msft, why would i choose them over others etc. I was given the name of the my first interview and told that each interview would take me to the next one (depending on how well i did). Also the interviewers would discuss the area they covered in the interview and how i performed with the next interviewer (and have me sit in the lobby when the discussed this).

The first interviewer was the dev lead and went over my resume, ask some questions about my projects then saw that i had TA for cryptography a while back at school, so asked me to design a card game online where the player cannot cheat. this was followed by a prob. question and to write code for it. After that he took me to the next interview. This person too was a senior member of the team. He asked another algo/coding question, which i barely managed to get done in the time we had. Next interview was lunch interview, this is 1.5 hrs compared to previous 1hr ones. He went in lot more detail about my research work and what they do. This was followed by a couple of simple coding question when we got back to his office, but i performed quite poorly there. After that he took me to the next interview, this started with a simple coding question which he made progressively harder till i was stuck. After i was done he said this was my last interview of the day and he accompanied my outside to the recruiting shuttle. He basically said even though this position involved research, coding part is more important, and i didn't perform as well. After i went back to the recruiting building, the recruiter wasn't there but had left a packet of info about Seattle (based on a survey i had to fill in before the interviews). After 2 days i got back a mail from the recruiter that there would be no offer.

All the coding questions i was asked were standard and available on various ms/google questions site (which i didn't prepare as well on). Also just don't solve the questions there, think about all possible follow up questions, can you improve it space/time, would caching/ locality help, special cases (uniform distribution of numbers etc).

Interview Question – Binary search in rotated sorted array. (on-campus question)   Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Research Software Development Engineer Interview

Research Software Development Engineer
Redmond, WA

The process took a day - interviewed at Microsoft in May 2008.

Interview Details – 25 candidates in total. Took everyone out to a very expensive restaurant the night before (~$80 per person). Provided a limo to get to the interviews in the morning. Interviews were relatively easy (4 in total). Early ones asked about my research, and the later ones seemed more like a formality as they mostly just asked rehashed algorithm questions that I had seen on websites. Overall the interview process was a piece of cake.

Interview Question – Describe your research to me   View Answer

Negotiation Details – I was told up front that the offer was "non-negotiable". Since I had no other offers at the time, I didn't feel I was in a good position to bargain. For others, I would suggest getting a second or third interview with a different company set up around the same time, so you have more power.


Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Research Software Development Engineer Interview

Research Software Development Engineer
Beijing, Beijing (China)

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

Interview Details – There are 8 round test, 45 min for each.
First, there are 2 developer to ask me question about mathematics and programming, not quite hard but they are considering your basis. Such as how to calculate the Pi, and reverse a string.
Then, followed by researchers to ask me my vision and other question related to your background. The researchers might ask question related to his own research. For example, a researcher ask me how to broadcast message to other node and avoid redundancy and collision, just because he is research in sensor network.

Interview Question – To avoid redundancy sent in sensor network and collision detection   Answer Question


No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Research Software Development Engineer Interview

Research Software Development Engineer
Cambridge, South West England, England (UK)

The process took a day - interviewed at Microsoft in August 2009.

Interview Details – Mostly questions about technical and educational background. Good background knowledge of Microsoft products is a bonus point. The whole interview row might be about 7 to 8 1:1 interviews. The interview included programming questions and various technical questions (including ones that you might not be able to answer). The interviewer was interested in the appoach how the problems given where solved.

Interview Question – Given is a list of numbers, write an algorithm that randomly draws numbers. The algorithm needs to terminate.   Answer Question


No Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

Research Software Development Engineer Interview

Research Software Development Engineer

I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at Microsoft in June 2008.

Interview Details – The HR asked me if I could remember all Windows APIs first. I was shocked. Why would I spend time doing that when IDE can provide everything? I don't need to develop software in Notepad. Then I was asked to describe how would I design a system for automated selling machines. I spent five minutes to express my idea. There were other questions.

Interview Question – How many windows APIs do you remember?   View Answers (2)


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Research Software Development Engineer Interview

Research Software Development Engineer
Beijing, Beijing (China)

The process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in August 2011.

Interview Details – They first provided a campus test, the call you to ask about some basic concepts.

Interview Question – Write a program to parse GPS data in separate XML files and calculate the whole distance.   Answer Question


No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Research Software Development Engineer Interview

Research Software Development Engineer
Bangalore (India)

I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at Microsoft in August 2011.

Interview Details – I was asked questions only on data structures like binary search trees and linked lists , stacks and queues...then a little of C coding questions....every round they expect code without bugs...questions like write test cases were also asked.....

Interview Question – Given a preorder traversal construct a valid binary search tree   View Answer

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