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Microsoft Senior Program Manager Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jun 19, 2014
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Interview Experience  

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Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
38 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Program Manager Interview

Senior Program Manager
Redmond, WA

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

Interview Details – Back in the day, MS had an high entry bar despite the company's constant need for anyone. These days, expect a bunch of puzzle questions and be prepared to spend the day getting probed.

Interview Question – Too long ago to recall   Answer Question


4 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Program Manager Interview

Senior Program Manager
Redmond, WA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – The overall experience was really good. I've had other interviews with Microsoft and they've all been great. The structure is always the same:
First contacted by either hiring manager or recruiter followed by a short phone screen to see if the person and the resume fits.

After initial phone screen a "loop" is scheduled with multiple interviews on the same day "on site" at Microsoft. All information about how the loop would work, who I would meet, etc was given in advance. The recruiter and the interviewers were extremely professional throughout the entire process. The Microsoft loop is described in details all over the internet so I will not go into that. I went through six interviews of varying difficulty and details before being handed over to the "asap". Once at the asap I was pretty much told that I had a job if I wanted one and that they really wanted me to join their team - this is probably not general practice so don't expect your last interview to be a "what can we do/say to make you join us"-type of session.

Each interview had it's own characteristics, but they all followed the same pattern: ice-breaker for a few minutes, asking about my past experiences, testing technical ability by a problem solving or design open-ended question of some sort, personality evaluation type of questions, and the final 5-10minutes to answer any questions I might have (and yes, I had questions of my own - you should too).

I was asked not only "management" related questions. There were a few more in-depth technical "problems" to solve. I did not have to do whiteboard coding, but I did have to design programming APIs and break down and try to explain a real-life client-server based architecture. No questions were really unexpected or shook me out of my comfort zone, perhaps that had more to do with my familiarity by then with the Microsoft interview structure than the actual questions - some might find it difficult and unexpected to have to go into such deep technical details when applying for what is considered to be a management position. There was none of the infamous Microsoft "brain teasers" during this interview (though I've had them in other interviews).

Throughout the interview day I had a really good experience. The team was definitely right for me as we "clicked" on most topics, and what turned out to be a seven hour day of interviews felt more like a short lunch - I had fun during the day! The team seemed very enthusiastic about their work and really passionate about Microsoft and the product they worked on and managed to convey that to me through their actions and answers to my own questions.

Interview Question – Like I said in the above text there was no real unexpected question. The hardest one would probably be the question about designing an API from scratch on a blank whiteboard.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – There is room for negotiating the base salary and the sign-on bonus. There doesn't seem to be any room for negotiation on the other parts.


No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Program Manager Interview

Senior Program Manager

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – 1 hour interview that went for about 1.25 hrs. Very focussed on process as applied to a real world problem, very enjoyable actually. Describe critical features that would be core to providing business travelers who are foodies access to rooms with cooking facilities and what peripheral features and our businesses could be helpful to provide this service

Interview Question – How to provide test process to a Toaster assembly line   Answer Question


5 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Senior Program Manager Interview

Senior Program Manager
Seattle, WA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – Interview process at Microsoft is very well-organized. Typically, you go through a "loop" consisting of meeting 4 - 6 people in a day, and an "as appropriate" at the end --- that person will meet with you if you have enough "hire" recommendations from the people you've met earlier in the day. If you don't meet with a more senior person at the end of the loop, you probably didn't get enough "hires" earlier in the day.

Microsoft is unbelievably disrespectful in the timeliness of its communications. You can HR, the people you've met, and just about anyone else to "go dark" on you for what can seem like an eternity (especially when you are looking for a job). It's just plain mysterious. People won't answer emails, or calls --- don't take it personally. There just isn't a culture of respecting people who aren't "in the fold" (unless you are a customer paying for something).

Interview questions can vary greatly. If you are interviewing for a position in a "hot" part of the company (Xbox, for example), you can expect to meet some younger type people who are very full of themselves, and think you should feel lucky talking to them. Just deal with it. You will likely get ridiculous questions like "what is your true passion?" or "how do you want to use technology to change the world?" ... things along those lines.

Interview Question – I got an interesting question once asking me to estimate how many gas stations were in the US. I've heard that more technical jobs will really get into the details of computer science, but I haven't had to deal with that. Watch out for questions like, "what is important to you?" That isn't a question (typically) about your real values in life. I was once asked that, and came to see that what was expected was an answer like, "I just wake up in the morning thinking about how I serve my customers better". Awesome, I guess, if you live for work.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Straight forward. They hold all the cards, unless you are some kind of crazy genius developer or a true sales rain-maker.


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Program Manager Interview

Senior Program Manager
Bellevue, WA

I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in May 2013.

Interview Details – Submitted application online. Contacted by recruiter to get basic information (willing to relocate? US citizen? salary requirements, etc.). Recruiter set up follow-up interview with hiring manager within 1 week. Interviewed with hiring manager who asked some technical questions like what is polymorphism? Then asked the a very generic question about how do you test a toaster? Started giving my answer, then interviewer request that I focus specifically how to test "doneness". Talked a little about different types of breads, testing without using bread, and focused on testing a toaster that was already in production vs a new toaster that is still in the R&D phase.

Interview Question – How would you test a toaster?   Answer Question


2 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Program Manager Interview

Senior Program Manager
Redmond, WA

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in April 2013.

Interview Details – I had first round of phone interview with the HR contact. On the phone, she asked me general questions about my experience. She asked me why I am leaving my current job and then also asked why I wanted to work for Microsoft. Once I cleared that, I was called for an in-person interview or the "loop" as they call it. The loop was set up with 4 people and then the last interview was as-needed one. During the loop i interviewed with Group program managers and the engineering manager. I was told if there is a need for as-needed interview it will scheduled for the next day.

My first 4 interviews went well. Each ran over an hour with detailed questions on my job experience. They gave me specific scenarios/situations. A couple of technical questions.
By the time all 4 interviews were done i was exhausted. Be prepared it can be a very long day..

My last interviewer (4th one in the loop) told me i have the final interview the next day. That meant i had done well so far or they wouldnt have let me go ahead.

the next day interview was with a principal engineering manager and that lasted for 45 mins.

I heard from the HR back in 3 business days and I got the job.

Interview Question – Unexpected questions were more like what will you change in Microsoft if you were the CEO and why?
What you dont like about Microsoft?
  Answer Question

Negotiation Details – I didnt need negotiation because the offer was matching my expectations. They are pretty generous and match the competitors.


Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Senior Program Manager Interview

Senior Program Manager
Redmond, WA

I applied online and interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – 1. Submit dozens (or maybe hundreds?) of applications over several months
2. Contacted for phone screens for maybe 5 applications
3. Two phone screens led to in-person interviews
4. In-person interviews are most of a full day, meeting with 4-6 people for an hour each.
5. They have one last interviewer held in reserve at the end of the day, not on your schedule. If the other interviewers judge you to be good enough, this "as appropriate" person (generally the most senior person, probably the final decision maker) will take time to interview you as well. If you don't meet with this "as appropriate" interviewer, you probably were judged to be not good enough to take time with & won't be getting the job. I imagine there are occasional instances where the "as appropriate" person has a last-minute conflict.

Negotiation Details – I was able to negotiate a little bit on the amount of stock included in the hiring incentives.


No Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Senior Program Manager Interview

Senior Program Manager
Redmond, WA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in February 2013.

Interview Details – Expect at least 4 to 5 interviews. Interviewers are knowledgable, so don't try to make up your answers. Just be honest with your answers, and if you don't know just say so. Some positions are harder to get than others, so do your homework before applying. :)
By the way, better be prepared to answer some Fermi problem type of questions.

Interview Question – In your opinion, what makes a great program manager?   Answer Question


No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Program Manager Interview

Senior Program Manager
Redmond, WA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Microsoft in March 2013.

Interview Details – Was contacted for the Windows Team program management job, the role was very vague, passed the phone screen and went on site for an interview. Lasted all the way to the end 9AM to 5PM with no break, bumped in other candidates for the same role multiple times. The interview process is exhausting, everyone ask similar questions in different way. Was left hanging for over 3 weeks without an answer and with an HR guy that didn't really answer email or phone calls.

Interview Question – Tell me something I don't know for exactly 5 minutes   View Answer


Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Senior Program Manager Interview

Senior Program Manager

Interviewed at Microsoft

Interview Details – Phone Interview
All Day Interviews (including "as applicable" at the end)

Interview Question – Word Problems that have nothing to do with the position so you can't predict what they will ask.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – No negotiation required

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