Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
Interviews for Top Jobs at Microsoft
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Senior Program Manager Interview
The process took 2+ weeks – interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA) in February 2012.
Microsoft recruiting is an extremely well run organization. Had a pleasant chat with a recruiter who contacted me out of the blue. Followed up with phone conversations with internal recruiting and the hiring manager. After phone screens, Microsoft provided totally pain free travel for the onsite interview, which consisted of the standard MS "loop." The loop itself was just a series of pleasant conversations with smart people. Received an offer 2 business days after the loop, and happily accepted a compensation package that was on the impressive side of generous. Easily the best recruiting and interview experience I've been through in the software industry.
- Standard conversational questions about software development best practices. Answer Question
Felt no need to negotiate. Opening offer matched my expectations exactly.
Other Interview Reviews for Microsoft
Senior Program Manager InterviewAccepted OfferPositive Experience
I applied in-person – interviewed at Microsoft in January 2012.
resume based questions
Senior Program Manager InterviewAccepted OfferPositive ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4+ weeks – interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA) in July 2011.
employee referral lead to informational (1:1) interview.
a formal interview loop was established with 5 different people (peers, developers, managers)
a final as appropriate interview with a senior director for the parent group.
- Create the design specifications for a Car. 1 Answer
Senior Program Manager InterviewAccepted OfferNegative ExperienceDifficult Interview
I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4+ weeks – interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA) in June 2010.
I interviewed in 3 different groups. In each case the interviews were conducted over 1-2 days, consisting of 4-5, hour long, 1:1 interviews. There is much information on the net about Microsoft interview and I'd say the interviews were 'standard' for Microsoft.
What surprised me the most about the interviews was the utter lack of professionalism displayed by the first two teams. A couple of examples:
- a hiring manager didn't show up for a morning interview and didn't bother to call the coordinator or me
- as our rescheduled interview was about to begin, the same manager left me waiting for 15 minutes while he chatted with a team member outside of his office
- a second manager left me standing outside of his office for 30 minutes while he loudly chatted on the phone, feet up on his desk, about his weekend. When we started the interview he offered no apology.
- about half of the interviewers did not review my resume before we started talking
In general, the interviewers were unprepared and unprofessional, even arrogant. I was surprised by the number of sophomoric interview questions and meaningless riddles and almost total lack of interest in exploring my decade+ of highly relevant experience.
While I did accept a position in another group, I'd say the overall experience was extremely disappointing and reflects very poorly on Microsoft's culture.
- I honestly don't remember the details of the interview questions. Answer Question
Senior Program Manager InterviewNo OfferPositive ExperienceDifficult Interview
The process took 1 day – interviewed at Microsoft (Bellevue, WA) in April 2010.
Was contacted to do a Technical Phone Screen. Almost two months later got asked to fly up for an interview. Was given a specific position. On the interview day was told that I would be interviewing for several positions on several different teams. Only one of the interviewers was on a team related to the position I was asked to interview for. Had a total of four interviews and was told that was it for the day.
- Solve the Bellevue parking problem 1 Answer
Senior Program Manager InterviewDeclined OfferNegative ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied in-person. The process took 3 days – interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA) in March 2010.
HR could be a bit disorganized, but the actual interview loop was relatively smooth. Definitely bring your resume as HR is unreliable about this -- even for internals.
- Using a satellite photo, tell me how many blades of grass are in a square meter of the turf outside this building. Answer Question
Reasons for Declining
The group seemed demoralized and uncertain about their futures.
Senior Program Manager InterviewNo OfferNegative ExperienceEasy Interview
I applied online. The process took 1 day – interviewed at Microsoft (Redan, GA) in January 2010.
Phone Screen in E&D scheduled for 1 hr...hiring manager had unexpected conflict arise, cut to 30 minutes. Very enjoyable chat, but way too brief. At conclusion was told that we needed to schedule another hour to talk. Next morning recruiter says that we're not moving forward. Very surprised, disappointed and rather disturbed in this outcome.
- What sort of specifications would I create for the team? Answer Question
Senior Program Manager InterviewNo OfferPositive ExperienceAverage Interview
The process took 4 weeks – interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA) in October 2009.
A friend at MS signed me up for Employee Referral program and applied for several Program Manager positions. After 3 weeks of not hearing anything, I received an email from MS Recruiter stating they were interested in my qualifications. A few days later, I had phonescreen with hiring manager, it lasted 30 min and went very well. Questions asked were 1) tell me about yourself, 2) why are you interested in this position, 3) what are your strengths. Then I was asked to come onsite.
During this time, I prepared a lot for this interview. I knew of 3 people who works at MS and asked all about interviewing process; I had 30 min phone discussion with them and asked them lots of questions on what to expect during interview such as write on board, ask questions, smile & stay interested in the product and technology, et.c. I read the blogs on MS website on interviewing tips, that was helpful. I read a lot about the product for which I'm interviewing, even found MS contacts from one of the conferences I attended and interviewed them as well since they had experience with it.
2 weeks after phonescreen, they flew me up to Redmond from San Diego and put me at hotel in Bellevue. It was a very nice experience -- paid for meals, lodging, transportation. I stayed 3 nights and 2 days: the day prior to interview, I toured the campus, Bellevue, and downtown Seattle. Recruiter called me and said I will talk to only 2 people, then get a break:
Next day was the big day. I was greeted by a Group Program Manager and interviewed with him. He spent a lot of time talking about himself, the organization, and the role. He spent the last 10 min asking me only 2 questions: 1) describe a time you had dealing with someone who didn't collaborate, 2) business strategy on the product. Next person was Dev Mgr and took me to lunch (no interviewing, just chatting), then went back to his office for only 3 questions: 1) experience with product design & how I did it, 2) code leverage/borrow experience, 3) usability & user feedback experience.
After this, they told me to take a break. This meant that if I failed, they would send me home. 20 min later, they brought a PM Lead, and my 3rd interview continued in her office. She asked 1) about my experience as a PM, 2) another design question, 3) how to improve the current product. Then she took me to the hiring manager's office, but this wasn't an interview, so we chatted, I asked about the job specifics & questioned him as a manager. Then he sent me home.
I already felt I failed since only 3 people interviewed me, even though I felt good in all my answers. Next day, recruiter emailed me saying I didn't make it. When I asked for comments from team or reason for not selecting me, she didn't provide.
Overall, my experience was good and they took care of me real well throughout the process. The questions were not difficult if you prepared, but perhaps I didn't take initiative to write on white board as often as I should. I believe they already made up their mind based on this or perhaps they didn't like some of my answers. They didn't ask me any brain teasers or puzzles. They key is to know your PM skills well and relate to questions they ask, and be as detailed as possible by using white board to help explain. Focus on product design experience, how to take in customer input/feedback to design, how to resolve disparate customer feedback, improvements in the product you are interviewing for, business strategy around the product (competition, opportunities, challenges, etc.). I believe my experience was more in fit not about your qualifications, so if you do well communicating, explaining, and show you're collaborating & listening, you'll be a good fit.
The campus is amazing, there are lots of young people in their 20's, 30's, with many product groups. MS is huge, so perhaps I will try again as my experience here will help me next time.
Senior Program Manager InterviewNo OfferNeutral ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied through other source. The process took 2+ months – interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA) in July 2009.
Recruiter reached out after seeing my profile on Monster. First phone interview - asked me some riddles, then some technical questions. Then got to face to face in Redmond. Flew over to Seattle (all travel arrangements made professionally and administered by a recruiting helper and over web.
I was told I will keep getting more interviews through the day if I do well. I did first two well, third was good but he got mad when I corrected his question. 4th one was lunch and chat. He told me I will receive next set of interviewers but after waiting 20 minutes, the second interviewer came back and sent me back saying there was a snafu. Recruiter confirmed I did not get the job a day later. Expenses were reimbursed promplty after submitting receipts online.
Senior Program Manager InterviewAccepted OfferNeutral ExperienceEasy Interview
I applied in-person – interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA) in June 2009.
Lightweight. Initial engagement was as a contractor, later transitioned to FTE.
- what is your branding? Answer Question
2 painless iterations.
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