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Microsoft Software Development Engineer Intern Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jun 4, 2014
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Accepted Offer

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Difficult Interview

Software Development Engineer Intern Interview

Software Development Engineer Intern
Redmond, WA

I applied through college or university and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in January 2008.

Interview Details – I got my first interview by persistently approaching Microsoft at my university's career fairs. My first interview was a typical screening interview, but face-to-face on campus instead of the usual phone interview. I was asked open-ended questions, such as how I would design an alarm clock for a blind person and what my favorite computer application was and why.

The next stage of the interview process was a fly-out to Microsoft's headquarters for a full day's worth of interviewing. All the travel and lodging was paid for by Microsoft and was organized very well. I had a recruiter at Microsoft who was in charge of planning my interviews, talking with the interviewers and making the final hire decision. He was a bit pushy, but I can't say that's representative of all Microsoft recruiters. I got to the recruiting building in the morning and met my recruiter face-to-face with a few other students who were also interviewing for internships. We were given the name of our first interviewer and a description of their group and then shuttled off to different buildings to meet them.

All the interviews took place in the interviewer's day-to-day office, which was nice because I got a chance to see their normal work place and get a feel for the company culture. Microsoft is actually very laid back compared to what I had imagined. There are no cubicles, all of the full-time employees get their own office. The dress is very casual, and the normal dress seems to be a polo shirt or t-shirt and jeans. I decided to dress business casual that day (a collared shirt tucked into khakis) even though everyone had told me to wear a suit. Even then, two of my interviewers commented about how dressed up I was! The building I interviewed in had an XBox lounge (they bought a Wii too later that summer) and a kitchen stocked with free coffee and soda on each floor.

My first two interviews were about an hour each and were pretty standard technical interviews. My third interview went a bit longer because we went out for lunch and talked casually (although this was still considered part of the interview). When we came back from lunch, I still had to answer a technical question before I set off for my fourth interview. My first three interviews were all with the same team and took place in the same building, but my fourth interview was with a different team.

At the end of the day, I went back to the recruiting building and waited for the results of my last interview to come back to my recruiter. I did well enough that I got offers from both teams I had interviewed. Note that my recruiter said that it usually takes about a week to make a decision on hire or no-hire for an intern, so this was an exception. However, this actually wasn't all too helpful because they still only gave me one week to make a decision! My recruiter really pushed me to make a decision as soon as possible but didn't respond to my emails for the first half of the week (in his defense, he was sick), so I pushed my decision a bit longer than a week. I wish I had been given more time to interview with other companies, but I didn't push my decision any further and decided to accept the offer (after all, it was a pretty good offer).

Interview Questions

  • Connect Four is a game where two players take turns dropping their color discs into a vertically suspended grid. The game ends when a player adds a disc to the playing grid that connects four discs of their color. The connected discs can be in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line. Write a function to be called after every turn that returns true if the game is over (and false otherwise).   View Answers (3)
  • Write an algorithm that does an in-order traversal of a tree recursively. Now, write the same algorithm iteratively.   View Answers (4)

Negotiation Details – The offer was non-negotiable.

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1 person found this helpful

Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Development Engineer Intern Interview

Software Development Engineer Intern

I applied online and the process took 6 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in April 2010.

Interview Details – I submitted an application through the MS Career site, a short time later (2 weeks) I got an email from a Microsoft recruiter asking for a technical phone screen.

The phone screen was handled by an hr person, they asked pretty basic questions. More along the lines of what is the difference between a queue and a stack than a linked list and an array. Nothing tricky, but if you are working in a specific area, you may want to do a refresher. He also asked me what I wanted to do at Microsoft etc.

Ten days later, I got the email so that we could set up an onsite interview. They also asked me what They flew me out to Redmond, where I finally learned which group I was going to interview with. I then had four one on one interviews, culminating in an interview with a product manager. Three days later I got an email saying they were interested in having me, but eventually I had to decline.

All the interviewers I spoke to seemed nice and sociable, they were all willing to talk about their work and ask about my research. They all had offices instead of cubicles and appeared to have been there a while (30+).

Preparation is important, an interview should not be a technical learning experience.
1. Interview Questions
2. Career Cup
3. Glassdoor.com
4. Programming Pearls
Don't be cheap, spend some money.

Be nice to everyone, puts you in a good mood for a long day.
Speak up, especially when you are trying to answer questions.

Interview Questions

  • Implement a queue, with a constraint. I am not sure but I think it was smallest or something   Answer Question
  • Build a binary tree with a sibling link. so that you have a linked list connecting all the nodes on a given level.   Answer Question
  • Store the words in a document.   View Answer
  • Tile puzzle. What data structure represents its, defend your choice. And how to solve it, given a function that tests if it is done.   Answer Question
  • Test a spiral bound notebook   Answer Question

Reason for Declining – "Better" offer from a different company.

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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Development Engineer Intern Interview

Software Development Engineer Intern
Seattle, WA

The process took a day - interviewed at Microsoft in January 2011.

Interview Details – Submitted resume through college, got an on campus first round interview with a PM from the Office team. Got asked a basic question to reverse a string. Then got invited for an on-site interview. All paid for trip to Seattle. On interview day I went through 3 1-1 interviews each one hour long.

Interview Question – Reverse a string   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Development Engineer Intern Interview

Software Development Engineer Intern

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in October 2010.

Interview Details – Microsoft came to my college's career fair, and I dropped off my resume with them there after talking to the college recruiter for awhile. About a week later I had an on campus interview. The interview was a about 10 minutes of talking about myself and what I wanted to do, and then he asked me to code a question about strings in c.

After this they emailed me about to weeks later and asked me to come on site for the second round interview. They flew me up to Seattle all expenses paid, and put me up in a nice hotel. The actual second round was for me a series of 4 interviews. I was told there would be any number between 3-5 interviews depending on what they wanted to see.

The team I worked with seemed very laid back and relaxed. They didn't really seem to care whether I had the most correct answer or not as long as they could see what I was thinking. Overall it was a very positive experience.

Interview Questions

  • How would you design a database for a highschool?   Answer Question
  • A question about finding the shortest path between two points on a graph. With no information about where the second point was located in relation to the first problem.   View Answer
  • Describe MVC (Model-View-Controller)   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Development Engineer Intern Interview

Software Development Engineer Intern
Seattle, WA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in December 2011.

Interview Details – Did one interview at my university. Went to Seattle and had 4 on-site interviews.

Interview Questions

  • Consider a game of nxn tic tac toe. Given a move and the player who made the move, return whether it was a winning move or not. There is an O(1) answer.   Answer Question
  • Write the functions for a circular queue.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Development Engineer Intern Interview

Software Development Engineer Intern

I applied through college or university and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Microsoft in January 2012.

Interview Details – On-campus interview in November. Couple questions about why Microsoft and why SDE. One coding question, be sure to think of end cases and when you might possibly overflow. Heard back in a week that they wanted to bring me on campus for an interview, but that it would take some time because they were completely booked.

Flew to Seattle in late January. I had already received an offer elsewhere and tried to expedite the process as much as possible. Met with a recruiter at 10am, then 4 back-to-back interviews about coding, open ended design, and a behavioral with the hiring manager. Finally left the campus at 6pm. The recruiter said she'd call me with my results within one to two days. Called me on the second day, no offer.

Interview Question – Open-ended design on a word search generator   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Developer Engineer Intern Interview

Software Developer Engineer Intern
Bellevue, WA

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

Interview Details – They put me up in nice hotel but actually switched my hotel at the last minute. There were about 4 45 min interviews with the Xbox connect team which we were randomly assigned to. 3 were technical (one about databases, one about C, one about some basic java algorithms) and 1 was goals/strengths oriented.
As has been stated before, they will really delve deep into anything that you say you "know" so make sure you know it

Interview Question – What is the difference between malloc and calloc.   View Answer

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1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Development Engineer Intern Interview

Software Development Engineer Intern

I applied through college or university and interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – one on campus interview and followed with 4 interviews after 2 weeks

Interview Question – The last round on-site interview, the interviewer grab a bug in Windows 8 and let me fix it up. It's challenging but he was very helpful and at last I got it.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – No negotiation.

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No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Development Engineer Intern Interview

Software Development Engineer Intern

I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – I only made it to the first phone interview since they caught me on their typical questions. After asking about my motivation for the role they asked about my projects and experience.

Interview Questions

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Development Engineer Intern Interview

Software Development Engineer Intern
Fargo, ND

I applied online and interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – Applied through company website. Got the first phone screen interview and asked with semi technical question (IQ type). then asked for the onsite interview (4 of those, 1 hour each). first two was technical, third one was lunch interview where I was asked mostly on my previous experience. And the final interview was with the hiring manager who was a nice person and I decided to join if I get the offer.

Interview Question – As usual programming questions.   Answer Question

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