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Microsoft Software Development Engineer Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Apr 22, 2014
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Software Development Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Redmond, WA

I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at Microsoft in June 2013.

Interview Details – Interview was fairly technical, There were five rounds of interviews. Each interview was an hour. There was a lunch interview which lasted 90 mins.

Interview Question – Permutations of a words in a sentence.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Software Development Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

Interviewed at Microsoft

Interview Details – Interview Question:
1. Why do you want to come to Microsoft
2. Among all the projects you have done, what is the most difficult one or the one that you are most proud of?
What problems did you solve?
3. Given an array of random real numbers, find the sum of the subset with the maximum sum.

Interview Question – All of them are not very hard   Answer Question

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2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Development Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Seattle, WA

I applied online and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in April 2014.

Interview Details – 4 rounds of interviews. First to find a solution to a Sudoku. Second round is to give you a word and a 4 * 4 grid with each square is an character, you can go up, down, left, and right, to judge whether the word can be found in this grid. Third round is to design an online shopping system. Final Round is to find all prime numbers from 1 to 1000.

Interview Question – The second round, give you a word and a 4 * 4 grid with each square is an character, you can go up, down, left, and right, to judge whether the word can be found in this grid.   View Answer

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Software Development Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Pittsburgh, PA

I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at Microsoft in March 2014.

Interview Details – The interview was on campus. The interviewer was nice and easy. He asked a few really short behavioral questions and then went to the programming question. There was only one programming question which was to write a simple fizz buzz program, in any programming language. I chose C. He then asked where in the code could go wrong.

Interview Question – where in a C program could go wrong   View Answer

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3 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Development Engineer Interview

Software Development Engineer

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in May 2011.

Interview Details – couple of phone interviews. After I cleared them, they scheduled the main interview. Had five rounds in the main interview. All of them involved algorithms, data structures and coding. I did four of them pretty well and one not so good.

Interview Question – You have an existing set of words. You are then given two words (word1 and word2) as input. Can you provide and algorithm to transform word1 to word2 in several steps such that the intermediate word generated in each step belongs to the existing set of words. At each step, you are allowed to only modifying one character, or add one character or delete one character. If you feel such an algorithm can exist, can you also provide me an algorithm which can transform word1 into word2 in minimum number of steps.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

Software Development Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

Interviewed at Microsoft

Interview Details – Questions were not asked clearly. He didn't care at all to clarify questions and even sounded rude on that, when I asked for further clarification, he just repeated the question, never tried to even rephrase it!

Interview Question – Memory allocation   View Answer

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Software Development Engineer Interview

Software Development Engineer

I applied through college or university and the process took 6+ months - interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – I got in contact through a fair at college. After I gave them my resume there, they reached out for a phone interview. The phone interview was relatively average. After the phone interview, they sent me an email saying I got past the phone round and they wanted me to go to Redmond, but they had no positions available anymore, so I could try again next year and bypass the phone round.

The next year I went to Redmond and toured campus and interviewed with 4 or 5 people. Each asked different questions. Two of the interviews were technical and the rest were just discussion.

Interview Question – They asked my to create a minesweeper game.   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Development Engineer Interview

Anonymous Employee
Cambridge, MA

I applied through college or university and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in May 2010.

Interview Details – 1 Phone Interview, I in person interview with 5 interviewers. 1 brain teaser to demonstrate thought process, several coding questions and 1 design question.

Interview Question – A disc is spinning on a spindle - you don't know which way. You are given a set of pins - describe how you would use them to determine which way the disc is spinning.   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Software Development Engineer Interview

Software Development Engineer

I applied through college or university and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – On-campus interview first, and then flew to Redmond for an on-site interview

Interview Question – A huge graphics-related recursive question. I had to think about each base case very carefully.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – For summer intern, it's not negotiable.

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5 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Software Development Engineer Interview

Software Development Engineer
Redmond, WA

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – Applied online and after a month or so heard back and was invited to attend a back to back interview on campus, one with a recruiter, one with an engineer. Both were really pleasant, the engineering interview was a simple programming task done on a laptop: write a function which given a string will return if it contains correctly matched open and closed parentheses. Expanded to include other types of brackets and return if all were correctly matched.

I heard back very quickly informing me I had made it through to the final round on site assessment day. Couldn't make the first couple of interview dates offered so was eventually invited to travel to Redmond for an interview day at the main offices. Organizing travel was very easy and everyone involved was incredibly helpful.

On the day, arrived at building 111 for mid morning. Was guided around campus and taken to the commons for a free lunch. We visited the visitors center and the company store and were invited to buy up to $120 of discount merch.

We then returned to 111 for the interviews. We were each allocated a division we'd be interviewing for (this was not shared before the first interview). We were each interviewed by four interviewers who asked a variety of question covering fundamentals of computer science and some advanced material. We had a ten minute gap between each interview in which the examiners compared notes before we were launched into the next one.

Asked technical questions on a number of topics, sorting algorithms and their time and space complexities, binary trees and binary search trees, low level computer scheduling and atomicity of operations, and an abstract data type question. I've provided examples of a small number of questions below.

These were mixed in among other behavioral questions, attitudes, what do you do for fun, what's important when implementing software, how to interact with team members etc.

It was generally very broad with lots of interesting questions; I wouldn't say especially hard but thats all relative... If you know the field and are well prepared you shouldn't find anything too tough...

Don't worry about making mistakes, I know I sure made a couple, the key is checking back over your solutions as you go, work with test cases and when you identify a shortcoming, work out how you can fix it. TALK OUT LOUD! They don't care if you get stuck in a circle as long as they can see your thought process and why it's happening. If you've overlooked something they will happily drop a hint and see if you can rectify.

My biggest tip would be friendly and relaxed, make it more of a conversation than a rigid interview. I almost got the feeling they were more interested in my personality than what I wrote on the board, so make it easy for them to like you: At the end of the day the big question they're asking themselves is, 'would I like to work alongside this person', not just 'can he do the work'.

Overall, my interview was incredibly positive, everyone was super friendly and did their best to make you feel comfortable and relaxed. The company was very generous with arranging travel, accommodation etc and first and foremost Microsoft seemed an incredible place to work. Go for it, give it your best shot, what is there to lose?

Interview Questions

  • Given a binary tree, write a function which will check if it's a binary search tree   View Answer
  • Given a node of a binary search tree, return the node immediately bigger than it. Convert this from recursive to iterative. What's the difference between the two?   View Answer
  • You are working for a new ancestry.com style website, what data structure would you use to hold the relationships? Why? Are there any alternatives? What programming language would you use? Why? Would scale of website and development time impact your choices?   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Didn't seem any room for negotiation really but the compensation and benefits were already far and above what I had even been expecting having researched Microsoft

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Microsoft Software Development Engineer interview questions and advice. All 479 interview reviews posted anonymously by Microsoft employees and interview candidates.