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Microsoft Software Development Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Jan 22, 2015
Updated Jan 22, 2015
637 Interview Reviews

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37 people found this helpful  

Software Development Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate in Redmond, WA
Anonymous Interview Candidate in Redmond, WA
Application Details

I applied through college or university. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details

I initially had a on campus interview at my university. It was short 30 minute interview where they went over my resume and had a quick technical question.
I heard back around 3 weeks later, mainly b/c I had a offer that was on the verge of expiring. They flew me out to the Redmond campus that same week.
The day of the interview, I arrived on site around 8am and had a quick chat with HR. They told me which team I was interviewing for and sent me to the building for the interviews. I had 5 interviews and 1 lunch interview. This lasted until around 3PM.
I received a call the next day and was extended an offer.

The technical questions asked:
On-campus interview:
    remove duplicates from an unsorted array
On-site interviews:
    implement strtok
    reverse string(ie. hello world => world hello)
    find lca for bst
    find first non repeating character in string
    given a list of characters and the function toLower, implement toUpper
    check for palindrome in string and singly linked list
    check if binary tree is bst

Interview Questions
Negotiation Details
I did not negotiate, the compensation package was good enough
Accepted Offer
Positive Experience
Average Interview

Other Interview Reviews for Microsoft

  1. 4 people found this helpful  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university – interviewed at Microsoft.

    Interview Details

    I went through the college recruiting process. Microsoft was among the companies that set up stations at our computer science major recruiting fair where I signed up. The first round was on campus: lasted about 40 minutes, and was easy for a computer science major. About a week later, a recruiter emailed me to tell me that I was being invited for on-site interviews in Redmond (Seattle), WA. The recruiters are extremely fast and helpful in communicating; interestingly, Microsoft's recruiting process outdoes other companies (Google, FB etc) completely in efficiency and generosity. You're flown out to Redmond and stay in a really comfy hotel with a generous spending budget.

    Now, it's good to know how on-site interviews work: you begin your day early by meeting with your recruiter, who you should befriend since they are "on your side", so to speak, and their input can matter in the decision process. Then, you have consecutive technical interviews lasting about an hour each. You don't have to do perfectly in all of them, but I had a very strong feeling that the first 2 are the most important. The first one is particularly important. If you are doing well, you will get a 4th and sometimes 5th technical interview. If you're lucky, you will afterwards get a final interview with a manager of sometimes, like in my case, a really impressive big boss type person. This big boss can basically hire you on the spot, and its pretty cool that you get to meet someone like this.

    Don't forget that for Microsoft, as well as other companies, several things matter for college recruiting; your interviews, first and foremost, but also your coursework, projects, grades, internship experiences, etc. Also, knowing more math than average CS majors helps.

    The next day I found out that I was getting an offer, and the next business day after that my recruiter called me with the details over the phone. Microsoft really, really wants smart new grads. The company and culture has REALLY been improving the past few years, and they want smart new grads to keep that up. Offers are actually more generous than at other competing companies.

    In my case, you might really like the people you meet or have a personal connection with the big boss type person at the end, in which case your offer could potentially be for the team you actually interviewed with. In this case, you have a choice whether you want to be with that team or go back in the general "hired" pool which is distributed into teams at some later point.

    Interview Questions
    • Thing of a simple O(n^3) algorithm for finding the longest palindrome in a string. Now a O(n^2) one. Now a O(n log n) one.   Answer Question
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  2.  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    1 technical phone screen interview followed by 5 onsite interviews. The phone screen was very straightforward. The onsite were completely technical and thorough. However if you are very comfortable with all the tree, LL, graph questions then you should be able to a decent job. All the interviewers were very friendly and always gave hints etc.

    Interview Questions
    • Designing memory management system. Coming straight out of college, I am not used to this. But the interviewer gave me enough pointers that I was able to do a decent job.   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Difficult Interview
  3.  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 3 weeksinterviewed at Microsoft.

    Interview Details

    I applied online early in September, the process was quick. I got a email from them saying that they are interested in interviewing. So I said yes. I prepared writing code and everything. However, the first interview is ALL about behavior questions. And talking about different programming languages and etc.

    Interview Questions
    • I think I gave a really bad answer when he ask the most difficult technical problem that you have encountered. And I didn't prepare for that at all, which is my fault indeed...   View Answer
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Easy Interview
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Microsoft.

    Interview Details

    The process started at my university career fair where I gave out a resume. They gave me a t-shirt

    They got in touch a week later to schedule an on-campus interview at the university career services building. The interviewer asked one general thinking question (not coding) and one coding question. They also asked about my resume and research.

    Three or four weeks later I was contacted by an interview scheduler to setup an interview in Redmond. Due to the holiday season, I wasn't able to schedule the interview until a month later in January. The scheduler was not my recruiter and just was setting up the travel and timing. They flew me up and back and put me up in a hotel for 2 nights / 3 days.

    On their campus I first met with my recruiter in their recruiting building number 111. They informed me of which team I was interviewing with and stated that I should expect 4-5 hour long interviews (with one extended to 90 minutes to include lunch). In the recruiting building, while waiting to meet with a recruiter, you can play Xbox games, try out Windows Mobile products, and speak with a concierge who can help with sightseeing in Seattle or nightlight or transportation.

    The interviews were each with someone from a different sub-team inside the group I interviewed with. Each person had me do a coding question, and some also asked algorithmic or conceptual questions (which didn't require explicit coding). Everything was on the whiteboard. I had 5 total interviews, and had time in 4 of them to ask questions of the interviewer about their team.

    After the interviews I met with the recruiter again, and explained that I had immediate deadlines. They agreed to get in contact with the team and get back to me while I hung out in the lobby and relaxed. They came back and informed me that the team was very interested and would be making an offer.

    The offer arrived the next day, with fairly standard compensation and bonus/stock. I ended up declining the offer.

    Interview Questions
    • Describe how you would count the words in this newspaper [pointed to a physical newspaper]?   Answer Question
    • How would you search a database for a matching string ignoring certain punctuation/special characters? What pre-processing would you do?   Answer Question
    • Determine the best move for a player in a probabilistic game, with given probabilities for each outcome of each player's move.   Answer Question
    Reasons for Declining

    Compensation was fairly standard, lower than the Bay Area, but normal when factoring in cost-of-living differences. I decided to go with a different company/team.

    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    The process took 3 weeksinterviewed at Microsoft.

    Interview Details

    Microsoft came to campus and I spoke with them. Within a week I had a phone interview with a FT SDE. We talked about me and some of my experience and interests. I was then given a technical question.

    I week later I was told I was selected for a final round on-site interview. That consisted of four back-to-back 45 minute interviews. These consisted of behavioral questions and one technical question each. They were challenging but not impossible.

    A few days later I received an offer and accepted

    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  7.  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at Microsoft.

    Interview Details

    Applied through career fair event. Got an email a few weeks later about having a college campus interview. The interview took about 45 minutes, mainly just coding on the whiteboard. The interviewer told me that I would learn about the results in about 1 week. However, it took a bit more than a month for them to get back to me. Was told that they weren't interested in moving forward.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  8. 4 people found this helpful  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 6 weeksinterviewed at Microsoft.

    Interview Details

    My interview began at 9am at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge, MA. I had three interviews scheduled before the lunch break and three interviews after.

    All the interviews were standard - straightforward whiteboard coding or brainteasers. Many of my interviews ran over time (one ran 45 mins over). I ended up not having time for lunch at all - my previous interview had run over and only half an hour of time had been scheduled, so I had 15 mins to purchase lunch in the lobby and run back upstairs to make the next interview. I would advise other candidates to bring their own lunches - the cafe was extremely crowded and it took me the entire 15 mins to get food and pay.

    I didn't have a complete schedule for the day, so I was unable to give the name of my next interviewer to the receptionist and ended up waiting in the lobby until my interviewer eventually came out to investigate.

    Since my interviews had run over time, my day was extended by an hour and I did the final coding interview after my meeting with the hiring manager (which was supposed to be the end of the day).

    I would encourage other candidates to brush up on their basic coding skills (string manipulation etc.) and brainteasers - the interviews were not design heavy. I would also encourage candidates to get a copy of their schedules in advance in case things go awry as security is very tight in the building. If I were to interview again, I would also bring snacks just in case.

    Interview Questions
    • I was asked some brainteasers taken nearly word-for-word from "How Would You Move Mount Fuji?" which I found surprising.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview
  9.  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 2+ weeksinterviewed at Microsoft.

    Interview Details

    They contacted me after I turned in my resume. I had an on campus interview, and the problem wasn't very hard but I think I messed up a bit. The guy from Microsoft also asked a few personality questions, and it was pretty chill.

    Interview Questions
    • It was just an in person on campus interview. The question was to remove duplicates from a vector.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Average Interview
  10.  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3 daysinterviewed at Microsoft.

    Interview Details

    Initially met and spoke at a career fair during a conference. I was asked by the recruiter to submit my resume online through their site and the next day I was called to set up an interview on site.

    Interview Questions
    • What is the technical project you worked on that you are most proud of and why?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

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