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Microsoft Software Development Engineer Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Aug 17, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting an Interview  

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Interview Experience  

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Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
507 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
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Declined Offer

Neutral Experience

Easy Interview

Software Development Engineer Interview

Software Development Engineer

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 6+ weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in July 2014.

Interview Details – Contacted by recruiter, whole process took about 1.5 month. After phone interview, recruiter told me I 'll have 3 rounds for onsite, but I actually got five rounds, each one for 1h... All interviewers are really nice people.

Interview Question – Normal interview questions, not hard. 1. Search element in rotated sorted array. 2 Find top two biggest elements in array. 3. Inorder tree traversal (implement iterator). 4. LinkedList operation...Forget other questions, but they are all pretty easy.   Answer Question


2 people found this helpful

Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Software Development Engineer Interview

Software Development Engineer

I applied through college or university and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Microsoft in March 2014.

Interview Details – At the University job fair, I talked to a recruiter, who was impressed by my resume. He assured me he would recommend me for the position. A few days later, I got an email from the campus recruiter that I had been selected for the first round of interviews. The next step after my successful first round was to be interviewed on campus, but that was delayed (see later).

Interview Question – Given an array of integers, define an algorithm that deduces whether a given sum can be attained by adding two numbers in the array without using data structures.   View Answer

Reason for Declining – I didn't quite decline. I was interviewed in Spring of 2014, and they liked my interview. Unfortunately, they ran out of space for the Summer of 2014, so instead they promised to interview me in September of 2014 for the following summer (2015). It just so happens that I'm not looking for a software development job next summer anymore, and so I probably won't go for the second round of interviews.


No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Development Engineer Interview

Software Development Engineer
Bellevue, WA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 7 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in June 2014.

Interview Details – I wen through the full interview process, from recruiter screen up to the full day in person interviews in Bellevue (the position was for the Dynamics AX platform).

My initial technical screen was pretty standard, the question was determining if two strings were anagrams of each other. Aside from this I was able to speak with the senior engineer who was interviewing my about the position and some pro's and con's which was really great. He provided some good insight for me.

After the technical screen I was invited in for full day of interviews in Bellevue. I flew out to Seattle and stayed for 2 nights. The entire travel process was great, they covered everything and put me up
in a nice hotel. The interview day was long, I had a series of interviews each testing different areas.
All of the interviews were with senior engineers with 5 - 20 years experience.
The first interview covered SQL, I was given a schema and asked to point out any issues/improvements and then write some queries.
The next 2 covered CS based questions like algorithms, runtime analysis .. etc.
Next I had a lunch interview where I was able to talk with another engineer about his role and get a little more of a sense of the day to day life.
Finally I had one more algorithms based interview and that was the end.

Overall I found that the interview process was very well done and the hr staff at Microsoft were really easy to deal with. When it comes to the atmosphere at Microsoft it has a really corporate feel to it and truthfully it was not my top choice having been there but that's more of a personal preference.

Interview Question – Given a number write a function to convert that number to a string that would be seen on a cheque.
Example:
2376 becomes two thousand three hundred and seventy six.
  Answer Question


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No Offer

Positive Experience

Software Development Engineer Interview

Software Development Engineer

I applied through an employee referral and interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – This was a technical interview that I met with the person in his office.
He was nice, greeted me and asked a few questions about what I did in my previous jobs. While solving the problem, he helped me with some small hints or questions. I felt more like brainstorming with a work friend rather than being interviewed, which was nice. In the end he thanked and told he is going to let the lead know and they are going to follow up with me with details.

Interview Question – Given a database, where we know some portion of data (e.g. say 20%) is accessed more than the other portion of the database by the client. We have a frontend that client requests data from. Design a data structure that will increase the efficiency of access of objects. And we know that we can only hold on to n elements in memory.   View Answer


Declined Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Software Development Engineer Interview

Software Development Engineer

I applied online - interviewed at Microsoft in February 2010.

Interview Details – standard questions about 5 hours. The interview process is not painful and some whiteboard coding and algorithm discussions. The hiring manager is very nice and discussed a lot about the team.

Interview Question – something about image processing which i have no experience   Answer Question


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Software Development Engineer Interview

Software Development Engineer

Interviewed at Microsoft

Interview Details – This is a phone interview, and It is about 30 minutes long.
There are some technical questions and basic data structure questions.Then there is a question about the course project I have done and some extended topics.

Interview Question – I applied online and set me a 30 min on phone interview. There are two data structure questions and some other questions about course projects I have done.   View Answer


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Software Development Engineer Interview

Software Development Engineer

I applied through college or university and interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – I applied from college and set me a 30 min on campus interview. It is a one to one person interview. Asked me to talk a database project. He gave me a pen and some scratch papers to tell the detail and asked me some basic SQL questions.

Interview Question – Just some basic questions nothing expected   Answer Question


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Development Engineer Interview

Software Development Engineer
Madison, WI

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in May 2014.

Interview Details – 1. Given two tree. To judge one tree is another tree's subtree.
2. Given a maze (2D matrix have some block at some position), start position and end position. To find a path.
3. Given a binary tree. Find the length of the path with maximum path sum, the path may start and end at any node.

Interview Question – Too nervous to get a solution quickly and bug free.   View Answer


No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Development Engineer Interview

Software Development Engineer
Arlington, TX

I applied through college or university and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Microsoft in October 2013.

Interview Details – I was initially screened at my college career fair. My work in Computer Vision piqued the interest of an employee at the MS booth (they were all former students from my Uni). I was then set up for an on-campus screen.

On-campus screen: The interviewer introduced himself and eventually jumped into a coding question. I did badly and I was rejected as I very well expected

Interview Question – Make an exact copy of a linked list which has an additional 'random' node apart from usual the next node.   Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Development Engineer Interview

Software Development Engineer
Seattle, WA

I applied through other source and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – I attended a conference and noted down the presenter's email id as I was really impressed with the work they were doing. When looking for full time, I contacted the person for any openings in their team. Fortunately, I heard back from them and got a phone screen schedule within one week.

Phone Screen was easy and mainly focused on the projects i wrote in my resume and some algorithmic problems related with those projects.

Within one week, I heard back from them that I was through first round and need to come to Seattle for face to face interview. They were really helpful in scheduling the interview according to my convenience.

Microsoft takes care of their their employees and potential employees as well in my case. Wonderful and systematic scheduling. I landed in Seattle.

Whole day was set aside for interviews, I had 5 in total including the famous 5th interview which is a positive sign as mentioned by many here. First interview, little variation on the level order traversal which i was able to code it with some help from the recruiter who was really nice. You will have to write the code on board so I would suggest do some "Actual" coding preferably on some IDE which shows only syntactical errors and runs the program. Eclipse is sometimes too helpful which let's us forget minor mistakes.

Second round was a real life project problem related with quick ip lookup, for which I have default solution, Tries. I told each and every pros and cons of using tries and the interviewer was satisfied. I stumbled a little while implementing it but eventually was able to do that with of course the help of interviewer.

Oh yeah one more thing each interview is approximately 45 mins to 60 mins long and lunch time discussion is also part of the recruiting process. So don't lose your head thinking that it's not part of the process.

3rd interview which included the lunch discussion as i mentioned above. I was not aware of it but since interviewer only discussed my projects on resume, i was happy to talk about them. But was really thinking why the lunch is so much work. Later i realised when interviewer said, let's go back to the office and continue the discussion. This was the toughest round as interviewer went in to very specific details about my projects so one tip do remember some of the tools names, just to name drop them ;)

4th round was a short one as the 3rd one went for one and half hours. This one was comparatively lighter and mainly focused on design problems.

Then came, the nerve wrecking wait as they told me to wait so that they all can discuss how i performed and decide on the last interview with the 2nd line manager. Thankfully manager came soon and ask me to wait for 2nd line manager. That discussion was very informal sort as he was selling me Microsoft and why I should come and work there. Happy sign always ! :)

Then I came back to my awesome hotel as I had my flight back same day in the evening.

Almost next day itself the HR contacted me and I missed her call. I really thought I did'nt get through but thankfully Hr called me back next day and told me I am through !!

Only advice I can give you is "CODE" ! there is no way around it! If you want to work as SDE you need to know Algorithms and Data Structures ! Language is no issue but you must know how to implement it. At least able to discuss why to us and why not to use a particular data structure.

Interview Question – Very Detailed discussion on most interesting project in your career   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – It's Microsoft, they take care of it very well. Didnt negotiate as the offer was above market trend.

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