Microsoft Senior Program Manager Interview Questions | Glassdoor

Microsoft Senior Program Manager Interview Questions

Updated Feb 10, 2017
64 Interview Reviews

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Helpful (9)  

Senior Program Manager Interview

Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA
Accepted Offer
Positive Experience
Difficult Interview

Application

I applied through a recruiter. The process took a week. I interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA).

Interview

The overall experience was really good. I've had other interviews with Microsoft and they've all been great. The structure is always the same:
First contacted by either hiring manager or recruiter followed by a short phone screen to see if the person and the resume fits.

After initial phone screen a "loop" is scheduled with multiple interviews on the same day "on site" at Microsoft. All information about how the loop would work, who I would meet, etc was given in advance. The recruiter and the interviewers were extremely professional throughout the entire process. The Microsoft loop is described in details all over the internet so I will not go into that. I went through six interviews of varying difficulty and details before being handed over to the "asap". Once at the asap I was pretty much told that I had a job if I wanted one and that they really wanted me to join their team - this is probably not general practice so don't expect your last interview to be a "what can we do/say to make you join us"-type of session.

Each interview had it's own characteristics, but they all followed the same pattern: ice-breaker for a few minutes, asking about my past experiences, testing technical ability by a problem solving or design open-ended question of some sort, personality evaluation type of questions, and the final 5-10minutes to answer any questions I might have (and yes, I had questions of my own - you should too).

I was asked not only "management" related questions. There were a few more in-depth technical "problems" to solve. I did not have to do whiteboard coding, but I did have to design programming APIs and break down and try to explain a real-life client-server based architecture. No questions were really unexpected or shook me out of my comfort zone, perhaps that had more to do with my familiarity by then with the Microsoft interview structure than the actual questions - some might find it difficult and unexpected to have to go into such deep technical details when applying for what is considered to be a management position. There was none of the infamous Microsoft "brain teasers" during this interview (though I've had them in other interviews).

Throughout the interview day I had a really good experience. The team was definitely right for me as we "clicked" on most topics, and what turned out to be a seven hour day of interviews felt more like a short lunch - I had fun during the day! The team seemed very enthusiastic about their work and really passionate about Microsoft and the product they worked on and managed to convey that to me through their actions and answers to my own questions.

Interview Questions

  • Like I said in the above text there was no real unexpected question. The hardest one would probably be the question about designing an API from scratch on a blank whiteboard.   Answer Question

Negotiation

There is room for negotiating the base salary and the sign-on bonus. There doesn't seem to be any room for negotiation on the other parts.

Other Interview Reviews for Microsoft

  1. Helpful (1)  

    Senior Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Microsoft.

    Interview

    1 hour interview that went for about 1.25 hrs. Very focussed on process as applied to a real world problem, very enjoyable actually. Describe critical features that would be core to providing business travelers who are foodies access to rooms with cooking facilities and what peripheral features and our businesses could be helpful to provide this service

    Interview Questions

    • How to provide test process to a Toaster assembly line   Answer Question
  2. Helpful (2)  

    Senior Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Redmond, WA
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through other source. I interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA) in August 2013.

    Interview

    While I was working at Microsoft as a vendor, a PM with whom I'd worked approached me to ask if I might be interested in applying for a Senior PM position he would be hiring and for which he thought I would be a good fit.

    I applied online and he indicated to HR that he wanted me in the candidate pool. They scheduled a day of interviews in the form of Lync meetings, which I found tricky because I didn't have the benefit of meeting with the interviewers face-to-face.

    I made it through the full day of interviews but didn't hear from them for weeks. I pinged my original contact a couple of weeks later and he let me know that the individual members of team with which I'd interviewed couldn't agree on the qualities they were looking for or what they hoped the person in the position would actually do so they couldn't agree that I was the person for the job. Ultimately he let me know that half the team wanted me but the other half were undecided. They opted not to hire the position at all until they could agree on the specifics about the role. I believe they still haven't hired.

    Interview Questions

    • My second interviewer led off by asking me "Which domains do you think we should focus on in our solution?" Given 1) my lack of technical expertise in the area; and 2) that I was interviewing for a management position, I thought that was a pretty tough question to start with.   Answer Question
  3. Helpful (6)  

    Senior Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Microsoft (Seattle, WA).

    Interview

    Interview process at Microsoft is very well-organized. Typically, you go through a "loop" consisting of meeting 4 - 6 people in a day, and an "as appropriate" at the end --- that person will meet with you if you have enough "hire" recommendations from the people you've met earlier in the day. If you don't meet with a more senior person at the end of the loop, you probably didn't get enough "hires" earlier in the day.

    Microsoft is unbelievably disrespectful in the timeliness of its communications. You can HR, the people you've met, and just about anyone else to "go dark" on you for what can seem like an eternity (especially when you are looking for a job). It's just plain mysterious. People won't answer emails, or calls --- don't take it personally. There just isn't a culture of respecting people who aren't "in the fold" (unless you are a customer paying for something).

    Interview questions can vary greatly. If you are interviewing for a position in a "hot" part of the company (Xbox, for example), you can expect to meet some younger type people who are very full of themselves, and think you should feel lucky talking to them. Just deal with it. You will likely get ridiculous questions like "what is your true passion?" or "how do you want to use technology to change the world?" ... things along those lines.

    Interview Questions

    • I got an interesting question once asking me to estimate how many gas stations were in the US. I've heard that more technical jobs will really get into the details of computer science, but I haven't had to deal with that. Watch out for questions like, "what is important to you?" That isn't a question (typically) about your real values in life. I was once asked that, and came to see that what was expected was an answer like, "I just wake up in the morning thinking about how I serve my customers better". Awesome, I guess, if you live for work.   Answer Question

    Negotiation

    Straight forward. They hold all the cards, unless you are some kind of crazy genius developer or a true sales rain-maker.

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  5. Helpful (2)  

    Senior Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Bellevue, WA
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Microsoft (Bellevue, WA) in May 2013.

    Interview

    Submitted application online. Contacted by recruiter to get basic information (willing to relocate? US citizen? salary requirements, etc.). Recruiter set up follow-up interview with hiring manager within 1 week. Interviewed with hiring manager who asked some technical questions like what is polymorphism? Then asked the a very generic question about how do you test a toaster? Started giving my answer, then interviewer request that I focus specifically how to test "doneness". Talked a little about different types of breads, testing without using bread, and focused on testing a toaster that was already in production vs a new toaster that is still in the R&D phase.

    Interview Questions

  6. Helpful (1)  

    Senior Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA) in May 2013.

    Interview

    Microsoft puts you through an interview loop in which you have 1:1 interviews with at least 3 people and up to 6+. You continue through the interview process as the majority of individuals rate you as a hire. If you get 3 no hires right away then typically your loop will end. If you continue to get a majority of hire ratings then you most likely will end the day with an as appropriate interviewer which is typically someone in higher level management for the role you are interviewing for.

    Interview Questions

    • How do you collaborate with others? What is the most challenging decision you've had to make and how did you come to an answer? What decision have you gotten wrong lately and what did you do to correct it?   Answer Question
  7.  

    Senior Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Fargo, ND
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Microsoft (Fargo, ND) in May 2013.

    Interview

    It is a very long interview process in very small rooms.
    The interview process is Okay, but their hiring process is more based on how you look on paper instead of your actual talent. They think they can train their product better to candidates that may have potential than hiring someone who is already doing their job for them at a consulting company where no training is needed and their employee's want this person hired.

    Interview Questions

    • One question asked is how you found yourself in a situation where you worked well with a team.   Answer Question
  8.  

    Senior Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA) in May 2013.

    Interview

    The interview process was streamlined. Referral through an existing Microsoft employee lead to a Microsoft recruiter reaching out on linked in. Followed by a phone screening interview and then an onsite interview loop which had 4 sessions. The onsite loop interview was getting more difficult as you pass one interview and move on to the next. The last interview session will only happen if all of your previous 3 interviewers gave you a recommendation to hire. The lunch interview is meant to be less formal, but have a healthy and hearty breakfast since you wouldn't be able to eat while the interviewer continues to ask questions.

    Interview Questions

    Negotiation

    The recruiter asked me an expected salary upfront and my offer matched what I put down as my expectation so there was not any negotiation involved, however the offers are pretty competitive and seldom need negotiation in general.

  9. Helpful (1)  

    Senior Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA).

    Interview

    1. Submit dozens (or maybe hundreds?) of applications over several months
    2. Contacted for phone screens for maybe 5 applications
    3. Two phone screens led to in-person interviews
    4. In-person interviews are most of a full day, meeting with 4-6 people for an hour each.
    5. They have one last interviewer held in reserve at the end of the day, not on your schedule. If the other interviewers judge you to be good enough, this "as appropriate" person (generally the most senior person, probably the final decision maker) will take time to interview you as well. If you don't meet with this "as appropriate" interviewer, you probably were judged to be not good enough to take time with & won't be getting the job. I imagine there are occasional instances where the "as appropriate" person has a last-minute conflict.

    Negotiation

    I was able to negotiate a little bit on the amount of stock included in the hiring incentives.

  10. Helpful (3)  

    Senior Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA) in April 2013.

    Interview

    I had first round of phone interview with the HR contact. On the phone, she asked me general questions about my experience. She asked me why I am leaving my current job and then also asked why I wanted to work for Microsoft. Once I cleared that, I was called for an in-person interview or the "loop" as they call it. The loop was set up with 4 people and then the last interview was as-needed one. During the loop i interviewed with Group program managers and the engineering manager. I was told if there is a need for as-needed interview it will scheduled for the next day.

    My first 4 interviews went well. Each ran over an hour with detailed questions on my job experience. They gave me specific scenarios/situations. A couple of technical questions.
    By the time all 4 interviews were done i was exhausted. Be prepared it can be a very long day..

    My last interviewer (4th one in the loop) told me i have the final interview the next day. That meant i had done well so far or they wouldnt have let me go ahead.

    the next day interview was with a principal engineering manager and that lasted for 45 mins.

    I heard from the HR back in 3 business days and I got the job.

    Interview Questions

    • Unexpected questions were more like what will you change in Microsoft if you were the CEO and why?
      What you dont like about Microsoft?  
      Answer Question

    Negotiation

    I didnt need negotiation because the offer was matching my expectations. They are pretty generous and match the competitors.

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