A Guide to Securing a Job at Microsoft
Microsoft—the technology giant—has an impressive record in innovation and at work: Not only has the company been rated as one of the Best Places to Work by Glassdoor four years in a row, but a whopping 97 percent of its employees approve of CEO Satya Nadella and 88 percent would recommend working at Microsoft to a friend. If that doesn’t sell you on a company, what does?
But if you need another reason to apply for a job at Microsoft, consider this: Microsoft’s culture is about more than clocking in-and-out for the day. “Microsoft is the ideal place for people who have passion for their work and the desire to make an impact—in their careers, in the community and on the world,” it writes. “Microsoft is a unique company; and not just within the tech industry. Here, smart people thrive on their own terms and push their intelligence to its limit.”
And you don’t have to be tech-savvy to work at Microsoft—though there are plenty of open tech jobs. Human resources, finance, business, retail, legal, and research professionals—plus so many more—also make up the company’s roster of workers. If you’d like to join their ranks, be sure to read this guide, which will tell you what you need to know to apply and land a job at Microsoft.
Applying to a Job at Microsoft
Applying for a job at Microsoft is just a few clicks away. Visit Microsoft’s profile on Glassdoor, where you can view its current openings. Once you find a job for which you’d like to apply, you can click the “Apply Now” button on the job listing page and you’ll be taken to Microsoft’s site, where you can read specific instructions on how to apply and what to include in your application.
Once you submit an application, it will be reviewed by a Microsoft recruiter. If you’re a fit for the position, that recruiter will be in touch. “But even if you’re not contacted for the job you applied for, your information will go into our recruiter’s shared candidate database, which means you may be contacted for other opportunities within Microsoft at a later date,” Microsoft says.
Resume & Cover Letter Tips for Microsoft
You want to catch a recruiter’s attention with your resume and cover letter, and Microsoft offers some tips for doing just that: Not only does the company want to hear about your strengths and talents on your resume and cover letter, but it wants to hear how you would use those traits in the job for which you’re applying, it says on its website. “Be sure to highlight your accomplishments in previous jobs—not just your duties,” Microsoft says. If you have past projects you’re of which you’re proud, Microsoft encourages you to include them along with your other documents, too.
When it comes to your resume, specifically, Microsoft says it’s OK to use more than one page. But that doesn’t mean you can go on and on with unnecessary information. “That said, be sure your summaries are succinct and relevant—and that your most important information figures prominently on the first page,” Microsoft writes. (And don’t take up more than two pages.)
And in your cover letter, take the chance to show Microsoft why you’re the kind of employee it would love to have on its team. “We look for a strong desire to learn, high intelligence, a passion for technology, willingness to work hard, rock-solid skills, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a desire to excel,” Microsoft writes, which are all things you can show, with details, in your cover letter.
Resume & Cover Letter Resources:
Talking to a Microsoft Recruiter
Your first interview will likely be with a Microsoft recruiter, and you’ll need to wow him or her to move through the process. To stand out from other applicants, Microsoft recommends you do more than study the job description of the job for which you’re applying. “We’ve noticed that successful candidates don’t stop at understanding the position they’re interviewing for,” Microsoft writes. “They gain a thorough, high-level understanding of Microsoft as a business and learn how their desired position contributes to working as one to empower billions.”
You’ll also impress a Microsoft recruiter if you come prepared with questions about the job, the company, and its culture, Microsoft says. “Thoughtful questions demonstrate your level of understanding, your interest, and your passions, so don’t hold back,” Microsoft explains. “Your interview is an opportunity for you to get to know us too.” (If you don’t know where to start, check out this list of 45 questions you can ask in any interview. You’ll find inspiration there!)
Microsoft Interview Questions
Microsoft admits on its website that “the specific questions we ask will depend on the position you’re applying for.” However, here are some questions Glassdoor reported being asked:
- Tell me about a time when you were put in a difficult team situation.
- How would you impact the company in 30-60-90 days within your role, if hired?
- How do you drive performance?
- What’s your favorite electronic device?
- What is your mantra for customer service?
Here are some additional resources for your Microsoft interview:
Microsoft Skills Tests & Assessments
Depending on the job for which you’re applying, you may (or may not) be given official tests or assessments. But not matter what, “be prepared to demonstrate how you meet the requirements of the job description by sharing specific examples from your past,” Microsoft says, “or ideas about how you would accomplish a specific task.” In your answers to these types of questions or tests, “we’re interested in more than just your answers,” Microsoft says. “We want to know how your mind works, how you come up with solutions, and whether you can clearly explain your thinking process.” And that’s why you should “be prepared to verbalize how you came up with the answer or solution to a technical issue, design question, or problem-solving puzzle,” it says.
If you’re applying for a tech job, you may be asked to “write code, share a creative portfolio, or provide examples of your work in other ways,” Microsoft says.
Salary Negotiation at Microsoft
If you receive an offer from Microsoft, don’t forget to negotiate your salary—while Glassdoor users report competitive pay, that doesn’t mean there isn’t wiggle room from an initial offer!
Just as it was throughout your interview process, the key to a successful negotiation at Microsoft will be showing your worth to Microsoft. But first, you have to know your worth, and that is why we created the Know Your Worth Tool. There, you can receive a custom salary estimate based on your title, company, location, and experience—and it’s totally private. You can also explore the salaries Glassdoor users have reported receiving for the same or similar roles at Microsoft.
Learn More About Jobs at Microsoft
Excited about joining Microsoft? Pumped to show a recruiter or hiring manager everything you know about the company? Here are a few additional resources to get you over the finish line.