Microsoft Interview Questions & Reviews
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Software Development Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at Microsoft.
Interview Details I had a one on one interview with two people from Microsoft. The first part was technical, the interviewer asked me to code a function which would reverse the order of words in a string, and then I had to optimize the solution and consider edge cases, etc... The second interviewer asked me about my projects, my studies, etc...
Interview Question – Give me a program and what you would do to make it better? Answer Question
Student Intern - Technical Program Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 6 months - interviewed at Microsoft in March 2014.
Interview Details Online Numerical test: Not difficult, but I did lots of tests from assessmentday.co.uk beforehand.
Video Interview: pre-recorded questions. The questions were quite unusual, many people fail at this stage. I was expecting to fail as well, but I guess I wasn't as bad as thought. Make sure you know about cloud, windows features, etc. Competency questions about when you helped others, how you discover issues, how you'd prepare if you had to change jobs in less than 3 days, when you analysed data to discover an issue. To prepare, make sure you have lots of examples prepared of any skill they could throw at you.
Skype interview: Typical competency questions (where do you see yourself in 5 years, etc), test knowledge of Microsoft products, your passion for working at Microsoft (Why Microsoft? why this internship?). The purpose of the interview is to work out what you are passionate about, and based on that they will try to assign you to a role suitable for you. For example, I mentioned that I was quite passionate about the program manager role, and the guys for HR really helped me get it. It's very important to know what you would like to do in your role, and what products you would like to work on and communicate that during the interview, but try to be flexible at the same time.
Technical Phone Interview: Not difficult, but make sure you know about Agile (know about user stories, user features, etc.), User-Centered Design (know about Scenarios, Personas, thinks you'd learn in HCI modules), they asked me about a piece of technology I am passionate about and how I'd improve it. Also, some brain teasers such as convert 20 to hex (I actually messed up that question, but they were fine with it, most important try to explain how you'd go about solving it), how many numbers can be represented in 4 bits. They also had a number of role specific questions, to test your understanding of the role. For every question be prepared for follow-up questions.
Assessment Centre: 2 parts, competency and technical. The competency interview will include the exact same questions from the video interview, only more. The technical interview will test your basic programming skills (code to reverse a string, palindromes etc.). Its quite easy, but I suggest doing some mock white-board interviews with a friend, rehearse debugging on the white-board, explaining your code before you write it, etc. To prepare, checkout first exercises from careercup book. For PM role, good communication skills while you write the code are very important. For program managers, the technical interview also includes a creativity exercise (e.g. design a remote, design an alarm clock for blind), make sure you ask questions to identify requirements, prioritise requirements. At the end you they will ask you if you think your design is good, and this is where I could have done better - I wasn't very confident in my design.
Telephone Interview with your prospective manager (optional): If you have the assessment centre with a different team to the one you'll be working with, you might need to go through a telephone interview with your prospective manager. I wound't call it an interview, more like a chat where the manager is trying to get familiar with your technical experience, your knowledge of programming languages and other computer science related concepts.
- Make sure you're nice to HR, they have quite a lot of say in the interview process, and they are very helpful.
- If you don't hear from them in a while, it's worth writing them an email, but don't be annoying - don't write too many emails. They will read it, but probably you won't get a reply via email. Still, it serves as a reminder that you're still interested. I did that, and got scheduled for an interview a week later.
- Apply to other places, the interview process is very long, so it's best to have a back-up plan if things don't work out
Interview Question – What's 20 in hex? View Answer
Student Intern Interview (Positive Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied online and the process took 4 months - interviewed at Microsoft in April 2014.
Interview Details I applied for the MACH UK Student Internships program, on the Game Production, Art, Design & User Research track. I first applied in January 2014 through the online application. This involves you filling in your educational background, three short essay questions, and a CV submission. This stage focuses on why you are a good hire for Microsoft, and what you have done to stand out from your peers as a student.
After this I was invited to complete a pre-recorded video interview. The format for this is short interview questions from the hiring team, which you then record your answers to. There are eight questions in total. These cover a range of topics about Microsoft, business sense, leadership and teamwork. Around half of the questions will be related to your chosen track (for me they were about game design, artistic achievements and user experience design.)
Next was the live Skype interview. This covered many of the same topics as the previous two steps. It took about 25 minutes, and there was the chance to ask questions and find out more about the internships and the timelines for the application. As I was applying for the 'art' sub-track I was asked to submit a portfolio after this interview.
Finally I had my in-person interview in April 2014. This took place in London at the studio, with two of the current employees. We went though my application, and I was then asked to talk about my career path to this point, my work and my motivations. This interview was an hour long, and was very informal. I received my offer a week after the interview.
One thing to note is that the Skype interviewer, for example, will not have seen your pre-recorded interviews and may only have read your CV. So make sure your CV is good and don't worry about repeating yourself if the same question comes up in two different stages!
Interview Question – What has been your greatest artistic achievement to date? View Answer
Negotiation Details – There was not much negotiation, as this is an internship position.
Software Development Engineer In Test (SDET) Interview (Neutral Experience)
Interviewed at Microsoft
Interview Details One of the recruiter approached me via linkedin, i had hit-around-bush chat with him just to get to know my background. then there was a formal technical interview. After that there was another one lasting for an hour. Then i was invited to the onsite interview in ireland. Unfortunately other things turned up i had to give up the chance
Interview Question – all normal questions on book, algorithms, data structures etc. Answer Question
Applications Development Consultant Interview (Negative Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Microsoft in February 2014.
Interview Details One hour technical interview, one hour face to face technical interview, one hour management interview, one hour presentation based on a subject with no prior experience. I was given 4 days to research the subject on my own.
Interview Question – Had to discuss a technical business requirement and then discuss what Microsoft technologies were appropriate solutions and five reasons why this technology was chosen. They are trying to get an idea of your thought process and problem solving abilities. View Answer
Technical Account Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Microsoft.
Interview Details I was contacted by a recruiter who wanted to see if I would be interested in a poistion with Microsoft.
Upon getting a positive reply from myself we went through a 20 minute conversation to assess my suitability for the role. Following that my CV was sent to the hiring managers to make a decision.
I was then contacted to come for a face to face compentancy baed interivew. The interview itself was not hard, you had to give various examples of various situations where you have achieved something or overcome a difficult situation. Microsoft have a set of competencies which they test you upon howerver they do not share them with yourself beforehand so you need to be prepared.
TIP - Make sure you research the role and the business and if the details don't come up in the interview you need to mention how your certain capabilities would be good for the business and the role you are interviewing for.
Follwing this I was then invited to an assessment day which involved a Presentation, Competency based interview and Role play.
Ensure that you read all of the presentation brief, and take into account the requirements which are mentione and which have been implied. It is very easy to miss out what has been implied and that can go against you. Aim for the essentials which would help demostrate your combination of business and technical skills and how Microsoft's business customers can be helped.
Again the competency based interivew. Same tips as before
Roleplay scenario -
I was dealing with some senior customers who were very unhappy. It was pretty ok to be honest nothing too hard, something that you would do on a normal basis. Again, you need to be calm, listening, sensitive and assertive at the same time.
Things were well organised, however the communication from the recruiters could have been better. However I always tried to be pro-active and ensure that I communicated where I felt that thier HR was lacking, afterall it is my career!! The people interviewing me were good though they seem to have researched myself and my past qiute well.
The long process which almost took me 3 months. By this time you really are mentally exhausted and want things to be over with, if not managed properly this can have a negative affect. Plus the comms from HR could have been better.
Reason why I was not offered -
In my first face to face interview I was told that they were impressed with my business knowledge however they needed to assess my technical knoweldge better as that had not come out in the interview.
So in my assessment to counter that and manage their expectations, I tried to highlight my technical knowledge in the assessment and the feedback was that they felt I had a lot more technical knowledge than needed and hence I was not strategic enough!. Yet they were the ones who wrote to me afte the interview asking that my technical knowledge needs to be shown and they were happy with my business experties. Maybe others can counter these things better however I was unable to manage the expectation of the many people interviewing me in a way that would result in a positive outcome for me. Based upon the feedback I received, they were impressed with everything other than this and hence role is not being offered. I will not comment further however I shall leave others reading this review to prepare themselves better.
Interview Question – Generally all questions were generic nothing too difficult or trick questions. If you have researched the role and company then you should be ok. Answer Question
Intern Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
Interviewed at Microsoft
Interview Details Applied through their on-line system after receiving an Information leaflet from my university's Placements team. Initial selection went smooth, however I failed one of the tests as I had only 48 hours of notice to familiarise myself with the subject matter (I basically received an e-mail with a link to the test and about two days to start the test).
Interview Question – The test I failed was the Numerical Reasoning Test subcontracted from SHL. 24 minutes for 18 questions all based on interpreting graphs and charts and churning out the right numbers as fast as possible.
The problems themselves were simple, the time was just brutally short. Answer Question
GRADUATE POSITION Interview (Neutral Experience)
I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft.
Interview Details Online application, online tests, pre-recorded video interview
Interview Question – How would you explain what cloud computing is to a customer? Answer Question
Business Manager In Banking and Finance Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 6 months - interviewed at Microsoft in February 2011.
Interview Details 5 Interviews over 6 months. The last 3 interviews all on one day. The usual resume oriented questions as it was for a senior sales role.
The last step was a scenario based role play where I had to "fill in the gaps" in terms of how a sales scenario would run and identify selling opportunities.
Interview Question – None were to difficult and rather run of the mill/ Answer Question
Negotiation Details – Very fast, though not a lot of flexibility.
Marketing Industrial Placement Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Microsoft.
Interview Details 1. Application form - Usual questions - why Microsoft? How are you more passionate and motivated than other candidates?
2. Verbal Reasoning test - Very easy test on SHL, given plenty of time! (possibly 3 minutes a question if memory serves me right)
3. Interactive Interview - One way interview, meaning you record your responses to pre-recorded questions. You're given the questions and have 30 secs to prepare your answer and 2 minutes to answer. Not massively difficult questions, they're all subjective, you just need detail. Dress smart!!
I failed at this point
5. Assessment Centre
Interview Question – Imagine you were trying to sell a corporate customer Windows 8 and Outlook, how would you go about a solution? View Answer
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