Microsoft wants smart people. Geeks. People who are passionate about technology. You probably won’t be tested on the ins and outs of C++ APIs, but you will be expected to write code on the board.
In a typical interview, you’ll show up at Microsoft at some time in the morning and fill out initial paperwork. You’ll have a short interview with a recruiter where he or she will give you a sample question.
Your recruiter is usually there to prep you, and not to grill you on technical questions. Be nice to your recruiter. Your recruiter can be your biggest advocate, even pushing to re-interview you if you stumbled on your first interview. They can fight for you to be hired or not!
During the day, you’ll do four or five interviews, often with two different teams. Unlike many companies, where you meet your interviewers in a conference room, you’ll meet with your Microsoft interviewers in their office. This is a great time to look around and get a feel for the team culture.
Depending on the team, interviewers may or may not share their feedback on you with the rest of the interview loop.
When you complete your interviews with a team, you might speak with a hiring manager.
If so, that’s a great sign! It likely means that you passed the interviews with a particular team. It’s now down to the hiring manager’s decision.
You might get a decision that day, or it might be a week. After one week of no word from HR, send them a friendly email asking for a status update.
“Why do you want to work for Microsoft?”
In this question, Microsoft wants to see that you’re passionate about technology. A great answer might be, “I’ve been using Microsoft software as long as I can remember. And I’m really impressed at how Microsoft manages to create a product that is universally excellent. For example, I’ve been using Visual Studio recently to learn game programming, and it’s APIs are excellent.” Note how this shows a passion for technology!
You’ll only reach the hiring manager if you’ve done well, but if you do, that’s a great sign!