19 June, 2014

Microsoft Interview Experience

A month ago I had an interview at Microsoft and thought I'd write about my experience before I forget it and the odd chance it might help someone else out

So basically I received an email from one of Melbournes' Microsoft recruiters that they're looking for students to interview for a position as a security intern role, I emailed them back with my resume and a little message about myself; a week later I'm on the train on my way to their office.

I show up at 9am and am greeted by the recruiter, the other interviewees and a buffet breakfast.

A little while later we move into a large room and are seated 6 to a table with an employee, The 2 head recruiters give us a talk about Microsofts culture/products; the usual company presentation and some team building exercises (our table had to come up with a quick chant to introduce ourselves) We then go on to do 2 group exercises. my team members (those at my table) and I are given a scenario. A boat is sinking and we have to choose the 6 best people to move into the survival boat. We are given a booklet containing a profile of people, one guy is on a sailing team, another has leadership skills ect.

11am; It's break time; cue catered pre-cut sandwhiches, apple juice and cookies while we mingle with each other; “so nervous" “What uni are you from?""i think ive seen you around"

2nd scenario: This one involved figuring out which Microsoft product would best suit the needs of a business. We then went out and presented our solution to our designated Microsoft employee and other group teams.

Another Break.

By now its 12ish,we each have 2 one-on-one interviews to go; a technical and general one. They put up our scheduled times on the wall and we wait nervously.

1st interview "the technical interview"; I sit in front of an employee in a small room that has just a whiteboard, desk and chairs. For 15 minutes he asks me to tell him which SQL query will result in this or that data, How I would solve a certain technical scenario, aka. “youre given a list, how would you go about collecting certain keywords from a text file, and counting number of times the keywords are listed. I gave a basic C based answer from an algorithm I learnt a few weeks ago in class.

I have 1.5 hours until my next interview, I sit around with the other interviewees as we compare RMIT's social life to Melbourne Unis', our job history, what we're studying and trying to pry open information from people who've just come out of their interview.

2nd interview "the general/ethics one". I'm taken to the same room with a different employee. He speaks about the job position,the team and what he does. He tries to get a feel about who I am and what Im interested in. I learn that the job pretty much involves working with SQL and low-level languages; Something that Im not crazy interested in, we then just spend the rest of the time speaking about my previous job experience.

All in all, even if I didn't end up getting the position it was a good experience that Im glad I went through. It took them a month to let us know of our outcome which didn't surprise me. In hindsight Ill definitely have to come more prepared for future interviews as I did scramble a bit on some SQL query questions I was rusty with. I hope this gave you a bit of an insight on the experience!