Tech Ramblings…

By Dr. T

–…as Microsoft is comminggg to townn…(PART 1)

I thought I’d sidestep from my current project “adopting a house in a village for technology hand down – ref: One small step for a child, one giant leap for a village”, to an interesting post. As Microsoft sends its international recruiting team to discover new talent from the Middle East, Russia and Pakistan, I cant help but hum this song that I was made to learn in Kindergarden and performed in a Parents Day Function, “The Circus is coming to town”. No pun intended, but the adrenaline gush that we as children get during a circus visit to town can be analogous to the excitement that most passionate developers, testers and prospective Microsoft employees may feel at Microsoft current visit to the regions.

I thought it would be fun to look back at my interview experiance at Microsoft and share it thorugh a post. “” Although, most interviewing experiances can be seen as shades of black and white and oscillate between love and hate relationships between the company and the candidates depending on their experiance. I think in the overall end game, its a positive experiance and a win win situation for both recruiters/interviewers and candidates. Everyone learns through this experiance…

I wanted to divide this message in the form of two posts, one addressing the time leading to the phone interview, and the other from receiving the successful phone interview email leading to the onn-site interview. This post will highlight my experiance in the former first.

From the first love mail sent to the recruiter telling them how you feel that you are the perfect fit for the team, to the response email (e-questionnaire), to the phone interview and finally, the on-site interview. At each point, candidates pass through multiple screening processes and its a good thing that they should know how lucky they are once they pass each phase and represent the fraction of a minority that they represent (from being selected from a thousand resumes). If they make the phone screen and the on-site interview, it means that they are certainly capable of making the job offer if they are lucky and they know where they’re headed.

1- I’ve received a ton of tips from blogs such as Technical Careers @ Microsoft,, and a lot of other blogs that Microsoft employees keep. They vividly highlight information about the team, their projects, and what they are looking for in a candidate. So researching about the company, the team and possibly the team members before sending your resume is always a plus. Although, given the schedule of the international recruiting for Microsoft, it may not always be possible to publish this information only a few days before the event calender is finalized, still it is a good idea to generally read such related blogs for insight.

2- Honestly fine tuning or tailoring ones resume according to the job description can be used by the candidate. This does not mean writing phantom projects on ones resumes to catch the recruiter/interviewers eye. This will always be caught by them since they are used to screening thousands of candidates every day.

3- Once your resume is complete, send the initiating love email to the company and then wait for a few weeks. Recruiters receive thousands of resumes and they go through each and every one of them through  my experiance. Their response is generally dependant on where your email and resume is present in the thousands of emails they receive and when they get a chance to look at it. If you fulfill the initial

criteria, they will follow up with you and set up a phone interview date.

4- At this time, its always a good idea to request the recruiter what team he represents and what are the kind of candidates they are looking to hire. From this point on, start researching on the team and look at what kind of projects they are working on. If the recruiter lets you know who they will be interviewing, that can always be a plus. If the interviewer/recruiter keeps an online blog, go and read it. That will give a personalized touch to the interviewing experiance.

5- Knowing ones resume is a very important thing. If you’ve done a project that directly coincides with a kind of project that the interviewing team is doing, highlight it during the phone interview. Let them know that you’ve worked on the technology. It will not increase your chances in the phone interview but its still a plus.

 6- Prepare through online interviewing questions, go through coding exercises from your university or online. What I’ve seen many people do is collecting interviewing questions and solvin them on their own on a piece of paper or a computer. This always helps putting thoughts into words and making concepts better. As during the interview, you wouldnt get too many options to make mistakes :).

7- Also, what many developers do, is think in their heads while coding. During the interview, one has to “think out loud”. So whatever solution you are thinking, let the recruiter or interviewer know verbally because the silence on the phone becomes very unbearable for both the recruiter and candidate :).

8- The interviewer will ask general questions, questions from the resume, coding exercise, maybe a brain teaser (although microsoft has stopped giving brainteasers from what i’ve heard). Basically they are assessing you as a person, a developer, and how you would gel with the team. So social skills, technical skills and group management skills are what one can expect during the phone and subsequent interviews.

9- Interviewing is a two way conversation. The interviewer wants to know you but you also have the right to know the team, the interviewer and the company. So at the end of the interview, feel free to ask if the recruiter/interviewer has time and ask questions you might have about the group, life at microsoft etc.

10- After the phone interview, it is always courteous to send a thank you note to the recruiter and the interviewer. It always sends a good message to the people who go through extra lengths to arrange for your interview. And appreciating is always a good thing. 

11- After the phone interview, wait for the email. I konw the wait can be terrible at times, but its worth it. Many people know how they did in the interview and expect what happens after the wait. The result has a number of outcomings based on interview performance, luck, geographic location, team preference etc.

I hope this post will help people who are in the phase of sending their resumes to microsoft and wiating for the phone interview. I’ll write more about the on-site interview in another post.

Good luck….


August 25, 2006 - Posted by | Microsoft

1 Comment »

  1. dude.. respect! haha. for real!!

    Comment by schazaib | October 12, 2006 | Reply

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