Tech Ramblings…

By Dr. T

— Microsoft Interviews, Recruiter hospitality and a Surgery…Part 2..

As a follow up to my previuos post (Microsoft coming to town part 1, ), a lot of people ask what the on-site interview is like. It is a lot like the phone interview in terms of intensity of the questions one can expect. The only difference that you can actually see the interviewer and read his/her expression as to whether he’s happy with your answers or not (just kidding). But one can use this visual advantage to their favor. One important distinction that I’d like to make here is that once you make it “” to the on-site interview, its a whole different world. You’re coding on the white board/paper, your interviewer is sitting judging you, helping you along the way by giving hints etc.

I had a unique interviewing experiance. I had had an appendix surgery just a month prior to the interviews, and the interviewers were very accommodating. Although, I had 9 interviews with two teams spanning over two days, both team members kept asking if I was comfortable and if I could go on with the interview, giving me frequent breaks to eat and recover :). At the end of the interviews, both team managers called to ask about my health and wish me a speedy recovery. This really gave a personal touch to the interviewing experiance and in the long run, helped my decision making easier to join. More on the hospitality of Microsoft interviewers in a later post…

One can expect the on-site interivew to be divided into 3 to 8 interviews depending on the interviewers and the candidate. The number of interviews varies because the interviewers wish to asses the candidates on a broad spectrum. Managing stress and keeping calm in this situation is key since the interviews tend to become very tiring and long.

The microsoft interviews are purposely open ended so that they are left for open interpretation. There is no one way of solving any problem, so a good idea would be to ask the interviewer clarifying questions and letting them know what solution you have in mind. If you can come up with multiple solutions to the same problem, let them know that you have multiple solutions and chose the most optimal.

As a brief note, here are some of the things that I was asked during my interview at Microsoft. Please dont ask for solution to these problems as its better to solve them on your own.

1- Questions from Resume
2- Reverse the linked list in linear time
3- Pre-caching web pages and finding duplicate pages and deleting them
4- Creating a trivial search engine for the above question
5- Finding if a given binary search tree exists as a subtree in another binary tree (not bst).
6- Finding permutations of the letters in a given sentense
7- Finding multiple duplicates in a string
8- Finding network choke points in a distributed system
9- Decoding a given string given a key encoder
10- Designing a coffee machine for a special patients hospital
11- Designing a business plan for one of microsoft products (any of my chosing).

In short, the microsoft trips are always filled with fun. They fly you to their recruiting destination (redmond, or off-site if possible), put you in a great hotels in great destinations, allow you one full day of viewing tourist attractions etc, and give you a glimpse of life at microsoft (I remember playing on xbox on my interview day in the famous microsoft landmark – building 19). All in all, its a great fun filled experiance.

till a later post….


August 25, 2006 - Posted by | Microsoft

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