Interviewing at Microsoft

Saturday, July 8, 2006 – 10:03 AM

So one of the things I get to do a lot of as a Development Lead is interviewing – we’re hiring. Screening possible candidates over the phone, organizing loops and ultimately interviewing candidates when they visit campus. I actually really like this part of the job, you get to spend time talking to smart, enthusiastic people who’ve chosen software as a career and want to work at Microsoft.

It’s really saddening to watch smart people get tripped up. After all an interview is about showing your best and showing the interviewer(s) that you’re the right person for the job. I don’t want to dwell on that but I thought I’d pass on a few things that worked for me and got me hired here a few years ago…

Get your resume in shape. Yeah, I know we’ve all heard this one before but its amazing the number of four page resumes I have a wade through. Get feedback on it and tweak it accordingly. It took me several passes to get mine right.

Someone recommended “Programming Interviews Exposed” John Monganand and Noah Suojanen. I thought this was a great book. I’d never done the sort of technical interviews that are common at Microsoft and in the high tech industry in general so this was a bit of a wake up call. I spent a lot of time practicing writing code with pen and paper. Another thing I should have done was look at some basic algorithm books, lots of questions revolve around this sort of thing; quick sort, bubble sort, binary trees etc.

I also read “How Would you Move Mount Fuji” by William Poundstone. Puzzle questions have fallen out of favour of late, but I the first chapters gave me a much better understanding of why interviews are the way they are.

There’s also some useful information on about what to expect in interviews and preparing your resume. You can also search the web for information on interviewing for development jobs or Microsoft jobs specifically – here’s a pretty good one.

Oh yeah… And we’re hiring!

If you’d like to help us realize the vision of Office as a platform for .NET development then we’d like to hear from you.

Jobs on the VSTO Team

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