One of our blog readers asked how he can prep for his upcoming Microsoft interview. There is a ton of information online and I have provided some of those links below, but here are some tips I give my candidates (thanks to some of my fellow recruiters who have helped articulate the tips so well):
Brush up on your programming skills, including algorithms and data structures. Yes, we may ask you about computer science principles from college. You can expect that you’ll be asked to write code on a white board during your interview. Be sure to test it before you say you’re done! Beyond practical questions, we want to learn more about how you think. As you’re coding, think out loud. You may know the answer, but we’re not just looking for a solution, but also how you tackle the problem. It is very enlightening for an interviewer to see that a candidate knows a number of ways to solve a problem and can hold a discussion about the pros and cons of each. Often time a candidate internalizes their design thoughts and then settles on one they share with the interviewer… in this case the interviewer can be left thinking this is the only way a candidate knows how to do something. Simplest working solution and then test for edge cases should be your guiding principle. Candidates tend to want to ‘show what they can do’ on a fairly straightforward problem and end up building in unnecessary complexity. The ideal first pass gets 90% of the problem and then the last 10% is found in testing/feedback and appropriate changes are made in a componentized manner.
Demonstrate your passion! This goes for quality of coding and operational problems, as well as your passion for the industry and technology. We want people who are excited to jump out of bed every day and come tackle tough challenges in creative ways. We look for people who think a great user experience is paramount. Microsoft always seeks to do it better and we want others who feel the same way.
Finally, it’s ok to be nervous. We are used to nervous candidates, so don’t let it affect your focus. Remember, you’re interviewing us too and we are prepping to make a good impression!
Here’s enough links to keep you busy.
Good luck on the interviews!
Interview Prep Tips: SDET