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Second Round Interview for SDE/T full time position at Microsoft

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  • User profile image
    hsw

    Well, I just had my first phone interview with a friendly recruiter yesterday, and based on his feedback, I have shown my passion for technology and have strong desire to work for Microsoft, so then he mentioned about HR scheduling people will contact me sometime next week to set up the time for second round interview.

    Of course I was thrilled! However, when I asked about dress code (of course I read about the dress code in Microsoft College Interview Tips section), he said just business casual.

    Now, I am more of respecting the company, so I might dress up (without a coat, just dress with a tie and slacks). However, the corporate culture within MS is much more laid back (like wearing a Kakis pants..etc).

    How would you define business casual for interview at Microsoft? How many of you are for dressing up in suit (showing respect) vs dressing casual like a college student?

    Thanks!

  • User profile image
    Ang3lFir3

    that a tough one... for the interview i say put on a tie.... and look good. There is no harm in it I don't think.

    My personal beliefs on how devs should be allowed to dress to work are really laid back... Nice Jeans (aka no holey crotches or knees etc) and a non offensive T-shirt would be my choice if I were in a possition to make that choice.  It's not often Customers meet the devs anyways. On those rare occations Kaki's and a polo would be perfect. (i wear cargos and a collared shirt to work based on our dress code but have more customer exposure than the average dev)

    Back to the topic of your interview. I say put on the tie but no jacket. you don't want to look too stuffy.

    Maybe some of the current MS employees can give some advise based on how they dressed for their interviews.

  • User profile image
    JKelley

    I haven't discussed this publicly yet but it seems like a good time since this topic has come up.  I actually just went through the on-site interview process last Friday.  Unfortunately I didn't get the position but I can certainly offer some tips. 

    When they say business casual, take them at their word.  You want to be comfortable as it is a VERY long day.  I can't stand wearing a tie and it would have shown in my body language that I was uncomfortable had I worn one.  I wore khaki's and a polo style shirt and I think it was quite appropriate.  I think I can count on one hand the number of people I saw all day long who were wearing suits, it really stuck out.

    Make sure that you tell them about your skills as they directly relate to the position you want!  This is where I think I fell down during the process.  I had plenty of enthusiasm, I got along well with my interviewers, and I think we had a good rapport going.  However, looking back at it, the one thing I didn't spend enough time talking about was my coding skills.  I was going for an SDE position, but most of what we talked about were my more project management type skills.  In the end, while those are important for a good software engineer to have, they aren't your primary skill.  I think the same is true for the SDET positions from the descriptions I've read, if you want a coding job, you have to show that you can code, and code well.

    I'm still processing the whole experience, and looking at what I need to do better the next time around (and trust me, I plan to try and have a next time).  Overall, stay relaxed, enjoy the process (the interviewers I talked to were all very very cool people), and make sure you show what it is that makes you right for the position you want.

  • User profile image
    Simo

    Ang3lFir3 wrote:

    Back to the topic of your interview. I say put on the tie but no jacket. you don't want to look too stuffy.


    Now my definition of "not too stuffy" would be jacket - but no tie. Just goes to show your minor dress details don't matter. Whatever you're comfortable with that's neat & tidy, I guess.

    Showing respect is, obviously, good. And as an interviewer in my line of work (ie not MS and not a software company) that means:
    - showing up at the right time (10-15 mins early at reception please).

    - listening to what you are told and asked

    - have done some homework on the company. Personaly, I'm not impressed by reciting the company financials from some report. More along the lines of trying to gain an understanding of what the company/division is about and how they go about it would be good. This is really hard to do from the outside... which brings me to my next point.

    - questions. My own opinion... I like candidates that are sat their trying to figure out if they like the company and will enjoy spending their days here. The way they do that is by asking questions/seeking conversations at every opportunity. I get to find out more about them as well that way.

    As I pointed out earlier, I've got nothing to do with MS but I have performed the odd interview.

  • User profile image
    JohnAskew

    Simo wrote:
    Ang3lFir3 wrote:
    Back to the topic of your interview. I say put on the tie but no jacket. you don't want to look too stuffy.


    Now my definition of "not too stuffy" would be jacket - but no tie. Just goes to show your minor dress details don't matter. Whatever you're comfortable with that's neat & tidy, I guess.

    Showing respect is, obviously, good. And as an interviewer in my line of work (ie not MS and not a software company) that means:
    - showing up at the right time (10-15 mins early at reception please).

    - listening to what you are told and asked

    - have done some homework on the company. Personaly, I'm not impressed by reciting the company financials from some report. More along the lines of trying to gain an understanding of what the company/division is about and how they go about it would be good. This is really hard to do from the outside... which brings me to my next point.

    - questions. My own opinion... I like candidates that are sat their trying to figure out if they like the company and will enjoy spending their days here. The way they do that is by asking questions/seeking conversations at every opportunity. I get to find out more about them as well that way.

    As I pointed out earlier, I've got nothing to do with MS but I have performed the odd interview.



    I think that is one of the secrets to interviewing for a job, use some reverse psychology and interview them. This shows that you take yourself seriously, but do they? Confidence is what sells, imho.

  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    Suede comfortable walking shoes, nice jeans, dress shirt, NICE tie (no cartoon characters or other sillyness, I'd go with a regimental matching the shirt or a double-tone pattern), dark blazer. (trust me, it works Smiley )

    Smile, don't use defensive body posturing (no crossing your arms) and ask questions. Don't be worry about challenging the interviewer, they are not meant to know absolutely everything and the last thing they need is a yes-man.

    Show that you are bringing something valuable to the company, not just a body. Show committment (five finished projects is a lot more than two dozen left at beta stage) and respect.

    Don't undersell yourself.

    Don't show fear. They smell it Smiley

  • User profile image
    Simo

    JohnAskew wrote:

    I think that is one of the secrets to interviewing for a job, use some reverse psychology and interview them. This shows that you take yourself seriously, but do they? Confidence is what sells, imho.


    Yes quite, quite possibly and the opposite - ie a v.unconfident candidate is a disaster. However, the point I was trying to emphasize wasn't the sure fire way to "pass" the interview.

    It's just saying "for goodness sake you're going to be here for the best part of your day 5 days a week, you should know what you like/don't like, here's your opportunity to figure it out".

  • User profile image
    Cybermagell​an

    I'm still confused why people post here to get information on their MS Interview...like we know...

  • User profile image
    Charles

    Sorry to hear you didn't get the SDE gig, JKelley. Do try again! It's not easy to get an SDE position at Microsoft so do NOT feel bad. It seems odd that they didn't ask you more algorithm and logic questions. Did you spend any time on the whiteboard?

    C

  • User profile image
    rjdohnert

    Good luck man, I hope you get the job.  I didnt LOL.  If it doesnt work out you can always try Apple or Sun.

  • User profile image
    Zeo

    I'm coming out to Microsoft next week for an interview. I interviewed for a position in July and didn't get it...but I'm really hopeful that I'll be able to secure the position this time around.

    And as for the dress code...last time I went in a full suit and tie(coming from boston the IBM and Groove interviews were all suit and ties) this time around I'm coming in Kahki's and a nice dress casual shirt sans the tie.

    Seeing how I'm coming to campus I'm looking forward to getting together with several of my Microsoft contacts....I'd love to get together and talk with Charles or Adam over lunch.....

  • User profile image
    Simo

    JohnAskew wrote:

    I think that is one of the secrets to interviewing for a job, use some reverse psychology and interview them.


    This does remind me of when I was applying for a job and went a bit OTT on the "interview them" stance.

    They still hired me, but one of the guys that interviewed me,  that's now a friend of mine, said it was bit like being interviewed by Jeremy Paxman (a Brit TV interviewer with a reputation for an agressive style).

  • User profile image
    JKelley

    Thanks for the vote of support Charles! 

    We did spend time on the whiteboard for sure.  Smiley Since I don't usually code either on paper or on the board I was significantly slower than I am when typing.  I think its VERY different to be able to code on your feet and its a skill that takes some practicing.  You seriously need a mental compiler and backspace key to effectively whiteboard code.  At least that's my opinion. 

    Two of the algorithmic questions (of which I had 4 throughout the day if I remember correctly) were very interesting and had real world application that was easy to see.  The other two were much more theory based, and one of those I'm not sure I can see a practical application for even now.

    I got some really good feedback from the recruiter that I think helped me pinpoint what, in the end, made the difference.  Although its a bummer to not get it on the first time out, I've heard that it can be a very long process to find the right fit at MS, I'm in it for the long haul.

    The best advice the recruiter gave me at the beginning of the day was don't assume anything, ask questions, lots of questions.  Its better to ask and clarify something (especially on a technical question) than to assume and miss something that the interviewer intended for you to ask about.

    To anyone else applying, or interviewing don't get discouraged!  I've never had a better time NOT succeeding in my life.  Smiley

    Oh, and I reccommend the Red Robin on 148th for dinner the night before and after your interview.  Smiley  Its not far from the hotel that a lot of us candidates were at and they have awesome lemonade with strawberries in it.

  • User profile image
    Zeo

    JKelley wrote:

    Oh, and I reccommend the Red Robin on 148th for dinner the night before and after your interview.    Its not far from the hotel that a lot of us candidates were at and they have awesome lemonade with strawberries in it.


    Yea...I'm looking forward to the lemonade again....When I was there in July the waitress laughed and asked me if I was a Microsoft interview. I said "yes" and she pointed toward 3 other guys sitting alone at three other tables and said their interviewing too.

    I walked over to one of the tables and asked the guy, John, if I could eat and talk with him. Turns out he was interviewing the following day(so was I). I asked the other 2 guys to join us, and we all had a great dinner.

    Then we all went back to the hotel and hit the hottub and talked about what specifically we expected the following day during the interviews.  Turns out that none of us recieved offers-(I was amazed those guys were freakin smart).
     
    Anyways, I've stayed in touch with him and the 2 other guys.

  • User profile image
    JKelley

    My somewhat amusing interview candidate bonding story was pretty short, the FIRST other candidate I talked to at MS just happened to graduate from the same college I did.  It really is a small world.

    Oh, even more advice (which as I think of I'll keep posting, its gotta help someone right?)...  During your lunch interview make sure you order something that won't make you uncomfortable later in the day.  Despite the temptation to order something spicy at the chinese place I went to with my interviewer I played it safe and got something bland, VERY good decision, the afternoon got long.  Energy is the important thing, NOT how the food tastes.  Smiley  And to that end, make sure you EAT at lunch.  Yeah you need to answer the questions, but the interviewers know that you need to get a good meal too, they'll wait for you to chew. 

  • User profile image
    Zeo

    JKelley wrote:

    make sure you EAT at lunch.  Yeah you need to answer the questions, but the interviewers know that you need to get a good meal too, they'll wait for you to chew. 



    Yea. Bring Power bars or energy bars, you'll need them. And over lunch order something light, I spent most of my lunch answering questions....the waitress at lunch laughed when the Microsoft employee went to the bathroom and I told her that I was on a Microsoft interview. She wrote a note on the bill saying that I should get the job...heh..I didn't get that job..

    .but power bars are a MUST. Wink

  • User profile image
    Sampy

    Heh, I drive by that Red Robin everyday on the way home.

  • User profile image
    irascian

    hsw wrote:

    How would you define business casual for interview at Microsoft?

    Thanks!


    This very question was asked and answered in some depth on the Microsoft recruiters blog. It wasn't too long ago (mainly I think it was around the guy who ended up joining the Channel 9 team and wore a rather cheeky t-shirt) and I think it was Gretchen who wrote the guideline. From (fading) memory it was along the lines of "You're showing respect by making an effort but if we really want you we're going to hear you no matter what you wear (using the C9 recruit as an example because what he'd worn was hardly what one would call "Business casual").

    If you can't find it via Google let me know and I'll see if I can dig it out. You should probably read all the blogs going back over time anyway because there's lots of very good advice in there for anybody wanting to interview for Microsoft.

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