Interviewing with Microsoft

A few months ago I found an offer for a summer internship at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond. After all I have heard about working at Microsoft, it sounded like a perfect summer opportunity for me. I wasn’t very optimistic about my chances, but I would probably regret it later if I didn’t apply. So I sent them in my CV.

After a few weeks of waiting I got a call from the Czech Microsoft office saying that they like my CV and they are sending it to Redmond for further evaluation. I was happy, but still – had no reason for celebrations :). A few weeks passed until I received an e-mail from Redmond asking me several questions about my background (my motivation, programming proficiency, how much code did I write within the last year and stuff like that). I sent them all my answers and waited impatiently for a reply.

The phone interview

After a week or so, I received an e-mail with a telephone interview arrangement. Now it all started getting serious. I searched the whole internet for any hints on telephone interviews, prepared a sheet of paper with all possible questions, printed out my CV and even started brushing up my english a bit.

To my surprise, the interview went quite well. Again, there were some questions about my background and motivation and a simple problem-solving question. No “real” technical questions at all. Still, I had a pretty bad feeling about it. My answers could definitely be better and I felt that I didn’t say anything that would distinguish me from the other candidates.

In-person interview

A few weeks of radio silence followed. I started to be a bit worried that after the disastrous phone interview I am not even worth to get an e-mail telling me that I didn’t meet their expectations. Then I received an e-mail with subject “Microsoft Internship Interview Preparation – Warsaw”.

It was an invitation for an in-person interview with people from Redmond on their International Recruiting Trip in Warsaw, Poland!

The in-person interview was challenging. The interview took place in the Warsaw Microsoft office, which is a nice building about 10 kilometers from the city centre. I met 6 other internship candidates, 2 from Czech Republic, 2 from Romania and 2 from Bulgaria. I was the only one from Slovakia (the interviews were scheduled for two days and if I remember well, about 40 candidates were invited to Warsaw altogether).

I interviewed with 3 people – Holly (technical recruiter), Phil (manager from the Speech Recognition team) and Tom (developer from the “Clouds” team).

During the interview I had to write code on paper, explain my approach, design several tests and even solve puzzles (variations on the Pigeonhole principle). Even thought one interview took only 20 minutes (so 3*20 minutes together), it was exhausting.

The rest of my trip to Warsaw was fun, too. I had time for some explorations of the city and I took many pictures. The best thing about it – Microsoft paid all the hotel and travel expenses :).

Interview results

The results of my interview came in about two weeks later. I was really anxious about opening the e-mail. I really wished to get there. So I opened with jittering hands just to find out I received an offer! An offer for a SDET position at the Windows Serviceability team! Probably the best place I could get!

If everything goes well, I will start in the middle of june. So – see you in Redmond :)!

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