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Microsoft Recruiting Tips

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Microsoft Recruiting had a small presentation on how to get a job, here are some tips and things to consider.

Interview Basics
Keep these factors in mind, they will
  • Date
  • Time
  • Place
  • Flights
  • Hotels
  • Recruiter Contact

Mind & Body:
  • Sleep
  • Eat
  • Scheduling

  • Company Culture
  • Weather
  • Comfort

Many companies do not necessarily care about what you are wearing. Of course you shouldn't wear inappropriate t-shirts, but if the company you are applying for wears a polo and jeans, odds are you should be fine with that level of dress. What is most important is that you feel confident and feel good in what you are wearing. If you feel good in a business suit, by all means wear a business suit. Confidence is key.

The Technical Interview:
- Gauge your knowledge in related technologies
- Evaluate how you think
- Problem solving skills
- Even if you are doing great, companies will often give you an impossible problem to solve. Often recruiters are not interested in the answer, but how you get to there. By asking you a problem that is impossible or very hard to solve, they are looking to see how you approach the problem, break down the problem into small manageable parts.

Preparation && Research
- Make sure you can talk about yourself
- Know the comapany you are applying for! Asking what a company does at a career fair or an interview is a good way not to get the job. Make sure you not only know what they do, but also tailor yourself and your resume to that company. In order to maximize your chances, you should tailor your resume to each company. Make sure you highlight your talents that most relate to that company's interests.

Coding Questions
- Learn to code on paper and pencil (not whiteboards). Odds are you will need to do it and its a very different experience than typing it on a keyboard. Practice and get it good.
Four Steps to solve a coding questions
  • Write the question on the board. Verify assumptions and ask questions
  • Write a few sample inputs and what you would expect the outputs to be
  • Pseudo-code
  • Code!

Types of Questions to Expect
  • behavioral
  • REsume based
  • Programming
  • Algorithms
  • System design
  • Product and industry ideas

Lastly,remember to:
  • Use the white board
  • Ask Clarifying Questions
  • Think out loud
  • Listen carefully to the problem
  • Consider time, space, and other trade-offs
  • Test your code
  • Start simple, then optimize
  • You're not expected to be perfect

To some it up: 10 reasons you will get the job
  • You prepare
  • You get enough sleep
  • you show up on time
  • you give "complete" answers
  • you "show/tell" the how
  • you tell the truth
  • you presevere
  • You ask great questions
  • Ask smart questions
  • Use your brain.

And the big secret question to ask, at the end of an interview when being asked if you have any questions about the company:


If I were fortunate enough to get the job offer, what would I expect to phenomenal success at the end of my first year at the company?

This will make the recruiter do a few things:
1. See that you have a vested interest in the future of the company
2. Make them thing about a person who was successful. Usually this will result in them picking themselves, and people love talking about themselves.

2 Comments On This Entry

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Sergio Tapia 

22 April 2012 - 07:45 PM
Confidence is key. You can pseudo BS your way around other limitations. For example you may not be that familiar with Postgres but you can certainly get a job using it if you are confident, show a willingness to try new technology and apply previous knowledge on it.

If you don't have confidence you will almost certainly get pushed to the backburner because managers and higher ups want people who can work well with a team.

Good tips all around! :)


23 April 2012 - 09:21 AM
I very much agree with you Sergio. I usually enforce the fact that confidence and personality are important for making the recruiter want to hire you. You need to convince that person that they want to work with you on top of the fact that you are technically competent.

Microsoft Recruiting team didn't really cover that, and it is an important aspect to remember.
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