"What to expect in the interview" I've had this question from candidates that I have referred or distant relatives or friend's friend (you get the idea!) who are appearing for an interview with Microsoft . Somehow people still get to hear that Microsoft asks riddles. Though this was true way back but now these questions are rarely asked as they indicate very little about the candidate's potential.

I have been through interviews with some leading companies as an interviewer or interviewee and IMO Microsoft's interview process is a bit different. So here goes a list of what to expect and be prepared for in a technical interview with Microsoft.

  1. Unlike some other companies, Microsoft takes people from a lot of diverse background. E.g. if you are from C++ compiler development background you can be easily considered for the VS IDE's intelli-sense development if your interviewers think that you can fit in.
  2. Your dress really doesn't matter. You can expect to see your interviewer in shorts and he can't care less about what you wear.
  3. The interview process is loooooong. Expect multiple people to interview you one after the other. So when you get the lunch break, eat well.
  4. Put things in your resume only when you know about them well. People in Microsoft comes from diverse background (see above) and their  is every possibility that your interviewer will be very aware about the technologies you have mentioned in your resume and will ask you about them.
  5. Know your past projects well.
  6. You will be asked to solve technical problems and write pseudo-code for the solution. 
  7. Whether you are interviewing for Software development role, a test role or a lead/manager role you will be asked to code. The reason is simple, in Microsoft leads and development/test managers and even PUMs in some case (Program Unit Managers) code.
  8. Think aloud when solving problems, approach is as important as the final solution.
  9. When giving a solution, find out the fallacies your self and try to come up with better alternatives.
  10. Its an interview, so ask questions about Microsoft and the position/role you are being interviewed for.
  11. This is not true :)