From time to time people ask me what it takes to get employed by Microsoft, usually after having been rebuffed by our recruitment consultants. It sometimes feels like no matter how many skills you have, it's impossible to get considered for a role. It also doesn't help that there's usually heavy competition when Microsoft jobs are advertised. All I can speak from is my own experiences of having joined the company's UK subsidiary and referred one or two other potential candidates - I have nothing authoritative to offer beyond my personal opinion.
Actually, the secrets of finding a job with Microsoft are no different than those needed for any other competitive company. Most importantly, the more you can do to demonstrate your passion, initiative, presentational and technical skills, the more valuable you'll be as a potential employee to Microsoft and other similar organisations.
For technical evangelist roles (that's what I do), getting involved in the community is a good idea. Answering newsgroup posts, building community tools or software, writing a blog and speaking at user group events are all great ways to build your profile in the industry. Microsoft certifications such as MCSD and MCSE can also be valuable, but don't treat them as a golden ticket to career success in isolation from other demonstrable attributes.
It's worth keeping an eye on the careers pages (UK, US, Intl) for posts that interest you, too. Post your resume on-line, or even better, create an on-line site as both portal and portfolio of your professional activities. Write a speculative letter to the recruiters where you highlight the skills above and ask to be considered for appropriate roles. Keep applying - you can have several applications in the pipeline at any one stage.
Seek out other Microsoft staff at technical roadshows and user group events; gather as much information as possible about the structure of the organisation so that you can find out what roles would truly fit your skills and ambitions. Read the Jobs Blog or Heather's blog for inside information from technical and marketing recruiters based in Redmond.
Lastly, keep persevering! If you truly have the right technical and soft skills, you'll be spotted after a few attempts. If you don't get through the interview process on the first attempt, it may simply be that you're not seen as a perfect match for the particular role on offer.
If you've succeeded or failed in a Microsoft job interview, why not drop a comment below to help out others in a similar situation?