Microsoft Interview Experience (Full Time 2018 Washington DC – with 2.5 years of experience)

The complete process involved an online phone screen, and an onsite interview (no travel)

I was recommended to a recruiter in the Washington DC metro area, and the office was down the street from where I lived. I talked to the recruiter over the phone, and scheduled a phone screen with a Principle Software Engineer.

Phone screen:
Since it was over the phone, it was a little hard hearing and understanding what the other person was saying. But they asked some basic questions at first like what do I do, and they were looking for how well I can explain technical stuff. I explained over the phone a cool project I was working on at work. I’ve worked on a lot of projects, but I picked the most interesting one. The interviewer didn’t care if it wasn’t my latest project because the one I was talking about was actually a lot more interesting. Then the interviewer asked me a technical question: Given requests at random times, return the requests from the last 1 minute. It was a little more detailed than that, and I wasn’t able to finish the question, but somehow I was still able to be called onto the on-site interview.



On-site interview:
I walked in and there were about 12 other people being interviewed as well. They put us in a separate conference room and then we had 4 rounds of interviews after that. Each 45 minutes, and then one 15 minute break. Total 4 hours.

First round:
Asked basic questions. Then asked a question where given brackets, parenthesis, and/or curly braces, see if it is valid. Like {]}{})(, {}()[()]. The first one would be false, the second one would be true. The interviewer really looked for when I would get stuck, and tried to see how I would react when I didn’t know something. He liked the part when I got stuck, and when I was able to find my way back to the solution.

Second round:
This round the guy was a bit unconventional. I don’t think he asked me a single basic question to start the conversation. He walked in, asked me to code some problems, and then left. Barely any words at all besides technical question clarifications. But the questions he asked was if A=1, B=2, C=3, …, then write a function to return the number corresponding to the string. Z would be 26, then it would be AA, which would be 27. What would BB be, or ABC, or ABB, etc.

Third round:
This was the design question. The question was design tinyURL. Also was asked remove duplicates from a linked list.

Fourth round:
This was the toughest. I think he was the main engineer to impress. He asked given a sentence “how are you”, reverse the words and return “you are how”. I could not use splitBy(), and I had to also not use any data structures. I was able to solve it in optimal time, but I ended up needing a data structure. But there was a way to not use data structures actually.

After that I just went home. I felt really good about the interview, but I didn’t hear anything for a while. Then they called me late next week and told me I had multiple teams interested in hiring me for multiple positions. Then I had to pick which one I wanted. I ended up picking Azure AD as a Software Engineer. This was probably the happiest day of my life 🙂

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