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Author Topic: Phone Interview with Microsoft!  (Read 5504 times)
moerl
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« on: April 30, 2008, 01:31:12 AM »

It's time to panic! Monday, I sent an MS recruiter a nice email with my resume attached. Just past lunchtime on Tuesday, April 29, the "Microsoft College Staffing Consultant" (basically the head MS recruiter for my university) replied and said that he's forwarded my info to the person who will conduct what he called "the phone screening to determine a possible fit". This person, (judging by the name, a woman), sent me an email a half hour past midnight tonight. What a turnaround time! Most of my friends, who are not in CS majors, are seeing non-existent turnaround times as they spend weeks waiting for any kind of response from the companies they send their resumes to, i.e. there are no responses. In contrast, I went from writing an email with my resume attached to a scheduled phone interview in roughly 30 hours! Crazy.

Anyway.. I noted in my initial email that I believe I'd best fit in with either software development or user experience. It turns out they've decided to interview me for software development. SDEV, they call it. Well, that's a bucket full o' reason to panic! Getting any summer internship position at Microsoft is pretty difficult (notoriously so around these parts), but a position in SDEV? It justifies entering panic-mode.

A good friend who interviewed with them for the same position passed the phone interview and was flown out to Seattle twice. They liked her enough to give her a position as something along the lines of system admin. She'll be responsible for a range of machines and keeping stuff going. At least that's what I could pull from memory--I'd have to ask her to get a specific job title. She starts there this summer.

I'm not too proud to say that she's most definitely the smarter human being than I am. She's a Comp Sci/Math major and overall, knows her shit pretty well, shall we say. Me? I'm passionate about computer science, but just don't quite have what it takes wired into my neural system to be a math whiz. I'm an intelligent being, for sure, but I can't say that mathematics is my forte. When it comes to coding I definitely enjoy it and would say my skill-set is solid, but not outstanding. Without some serious preparation, asking around and possibly buying a book on interview questions and studying that thoroughly, I personally don't think I currently would stand too good a chance at getting far.

So, yeah, panic mode! And all this comes in the last week of classes, one week before most of my final exams. The last day of classes is this Thursday, which happens to be the same day MS suggested I have the phone interview with them. Needless to say, no can do. I'll have to move the interview date as deeply as possible into next week, giving them multiple possible dates. This feels like a 5th final exam!

Anyway.. I thought I'd share and put this up for discussion for no particular reason at all. I feel pressured, and thought it might help a bit to share the story.

Thanks for tuning in!

PS
A bit of back-story: the friend I mentioned recently got hired by MS and she was out with two MS recruiters this weekend as part of a new hires event. They ended up at a bar down town and she let me know who she's there with. I went, of course, and ended up talking to them for a bit. I suppose I had a bit of an edge in that respect, though whether that had anything to do with their lightning fast response time is anyone's guess.
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oldfart
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2008, 02:47:11 AM »

Good luck to you my friend.  On a positive note, having such a tough interview right off the bat will hopefully make any future interviews seem like a walk in the park in comparison. 
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dmg
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2008, 03:03:12 AM »

I know it's scary. I'm debating sending my cv to google (even though they are evil  Wink they are a great company to work for) because they advertise a senior job that would be right up my alley. Then I think about the candidates they must receive and I just feel like theres no chance...

I have hard to find experience but its all in smb's - i bet they get people who wrote 6 major open source projects and worked on 100 million projects applying for the same job... 

I'll say to you what my soon-to-be-ex-team say to me "dont be silly comparing yourself to others they probably feel the same looking at you, go for it else we will kick your ***"
« Last Edit: April 30, 2008, 03:06:25 AM by iphigenie » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2008, 03:23:04 AM »

as OF says, just think of it as practice for future interviews.
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iphigenie
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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2008, 05:31:59 AM »

As someone who has spent a lot of time recruiting and interviewing people for IT and dev jobs: they need you as much as you need them.
It's gotten harder for MS to recruit now that their shares arent soaring and there's so many other cool companies out there. So they are as anxious to find the right people as you are finding the right job. And it is harder for them!

You're interviewing them to see if the kind of jobs they have in mind at the moment are worth *your* time going through the interview process.

It's a mutual "would this work" type thing

I find keeping this in mind helps with confidence
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Renegade
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2008, 12:09:00 PM »

Good luck with that interview! All the best to you!  Thmbsup
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ljbirns
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2008, 02:53:02 PM »

I'm 64 yrs old and retired,  I will tell you from  long experience.  NEVER think that you are NOT as smart or as good as the other guy. You are just as good and just  smart as anyone else. 
 The other interviewees are worried about YOU .
Good luck

Lew



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Lew
cthorpe
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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2008, 11:55:23 PM »

The first real job interview I ever had was with Dell.  I'm not quite sure how I even got the interview I did, but it was for a project coordinator/management position.  The interview, which turned out be 5 different interviews with different combinations of interviewers, was brutal.  At times, it even bordered on absurd.  I was asked general interview type questions.  I was asked to imagine bizarre scenarios where I had to save myself and everyone in the room from some impending disaster using a drinking straw, paperclip, and a rubber band.  I was asked about my pets.  I was asked how I even got past security.  About halfway through, I stopped panicing and started having fun with the interviewers.  I didn't get the job, but I have found that every interview since then has been a breeze.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2008, 10:50:23 AM by cthorpe » Logged
iphigenie
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« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2008, 01:15:49 AM »

Some of the large companies have the most ridiculous interview processes, full of weird tests that make sense to them, one hopes.

I think that is because they have the hiring process run by people who cannot know about the position or skills much, on one side, and people who know about the skills and position but arent trusted to evaluate the candidates' general abilities and work-worthiness, on the other side. I mean it can be hard to evaluate someone's problem solving skills if yours arent good, so tests with a set of "good" answers will help. They also help remove interviewer bias a little.

It can make a candidate feel like cattle though.

I have mostly been active in SMBs where you are just expected to get this out of a candid talk with candidates and perhaps a pure technical test (just to make sure they arent bluffing).
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Lashiec
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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2008, 07:20:39 PM »

I was asked to imagine bizarre scenarios where I had to save myself and everyone in the room from some impending disaster using a drinking straw, paperclip, and a rubber band.

Perhaps you thought it was Dell, but in reality it was a casting for Richard Dean Anderson stunt doubles ;)

Or perhaps it was a different take on The Gronhölm Method :S
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Darwin
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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2008, 07:55:42 PM »

I'm with OF here... never assume that you're not the equal of anyone. Also, iphigenie - go for it! I'm often asked how I got into the univeristy that I went to... the answer? I applied! You've got nothing to lose...
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