From innovative tech geeks to administration and office support to infrastructure, Microsoft has individuals in each position that ensure that the company functions as it should.
Whether you’ve applied for a new job with Microsoft, or you’ve been approached and tapped, any candidate being considered for a position will need to sit down with one or more company officials in an interview.
So, I decided to take an in-depth look at the most common Microsoft interview questions asked and how to approach them.
How Can I Stand Out?
Microsoft is one of the world’s most recognizable brands, employing over 181,000 people in all kinds of positions around the world. In a company like Microsoft, with so many employees and so many positions, there are also millions of applicants every year.
Skills, education, and previous work experience are all important themes for your interview, but the biggest question you need to ask yourself is…
“How can I stand out from all the other candidates?”
Microsoft has many departments and divisions, each with its own specialized needs and focus. Therefore, it is difficult to give an idea of all the questions that you could be asked. If you are hoping for a position in a tech division, you will, of course, be asked different skill-based questions to someone looking for a job in finance or administration.
Depending on what department or role you are applying for, there will, of course, be specific questions focused on that role and its requirements, and possible aptitude and knowledge testing. During any interview, always try to be brief, but also be sure to expand on any points that relate to the position you are interested in.
So, let’s take a look at some common general interview questions for Microsoft. I will also discuss strategies of how to answer them effectively to get your dream job at Microsoft.
Research the Company
Every company, big or small, has its own work environment and culture, its own special ways of engaging its staff, and overall corporate vision for the future. Microsoft is no different. These themes are all talked about online as part of Microsoft’s hiring and marketing policies. That means the best way to prepare for your interview is to head to Microsoft websites and social media platforms and do some research.
Microsoft’s vision and mission statements are clear to see on its “About” page, as well as links to sections on Corporate Responsibility and People and Stories. Reading these pages will give you insight into Microsoft’s culture and some relevant language and ideas to use in your interview.
Know the Job
It may seem obvious; however, every company may have different expectations or language they use to describe a position and its responsibilities. Microsoft has so many positions and opportunities for applicants, and available jobs and descriptions are listed on their Careers pages.
Therefore, make sure that you take the time to read as many job descriptions or personal perspectives of other employees already doing the job at Microsoft as possible. Addressing some of the listed tasks will show that you know what the position entails and what is expected of you.
Outside Sources of Information
It’s a great idea to check out popular social media platforms to find both personal and Microsoft sponsored pages. You can find out what others have to say about working for the company in blogs detailing the company culture and innovations from personal perspectives.
Also, read views in online magazines on upcoming tech or market trends that Microsoft is involved in. This will help you focus on what qualities are most important to Microsoft when they hire a new employee, and to pinpoint relevant topics when giving your interview.
What Questions Will They Ask?
Ice-breakers are often open-ended questions designed to make the candidate comfortable before jumping into more detailed ones. An often asked icebreaker-style question that you could expect is,
“Do you use Microsoft services or products, and if so, do you have any favorites, and why did you choose them?”
From this question, regardless of what position you are applying for, the interviewer wants to gauge your familiarity with Microsoft’s current product lines. For you, this offers a perfect chance to showcase your Microsoft product knowledge, appropriate skills, and experience in using the products in various situations.
Therefore, answer by giving concise examples of how you used a Microsoft product in a successful project.
An interview is all about making a lasting impression and explaining how you can help Microsoft. One interview question that is sure to be asked is,
“Why do you want to work at Microsoft?”
What the interviewer is really looking for is “How can hiring YOU benefit Microsoft?” The interviewer already has a copy of your CV and already knows your general skill set, educational background, and previous work experience. However, speaking very briefly about those themes at this point is necessary to confirm what your CV contains.
You will be able later to mention your previous roles, situations, and skills later if asked. When answering this question, speak about Microsoft and what you can bring to the table as a part of the Microsoft team.
Open-ended Questions to Consider
What the interviewer is looking for is finding out what special skills and qualities you can bring to the job and how you will fit in as a new Microsoft employee.
You may be asked the following or similar open-ended questions in your interview. Take along look at them and ask them of yourself. Make notes ahead of time. Prepare. Think about what you would say and, just as important, think about how you would say it. Use apt words, phrases, and themes that you found in your previous research on Microsoft websites and social media.
“Tell me about your greatest success/failure in a team situation.”
“What was the most difficult project that you have worked on, and even if it was successful, how do you think you could have further improved the outcome?”
“Tell me about a time when you disagreed with a colleague. How did you resolve the situation, and what did you learn?”
“What do you think about working in teams, building and maintaining relationships with colleagues, and how it relates to productivity?”
“How do you keep up to date with new industry trends and with building your personal skill set?”
The interviewer is trying to find out how you will respond and operate in the job. These types of questions have to do with professionalism, interpersonal skills, taking initiative, and problem solving under pressure. Preparation will help the interviewer see you are someone who goes the extra distance, and when answering, will help you stand out from the crowd.
Coming up With Great Answers
When dealing with open-ended questions, it’s helpful to consider speaking about successful, related situations you have faced before. Even if the situation that you speak about is not work-related, that’s ok as long as it still answers the question.
Tell the interviewer the basic details, like who, what, where, and when. Describe your role and what your responsibilities were at the time. Here, you should be specific about any obstacles you may have faced. Showing that you will take on challenging conditions is important in getting a job where you expect to advance.
Also, tell the interviewer what steps you took to move the situation forward. These types of questions are great for including examples of personal qualities you think the company is looking for. Be specific about the outcome; for example, how were any difficulties resolved, and what was your input?
At the end of an interview, the interviewer invariably asks if you have any questions for them. This is your turn to show that you are interested and forward-thinking. It also shows confidence and curiosity. You might ask the interviewer general questions, such as:
“What types of tasks or issues arise daily in the job?”
“What outstanding qualities do others in the position you are applying for have in common?”
“In your opinion, what are the best parts of working for Microsoft?”
Looking for More Great Advice to Land Your Dream Job?
Well, if you’re interested in a career with a tech giant, then it’s also well worth checking out our Brain Teaser Interview Questions From Google, Apple, and Facebook, because you can never be sure what your Microsoft hiring manager will ask you?
It’s also worth making sure you know the best answers to common interview questions such as Why Do You Want To Work Here, What Makes You Unique, How Would You Describe Yourself, or how about How Do You Handle Stress, Why We Should Hire You, or What Are You Most Proud Of, and as well as your Strengths And Weaknesses For Job Interviews.
Well, I strongly recommend taking a look at The Self Confidence Workbook, The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt, or the Unstoppable Self Confidence, which is also a great read, or try You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, or The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance, all available online in 2023.
If you really want to stand out from the crowd in your interview, then you need to do your research and get the latest information you can about Microsoft and its expectations. You will also need to fully understand the role you hope to play, and be prepared to speak clearly and confidently about yourself, your skills, and, most importantly, how hiring you can benefit Microsoft.
Being prepared and taking the initiative will go a long way to showing the interviewer how you are the right candidate for the job.
We wish you the very best with your Microsoft Interview!