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Many people pursue Microsoft careers due to their perks and the company's reputation. The competition means applying can be intimidating, whether you're a recent college graduate or making a career change.
Passion and an impressive background aren't always enough to land the role you want. But you may land the job you want if you know what the company is looking for and align yourself with those values.
This guide can help you market yourself as a desirable new hire for Microsoft.
What types of tech careers does Microsoft offer?
Microsoft employs people in many roles, including software engineers, product managers, designers, coders, and more.
The company has implemented work-from-home flexibility for most of its staff and flexible work hours to suit their employees' needs.
If you're a student or recent graduate, Microsoft also offers tech internships, including UX design, supply chain, IT operations, finance, sales, and many types of engineering. These internships are difficult to earn but may provide future career opportunities.
Where should I apply for Microsoft careers?
You can submit job applications on the Microsoft website, LinkedIn, or many different job search sites. Applying directly to the Microsoft website won't increase your chances of getting hired. Pick whatever site works best for you.
Referrals are a great way to get your resume noticed at Microsoft — though you can still get hired without one. If you don't know any current Microsoft employees, you can use LinkedIn as a networking tool and connect with recruiters.
Microsoft recruiters may attend hiring events for students and recent grads. Check with your school's career services center for the next recruitment event.
What does Microsoft look for in an ideal candidate?
Microsoft looks for individuals who align with their core values, have technical knowledge, and can think on their feet.
Self-awareness and determination prove to Microsoft that you can work well in teams and persevere if you run into technical issues.
For coding roles, Microsoft looks for individuals with top tech skills like Microsoft Azure, software engineering, SQL, Python, and Microsoft C#.
Soft skills Microsoft wants
Microsoft's core values
Desire to learn
Passion for technology
Willingness to work hard
How many years of experience do you need to work at Microsoft?
It depends on the role.
For example, the program manager position is considered entry-level and requires only one year of experience. Software or hardware engineer positions require three to five years.
How to meet Microsoft's expectations when applying for a tech role
Many big tech companies use a similar process to screen a candidate's educational background, LinkedIn profile, resume, and portfolio.
It's important to make a good impression, so prepare thoroughly before submitting your application.
Remember that your resume will likely be scanned by an applicant tracking system. This software filters applications by searching them for keywords.
Make it easy for the software to read by using both long-form and acronyms of keywords, using traditional fonts, and avoiding tables and columns.
Tailor your resume to the specific role you're applying for. Use keywords from the job description and only include your relevant work experience. A software engineer resume should be completely different from a sales or marketing resume.
Stick to a basic resume template with a reverse-chronological format to make your resume more appealing to the software — and the people performing the second screening.
Online portfolio (if applicable)
All coding professionals should have a portfolio and update it frequently to demonstrate their coding abilities. You can house your coding portfolio on a website like GitHub or your website.
Your portfolio should reflect both your biggest strengths and the skills commonly required by the positions you're pursuing.
Ensure your profile includes your coding projects, contact information, and a brief bio.
Microsoft's interview stages
As of June 2022, Microsoft's interview process is entirely virtual. If you need to request disability-related accommodations during the process, fill out this form.
Tech companies typically start the process with a phone screening. This phone interview confirms your qualifications and your alignment with the Microsoft company values. It typically lasts about 15 minutes.
Be prepared to talk about yourself and sound enthusiastic when asked why you want to work at Microsoft. This interview checks whether you have done your homework on the company and researched them well.
During subsequent interviews, you may virtually meet the employees and managers of the team you're interviewing for. You will likely go through multiple interview rounds covering different topics related to your desired role.
These technical interviews assess soft skills like problem-solving and position-specific hard skills like design, coding, and testing. They take place over Microsoft Teams and other third-party software.
The problem-solving portion lasts 45 minutes. Interviewers watch how you navigate issues and see how you think.
Depending on your role, you may also complete tasks and answer questions in the following categories:
Design: Candidates are expected to understand how to design a new platform from scratch.
Coding: You'll show your skills in whatever coding language you are most comfortable with. Be sure to practice as much as you can before the interview. Microsoft describes this portion as "a critical part of the interview."
Testing: You'll test your own code and code written by the other team members.
How to prepare for Microsoft's interview questions
Microsoft's interview questions aren't easy to answer, so make sure you practice as much as possible. After reading our interview tips, conduct mock interviews with a friend to polish your responses and your body language.
Use the STAR method when answering questions. Respond with the specific situation, task, action, and result of the situation you're describing.
Practice answering basic behavioral interview questions and research unique questions Microsoft may ask. Interviewees report questions they've encountered on sites such as Glassdoor and Exponent.
Unique questions that Microsoft may ask
Why do you want to work for Microsoft?
How would you work with a teammate of yours who is blind?
Microsoft is an innovative company and seeks innovative employees. What is the best idea you've had in the past year?
Briefly explain how you would protect a Windows computer.
Behavioral questions that Microsoft may ask
Describe a time a project failed.
What would you do in a case where you disagree with your manager?
What is one of the most complex projects you've been involved in?