Microsoft Principal Software Test Lead Interview Questions |

Microsoft Principal Software Test Lead Interview Questions

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Principal Software Test Lead Interview

Anonymous Employee in Reading, England (UK)
Accepted Offer
Positive Experience
Average Interview


I applied through a staffing agency. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Microsoft (Reading, England (UK)) in January 2016.



1. I responded to an ad. posted by rec. agents on one of the job boards before the new year.
2. Got a callback from said rec. agents - 1st week in the New year.
3. Was informed of a scheduled 1hr. phone-interview a week later.
4. Phone interview was successful and consisted largely of 'ownership' aka telling the story of every role on my cv to the client, being prompted accordingly by scenarios whereever the client wanted to get a better handle of my experiences.
5. A 2.5hour Facetoface interview with 3 colleagues in Reading a week later.
  - 1st colleague: direct report on client project I would be attached to (real life scenarios on project)
  - 2nd colleague: Software testing division lead (logical thinking)
  - 3rd colleague: PM on project I would be attached to (team fit)

Questions from phone interview:
  1. Tell me about your proudest role to date.
  2. Tell me about challenges experienced on any projects and how you navigated the situation(s).
  3. Typically what size teams have you managed
  4. What would you say was the split of your responsibilities on previous roles?
  5. Have you dealt with challenging clients and how did you deal with it?
  6. We tried to implement an automated test solution on one of our recent projects, but found out too late it wouldn't work. what would you do to implement an automated test process? [Hint: I didn't even need to answer this question, I simply stated that before I could proceed with answering him - if he could please explain what they previously tried which didn't work well? 'He' did all the talking afterwards and indirectly answered his question. Checkout Harvard review '5 whys?' on youtube]
  6. Here's a scenario on a project, you find a major defect with an app. at the tail end of a project you're on and alert the PM, but the PM being concerned about quality entry /exit criteria e.g. No sev. 1s, 5 sev. 2s etc, set on the project which might affect go-Live/delivery timelines on the project; requests that the new bug not be included on the burndown chart /list of found work for the proj. in order that go-Live isn't impacted. What dyou do? (Hint: emphasise on achieving both i.e. reporting every issue for the highest quality /investigation & delivering the project on time.)
etc and the likes.

I've found that talking about the relevant details of:

 - little details of my previous projects e.g. pattern of major issues resulting from 'friday' deploymnt at a newspaper client
 - everything I learnt from pushing my daughter's buggy on the way to her creche e.g. the stroll will take as fast/slow as I choose to walk,
 - the book I'm reading e.g. Mythical man month: That a woman delivers a baby in 9mnths, does not mean 3women will deliver the same baby in 3months
 - my choir event last night e.g. an uninvolved/little experienced tenor singing, soprano, might cause a conflict of interest.
 - the bitter relationship lessons I'm learning, e.g. must grow and share with the special one & home team
 - the holiday I had with my wife last month e.g. Date with destiny event attended in Florida.
 - racing with my fitbit buddies etc e.g. realising, though I love running and think it's easy for me, it really isn't easy - but that I've only learnt how to accept the rituals I perfome (stretch, lay awake for an hour before getting out of bed, stretch, conquer the fear, pick a destination & determine to get back: take no phone/money or bus pass etc) AND that if I was finding any aspects of my life difficult, I was probably underestimating the amount of rituals /work I needed to develop and get accustomed to.


This sort of stuff, make it a relationship, say to yourself: "this person likes me; now what have they just said and how can I respond intelligently OR what can I say to entertain them about this subject?"

Interview Questions

  • (1st colleague):
    fine comb through my cv;
     - tell me what your recent projects have been about?
     - tell me how you achieved 50% reduction of bugs on this project?
     - could you tell me how the webservice for this solution you were testing was implemented?
     - could you tell me how you achieved 20% reduction in downtime on this project?
     - How would you go about ensuring quality/ standards on a project if you've inherited committed dates /timeless from a predecessor?
     - how would you go about testing a similar instance of this service if there was no access to LIVE data?
     - How would you setup your test rig if there were multiple security/access restrictions?   Answer Question
  • (2nd colleague):
    [scenario based session on the whiteboard, to see how you think when on the spot/pressured]

    1. First question:
    on one of my first projects here at MS, I'm told I've got 2hrs before I have to present a genius test solution for our client's million pound project, given the following details:

     - migration project where an identity management software was used to populate SAP (using Active directory)
     - 2 env. setups (test & PROD)
     - Like-live test data is available
     - personnel resources: Architect, one third party test resource unfamiliar with the technology, client has 8man developer team offsite, you're on the team, systems support, network sme

    2. Second question:
    you're given a WPF appl., having a single text box on it which receives 2digit numbers and processes them into a db on clicking a button. How would you test it (giving sample test data)?   1 Answer
  • (3rd colleague):
    Agnostic to my cv, wanted to know about me and my journey:

    1. Tell me about yourself?
    2. Tell me your most challenging project?
    3. Tell me about your largest team?
    4. Tell me about your last project?
    5. Have you worked on a project using XYZ component/feature/technology/DB/ERP tool etc we're using on this project?
    6. What's your current availability?
    7. When did /does your current contract come to an end?
    8. Why did your current contract come to an end?
    9. When can you start?   Answer Question
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