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Microsoft Senior Software Development Engineer Interview Questions

Updated 5 Mar 2019
61 Interview Reviews

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Helpful (5)  

Senior Software Development Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate in Redmond, WA (US)
No Offer
Neutral Experience
Average Interview

Application

The process took 6 weeks. I interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA (US)) in June 2012.

Interview

I was contacted by an external recruiter on my LinkedIn account. The job seemed interesting, with their game studio. Supposedly they're working on some kind of super-secret project over there that not even a signed NDA can loose their lips about.

But they reassured me this wasn't a games job that generalists were welcomed.

Initial phone screen was pleasant, but real tough. We mostly talked about C++, STL containers, 3D game math.

To my surprise, I was invited for a F2F. So I brushed up on my game theory, C++, algorithms, data structures, etc etc.

On the day of the interview: get up to their location, very nice setup. Was basically grilled for 6 hrs, but not on the subjects I expected. It was mostly questions I'd find typically asked for a game programming job. One linked list question, one for sifting through badly written D3D code, and another was a puzzle question.

Basically was given the boot the following Monday. Got the standard corp rejection letter for my trouble. Still, I felt I kicked butt at the interview. I did experience Seattle's LOVELY weather and Friday afternoon getaway rush hour ...NOT!

But it shows me yet again, that game jobs that SAY they are looking for non-gamer blood, and do the exact opposite, why I don't pursue game dev jobs as a rule.

Interview Questions

  • how to determine if 2 linked lists are merged at a common node in O(n) time   1 Answer
  • construct a data structure that, given a dictionary of words, can form all words while traversing a "boggle grid"   2 Answers

Other Interview Reviews for Microsoft

  1. Helpful (2)  

    Senior Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA (US)
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied in-person. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA (US)) in March 2009.

    Interview

    It is a day long process at MS. You typically meet the recruiter, who sends you to take a MS shuttle to the building where the team you are interviewing with resides.

    Microsof groups are spread across many buildings in a large area. They have nice shuttles to take employees/visitors from one building to the next.

    You typically have multiple people meet you during the day. You are taken from one interviewer's office to the next. There will lot of discussions involving your previous job listed on the resume and also related to your interests. Every interviewer will ask a coding question if you are interviewing for development/test.

    Linked lists, queues, binary trees are very common questions.
    One of the questions I was asked was to implement a queue using 2 stacks.

    Interview Questions


  2. Helpful (1)  

    Senior Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Redmond, WA (US)
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA (US)) in December 2009.

    Interview

    They plan 3 interviews. If they go well, another three may be scheduled. Else, the candidate is rejected.

    I got stumped on a coding question to write all possible string combinations that can be generated by pressing a variable number of cell phone keys. My head is still reeling. Th rest of the questions were on experience and were fairly easy. The coding question was the deal breaker.

    Interview Questions

    • Print all all possible string combinations from entering a variable number of cell phone keys.   1 Answer
  3.  

    Senior Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA (US)
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1+ week. I interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA (US)) in July 2010.

    Interview

    I was originally interviewed for a team where afterthe full loop of 6 interviews, the hiring manager ran into a headcount problem. She talked to another team in the same org and they contacted me. The hiring manager gave me general overview and invited me to come over to Redmond. I had another full loop of five interviews - the last one with the General Manager who told me he will make me an offer. When I returned to the hotel, the reruiter called me and told me everything was good.

    Questions were all about problem solving and writing code on the white board. There were also questions on past work experiences, challenges faced, etc.

    Interview Questions

    • The questions are meant to be confidential for obvious reasons. In general, they covered topics like BSTs, Graphs, String manipulation, multi-threading synchronization & collections.   Answer Question

    Negotiation

    I was offered a level lesser than what I expected. I was able to negotiate it with the hiring manager.


  4. Helpful (5)  

    Senior Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA (US)
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA (US)) in August 2010.

    Interview

    I was initially contacted by a third-party recruiter working for Microsoft about a position in the xbox team. Not expecting much I went along with the process and spoke the recruiter and then another one. Finally I was setup with a phone-screen by the hiring manager which was pretty straightforward with a few questions about basic algorithms etc. After which I was asked to fly in to Redmond at Microsoft's expense which seemed like a sin to turn down. Flew upto Seattle from California the day before and was put up in a pretty nice 4-star place in Redmond. Microsoft goes all out in taking care of its candidates, very professional indeed. The whole next day was spent in the Microsoft campus with various 1-on-1 meetings starting with a new Recruiter and then every one else was either an engineer or a Manager. Each interview seemed to focus on a different type of questioning including Algorithms, coding, white-boarding, transactions, process, deployment etc. It was a very well rounded interview process and did not focus on just 1 kind of questioning like other companies. Finished the day feeling pretty confident about my performance and to my surprise got a call from the recruiter the very same night with a verbal offer !

    Interview Questions

    Negotiation

    The main consideration in my case was the move from California to Seattle. After a long but mainly cordial back and forth with the recruiter settled on the number involving relocation. They were inflexible on the base-pay but were open to negotiate on everything else. Microsoft offers a sweet relo package to almost everyone and I was just shuffling numbers within their package. But in the end agreed on a number for the temp-housing and cash payout to cover expenses. We had to also rent out a house in CA as a result so had to account for that too. But in the end given the fact that Washington has no state income tax and the lower cost of living I believe I got a decent bump in my overall compensation compared to what I was making in the Bay Area.


  5. Helpful (5)  

    Senior Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Redmond, WA (US)
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA (US)) in July 2010.

    Interview

    Interview took the whole day. 5 guys interrogating for 1 hour each. Plus hiring manager at the end.

    Interview Questions

    • Given a binary tree of nodes, design naming conventions for each node so if a message comes to the root node, it will get routed to the desired node. Implement routing logic for each node.   Answer Question
    • Given a set of rectangles of fixed heights and widths, write an application that will fit as many of them as possible into a squire of the specified size.   Answer Question

    Reasons for Declining

    Got better one.


  6. Helpful (1)  

    Senior Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Andover, MA (US)
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Microsoft (Andover, MA (US)) in October 2010.

    Interview

    Phone interview with recruiter - high level + coding assignment to be submitted with application (write a linked list class with tests, show how to get 5th from the last item of a singly linked list in one iteration).
    Full day interviews with managers, developers - whiteboard coding - Binary Search Trees, Thread safety, Design Patterns, discussions on web service/general networking protocols, etc.

    Interview Questions

    • Write an iterative method (on the whiteboard) to provide an in-oder traversal of a binary search tree.   Answer Question
    • Write a method (on the whiteboard) to reverse a singly linked list.   Answer Question

    Negotiation

    Salary was fixed - Signing bonus was negotiable


  7.  

    Senior Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA (US)
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA (US)) in June 2009.

    Interview

    The interview was mostly centered around designing a system, algorithms and also some puzzles. The interview was not too difficult for me. One of the puzzles was the "aha" type that I could not solve without hints from the interviewer. I would say the interviews were just like typical Microsoft or any other major tech company interviews

    Interview Questions

    • One of the questions was around designing a system where the data would not fit memory of one system and one had to build a very performant lookup on the data   Answer Question
  8.  

    Senior Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Sunnyvale, CA (US)
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Microsoft (Sunnyvale, CA (US)) in June 2013.

    Interview

    Got email from Microsoft recruiter, followed by phone calls. They setup a phone screen. then took them about 2 months to setup onsite interview. Scheduling was a bit disorganized on the recruiter part.
    Some of the interviewers are very friendly and cool, some of them seem to not like to be doing these interviews.

    Interview Questions


  9.  

    Senior Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Accepted Offer

    Interview

    Long interviews, very good recruiters, but hard to get interviews if you are applying without a reference from a employee

    Negotiation

    No negociation


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