Tuesday, May 20, 2008 9:27 AM
Moving to Microsoft/Seattle: Part 1 - Getting the job
Towards the end of April, I accepted a position a Microsoft working as an SDET in DevDiv on a currently undefined (to me) product. It's currently just about 2 weeks away from my June 2nd start date, so I thought I'd start blogging about the experience.
I've been wanting to work for MS since TechEd 2001 (long story) but only actively pursuing it since Fall of 2006. Prior to this most recent round of interviews, I had been to Microsoft for three sets of in-person interviews and one phone screen that did not go anywhere. (Various reasons, but for the most part, it just wasn't the right fit)
This time, however, the everything fell into place. The job I applied for was a Program Manager position on a currently unspecified extensibility product. I'm a developer at heart, but I've done Dev Lead work in the past, and extensibility is an issue that is near and dear to me, so I applied for the position and followed up with the original blogger to make sure my resume didn't get lost in the shuffle.
Not only didn't it get lost in the shuffle, but I had a phone screen about two days later, and a plane trip at the end of the following week.
Here's where things get interesting... As I said, I've been to MS 3 times prior for in-person interviews. It's a grueling process and generally, the better you do, the longer it takes. (At least you get lunch) It's a two way interview, a chance not only for MS to evaluate your skills and passions, but a chance for you to evaluate MS and the team. Personally, I've tried to ask questions about the process used, and the relationships between the disciplines. I've learned a lot this way. And since this was a PM interview, I got to see the MS process from a different perspective than earlier dev only interviews.
Interviews started at 8:30 and went on through and past lunch. I thought I held my own, but I was done by about 2:00 :( Still, that was several hours long. However, when I got back to the hotel, I got a call from the recruiter that said they thought I would be a better fit for a developer or tester position and would I be interested in interviewing for one of those. (Hmmm. Yes!) They couldn't get together enough people to do interviews on a Friday afternoon, but I spoke with the hiring manager, and agreed to stay through the weekend.
Monday morning came, and I started the process again. Started later in the morning, but same grueling process. This time I spoke to several more people, and had to solve a wicked, wicked whiteboard problem late in the day. (A non coding problem but definitely a problem solving exercise, and no, I won't tell you what it was)
All in all, I felt pretty good about things as I got on my red-eye to come home and go back to work the next morning. A full day of work after 8 hours in a plane is not easy, but it was all worth it when they called with a job offer! Definitely a worthwhile trip...
Coming up... Getting to Seattle...
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