Interviewing at Microsoft: Part I

I mentioned that I’ve been doing some job hunting. At this point, after talking to a few companies, I’m pretty much convinced that the right thing for me right now is to work at Microsoft. I’ve always assumed I’d do a 5 or 10 year stint in Redmond at some point in my career– it was one of the reasons I agreed to move to Seattle when the company I was working for at the time was acquired by a company in Seattle. I think now is the time– especially if I can get a job working on something related to digital media– the Windows Media or Media Center Edition teams are very exciting to me.

I was referred to a recruiter at Microsoft for a couple of specific positions on the Windows Media team by a friend of mine, and I’ve started the long and winding road towards a position at Microsoft. Since Microsoft’s HR department receives over 6,000 resumes PER DAY (yes, really!) I figured there might be at least a couple of readers who might be interested in what the process looks like from a potential candidate’s view. To that end, I’ll share my experiences here as completely as is practical (and within the constrains of any confidentiality agreements I enter into as part of the process.)

Anne, a recruiter at Microsoft, sent me a list of descriptions of positions that might be good fits, and said that she’d drop me a line within the next couple days to talk about next steps. A week went by, and I finally decided to drop her a line and see what was up.
<pre>
Anne,

I haven’t heard from you since last Friday, and I
figured I should follow up. I was wondering if
there was anything I could do to smooth out the
process– I’m the type of person who assumes that
the door is still open until it is explicitly
shut… so I guess unless I hear from you
otherwise, I’ll just show up and start working
on Monday. ;-)

Seriously, though… let me know if there is
anything you need from me in order to help move to
the next step in the process.

Thanks again, and have a great weekend!

— Joseph R. Jones
</pre><p>She responded immediately– within a couple hours– to let me know that she had been out sick for the last week with a nasty sinus infection, and we set up a time for a phone screen the following week.

I was excited about the opportunity, so I spent some time researching what the recruitment process at Microsoft was like. I was happy to find the Microsoft JobsBlog– an excellent resource created by a couple of enterprising recruiters at Microsoft. There’s tons of great information there.

The phone screen was set for 2pm last Thursday– the day before I left for a little mini-vacation with my wife. At the appointed time, I was sitting at my desk, with my tablet PC open to OneNote ready to take notes from the call. I had a PDF copy of my resume open for reference, and my ubiquitous can of Cherry Coke. While I was waiting for the call, I was reading a couple posts on the JobsBlog I mentioned earlier, and re-reading the job descriptions that Anne had sent.

Finally, the phone rang. The Caller ID screen identified the caller as “Microsoft Corp,” and I answered on the second ring.

(To be continued…)

Update: Interviewing with Microsoft: Part 2 has been posted!
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