Microsoft Interview - mostly behavioral

Marvell elkdead
Jul 6 26 Comments

So I interviewed at Microsoft bellevue campus a few days back. What surprised me was that the interviews were heavily (90%) towards behavioral. The decision is not out yet but I was wondering it that is a norm at microsoft? I have 13yoe with a few direct reports but I’m not a manager in my current role. One of the interviewer told me i’m being interviewed for principal sde. I was also asked whether i’d like to be IC or take manager route to which I said i’m looking to pivot to managerial role in coming years.

What confuses me is the heavy behavioral part. Is it possible they already had finalized another candidate so didn’t go too deep into technical stuff??

EDIT: i was a manager in my previous company....in case it had anything to do with that

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TOP 26 Comments
  • Bloomberg / IT MagikMike
    What resources would be helpful to prepare for this kind of interview?
    Jul 6 4
    • Marvell elkdead
      OP
      Amazon LP principles. And a lot of online resources. But have examples ready for every LP
      Jul 6
    • Bloomberg / IT MagikMike
      Thanks!
      Jul 6
    • Activision Blizzard 86753on
      Microsoft doesn’t have the same leadership principles as Amazon
      Jul 6
    • Marvell elkdead
      OP
      I think amazon LP cast a very wide net and if you have enough examples you’re set for most of the companies
      Jul 6
  • Microsoft undefined
    Did any of the interviews involve talking about the role? Unlike some companies, Microsoft still mostly interviews for specific positions, especially at that level. In some cases a Principal Engineer role is what we call an Architect, which is often a broad scope leadership (but not people management) role with less emphasis on writing code (though typically these are the best coders on the team, which makes it somewhat of a shame we encourage them into non or less-coding focused roles).

    They also are probably taking your experience into account, it’s hard to gauge much in a few one hour interviews about coding ability in any situation, and extra hard to get much value out of that from someone with 13 years of experience. That said, we do typically have at least a couple coding interviews even for managers.

    My guess is it’s a factor of the team you interviewed with and either the specific role or the interviewers they had available.
    Jul 6 3
    • Marvell elkdead
      OP
      Yes one intverviewer told me its for principal position.
      Jul 6
    • Microsoft undefined
      That’s just the level. Did they talk about it as a Tech Lead or Architect sort of position? Anything unique or special about what they were looking for? Any particular experience they were hiring for? Or was it just a generic Principal SWE position with no other details?
      Jul 6
    • Marvell elkdead
      OP
      They sounded like it was sort of architect position and a lot of questions were around cross team collaboration. I say ‘sounded like’ because there were questions on the broad level design of a product, its impact, approach towards desiginig a product, legacy software reuse and deviations, adopting technologies to name a few
      Jul 6
  • New / IT kbnW66
    I interviewed for Microsoft senior software engineer having 7 yoe and they had one quick behaviour interview lasting 20min.
    Jul 6 0
  • Apple purifier
    That’s very strange for principal dev IC. You sure the position wasn’t for manager?
    Jul 6 3
    • Marvell elkdead
      OP
      Receuiter reached out for swe role. Phone intvw heavy technical including LC medium. One onsite round 80% technical but mostly on subject matter
      Jul 6
    • Apple purifier
      For principal IC role you should have a couple on problem solving and a couple on system design. At least this is when I was there.
      Jul 6
    • Marvell elkdead
      OP
      I also expected more system design rounds but that wasn’t the case. The questions were open ended
      Jul 6
  • Zillow Group ^H
    What role you interview ?
    Jul 6 3
    • Marvell elkdead
      OP
      I thought it was for swe, but i think it was for principal because one interviewer told me so
      Jul 6
    • Activision Blizzard 86753on
      Principal is a level not a role
      Jul 6
    • Microsoft undefined
      Right, it sounds like you interviewed for Principal SWE. But usually they’d give you more specifics about the role...
      Jul 6
  • New / Mgmt
    Microsoft.

    New Mgmt

    PRE
    IBM
    Microsoft.more
    What type of behavioral questions were they?
    Managerial or ...?
    Jul 6 3
    • Marvell elkdead
      OP
      Yes most of them were managerial....some towards product architecture but mostly related to avoiding and dealing with technical issues
      Jul 6
    • New / Mgmt
      Microsoft.

      New Mgmt

      PRE
      IBM
      Microsoft.more
      If you were to go back what resources would you use to prepare for these behavioral type questions?
      Jul 6
    • Marvell elkdead
      OP
      Have lots of examples ready, one or may be even 2 for ech situation. Amazon LP is a good start
      Jul 6
  • Microsoft / Eng
    mxmj15

    Microsoft Eng

    PRE
    AT&T
    mxmj15more
    Their justification is they are interviewing you for a good fit for the company not just the position.

    You will get lots of behavioral questions especially if the position has lots of qualified applicants.
    Jul 6 1
    • Marvell elkdead
      OP
      Ok thanks. Its just that i wasnt expecting every interview to be heavily behavioral
      Jul 6
  • Deloitte IjKI62
    I think it's great that MSFT is asking behavioral questions as part of their interviews. Not all deeply technical architects have the emotional quotient to handle working with people of all walks of life in addition to dealing with situations such as being told that they might be wrong.
    Jul 6 0
  • Microsoft Tattle
    Which group is this? This kind of thing is typical in CSE Org.
    Jul 6 0