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Interviewing for Microsoft

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I was not sure wither I was going to post this, but I am pretty crazy anyway, so…what the hell.

Last week I interviewed for a job at Microsoft…You might be thinking, “You just got a new job?”, and you would be right. But how often do you get to interview for your dream job…not often I think 🙂

Well, I had four interviews with Microsoft. As I was starting a new job anyway, they pushed up the timetable slightly. I found out about about the job on a Thursday and went through the usual recruitment things. The job was for an ADC (Application Developer Consultant) in the Glasgow Edinburgh area, but I would have to cover other areas if required. The job spec was specific and pretty cool:

Microsoft Application Development Consultants (ADCs) strive to be the best in software development. Working with cutting edge technologies we play a pivotal role in the delivery of industry leading solutions within the UK’s most prestigious enterprise organisations and software houses.

This is high value technology consultancy. We generate great customer satisfaction from our long term engagement model. This gives our customers the confidence to allow us to become their trusted advisors helping to architect, design and implement their solutions.

ADCs have deep technical knowledge centred on the .NET, Windows and SQL Server platforms. They use this knowledge to improve their customers’ solutions at the highest and lowest levels of the technology stack.

We fundamentally believe that a solid foundation on our platform can form the basis for developing a deep understanding of any of our technologies given the unique Microsoft environment that we work in where we have access to high quality internal training, product groups, beta technologies and our most valuable asset, our people.

Are you someone looking to work within a deeply technical customer facing team to improve yourself, your peers and the Microsoft development community? If so this role could be for you.

Key Accountabilities:

  • Work with key UK customers to provide innovative solutions to their development problems, helping to architect, design, implement and test solutions throughout the development cycle.
  • Build an ongoing trust relationship with customers by improving their development process and deliverables.

· Delight customers with your technical breadth and depth knowledge, demonstrating a willingness to engage and solve difficult technical challenges.

· Transfer knowledge to customers through effective communication and engagement style

· Liaise with internal Microsoft communities (such as our development teams in the USA) to represent the interest of customers and drive product improvements

· Remain technically competent in a broad range of Microsoft products and technologies, selecting areas of expertise in which to explore technologies at their deepest levels

· Support your peers though deliverables into internal and customer engagements, contributing to an environment for learning and creativity, contributing to others’ success.

Skills:

· In depth knowledge of the .NET Framework and CLR.

· Good understanding of the Windows development platform and SQL Server.

· Development related knowledge of other Microsoft tools, technologies and servers is advantageous.

· Excellent communication skills; ability to deal effectively at all levels within Microsoft ISV and Enterprise Customers.

This I though was fantastic…So I said so, and that I would be interested in moving forward. They said that they would setup a telephone interview, and call me back.

Well, after a while (still Thursday) I got a call back to see if I could meet one of their Senior Consultants that night as he was going to be in Glasgow anyway. I though bloody hell, what time..“How about in an hour and a half”..Oh shit…

So after a quick shower and shave I drove (I might not have mentioned that I popped my knee this month and can’t drive without being in excruciating pain) out to the hotel next to the airport and had a three hour chat with the Senior ADC from Microsoft. After which I was asked down to Reading…

Exciting stuff. Until I got the schedule…

  • 12:00 – 13:00 Hiring Manager Interview
  • 13:00 – 14:00 Presentation
  • 14:00 – 16:00 Technical Interview

Oh man, what do I have to present on? The brief was of a fictitious ISV:

We have used the .NET framework using C# on many successful previous projects and have been pleased with the whole development experience.

For our next project we believe that we have the requirement for some peer-to-peer type functionality.

As a busy customer we have arranged a 15-20 minute presentation slot for you to give to our key developers to give them an insight into peer-to-peer development on the Microsoft Windows Communication Foundation platform.

We appreciate that the time slot is too short to cover this area fully but we want to get our key developers some idea of the concepts of this technology and its general usage.

An extra 5-10 minutes will be allocated after your presentation for questions from the audience.

I have already blogged about how badly the presentation went, but the technical interview was something else as well. I had about an hour on .NET and the rest on architecture.

The technical bit was going fine until they started asking questions on CLR, which I know the basics of, but the details I did not, so what did they ask? CLR, CLR and more CLR.

Suffice to say that CLR was critical to getting the job, so I didn’t. They did however give me loads of advice on what to do to get it in the future. Here is what I will have to do…

  • Learn all about the CLR, everything…
  • become a better public speaker…
  • have lots more practice at architecture…

So not a total loss. I have learned where my knowledge is deficient and how to rectify it…not a NO, but a NO for now…

 

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