Microsoft and Hiring

November 15, 2006 at 3:14 am | Posted in Microsoft | 6 Comments

Today I attended an excellent talk by Adam Barr on how to choose appropriate technical interview questions for Microsoft recruits. It was very insightful and I learned a number of new things. One of the major things though is that interview questions shouldn’t be selected to test a person’s actual knowledge. It is more about their actual capacity and their motivation to answer the question. If they are properly motivated, they will try and keep trying until they get it. If they do not have the capacity to answer the question (assuming you picked an appropriate question) then of course, they just may not be capable to work at Microsoft. It certainly is not an easy task to pick the appropriate question though. We have to assume that everyone has seen most (if not all) of the questions before – and the point is, we need to follow-up and expand on the question using constraints (such as expanding the data set by a huge amount, or placing a restriction on memory usage, etc.)

I also wanted to point my readers to the latest post on the JobsBlog. It is an interview with one of the new H-1B recruits, whose name is Mian Fahim and Priya (one of my recruiters). One of my friends might also appear on an interview on the JobsBlog, so wait for that…

Finally, I saw this post titled Nine Things Developers Want More Than Money. It is an excellent article that talks about what motivates Software Engineers (more than money). I believe Microsoft has 8 or 9 of the things listed there, which is why I am very happy here. I think all software companies should strive for those 9 things. My dream is for one day to see software companies in Egypt that actually care about those 9 items. I am sure though there are probably some out there that care about some of these, so that’s a good start.



  1. Dear ali, I’ve been subscribed to your blog for microsoft updates. Really I’m finding your blog as source of MS preparation and thanking you a lot for this updation on career and tips. I’d like to know more about preparing for MS as a developer. I’m interested in pursuing career with MS, so pls blog about MS interview preparation tips and topics in your next post if possible.
    Thanks for your good work,

  2. Hi Mahes,

    I am glad you are enjoying the blog.

    I’ve already posted my opinion on how to prepare at this entry:

    I really don’t have much extra to say on the topic at this point. If you have any specific questions though feel free to ask.

  3. Dear Ali,

    It is so nice of you to share your experiences starting from your first interview to your life at Seattle. It is also interesting for me because, what you have written here will probably be faced by me when I start moving to Redmond. By the way I am from Turkey and I am selected as a SDET to work for Microsoft.

    Well I wonder, why it took that long for you to arrive in Redmond. If I understood it correct, in December your application was accepted, in April you got the visa and in October you started the job. 4-5 months for visa and after that 6-7 months. Is this always like this?

    Thanks in advance..

  4. The reason it took this long is due to the way H-1B Visa works (this is the visa I came in under).

    The US has a limit on how many H-1B Visas they give each year. Right now it is only 65,000 H-1B visas (I think less than this as well, because I think a bunch of them go to a few countries that have signed a free trade agreement with the US). So anyway, the demand for these visas is very high and the supply is very low.

    The visas for FY 2006 (Oct 2005 – Oct 2006) had already finished in June 2005. I got accepted in December…so I had to wait for FY 2007 (Oct 2006 – Oct 2007). Now the way H-1B works is that the door for applications starts 6 months before the time. So the earliest Microsoft could apply for me was April 1st 2006. The reason they applied so early, was to be able to get my file in, before the visas expire again (there are only 65,000)…It is a good thing they did, because this year the 65,000 visas finished in May.

    Once you are get the visa, the date on it starts Oct 1st. So FY 2007. by law, the earliest you can start working is Oct 1st 2007. You can enter up to 10 days before the visa date.

    So pretty much, for the moment it is always like this if you are on a H-1B.

    Congratulations on getting accepted. Good luck with your move to Redmond. What team will you be joining?

  5. Thanks for explainig the process Ali. Since we are almost in December, your past suggests me that I have almost a year to start in Microsoft.

    If everything goes fine, I will join the ‘UI Framework and Services team’, well.. after one big year. 🙂

  6. I would say that they would apply for your visa in April 1st, and you would start in October…your best bet though would be to check with your recruiter. Best of luck..

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: