In the computer industry there is no other company quite like Microsoft. The software giant has quite a reputation and in the end they do all those great things by employing a huge number of programmers. Their internship program is huge, and very competitive. Total 20,000 people get to the first interview, 20% (4,000) get to the second interview, and 20% of those get hired. About 800 positions.

The experience of interviewing for a job at microsoft is an exciting one. The details here come from my experience interviewing for an internship over the summer. Many things seemed the same for regular positions.

First of all to increase your chances of getting an interview try to hand your resume to a real microsoft employee. Job fairs are great for this. To find the microsoft booth look for a hot blond chick, she may not be wearing shoes. She's eye candy but you should talk geek. ( My friend that gets all the girls tried to hit on her and it was like seeing kryptonite shoved down superman's throat. )

Microsoft will indicate their interest in the next 4 to 6 weeks, likely notifiying you by email. An initial interview will be set up. This may simply be a phone interview, in my case they happened to be visiting the college I attend. During this initial interview try to talk as much as possible, thinking out loud is good. The interviewer will present 2 or 3 technical questions. Linked lists are the obvious favorite. The majority of the usually hour long interview is spent having you write code.

As with any job interview be prepared and attentive. (See the best interview advice I recieved & reversing a linked list) The interviewer will ask leading questions. Sometimes these questions are obviously designed to lead you down the wrong path!

If you succeed you will be contacted again by email. Another interview will be set up. This time at the Microsoft campus in Seattle, Washington. You will recieve a survival packet in the mail.

Tiny booklet, lots of marketing aimed at programmers
List of 60 or so restaurants near microsoft campus
Driving Directions, airport to hotel.
Expense Report Forms
2 Return Envolopes
Rental Car regulations
Hotel regulations
A 60 page booklet about Seattle, tourist info
Booklet on Benefits
Interview Tips sheet
The packet has printed on the front "it begins here." The tiny booklet contains the story of what it is like to interview at microsoft and lots of interesting phrases designed to appeal to you:
"Remember that kid who was going to change the world? Tell her the job's still open"
"Job Description: Create the next best greatest thing ever in the history of humankind"
The trip to microsoft is organized as one day traveling there, one day for interviews, one day to party on the town, and one day to travel back. All four days are all expenses are paid. Hotel, rental car, food at nice restuarants in the area, enjoy it.

The interview day will consist of between 3 and 7 job interviews. Starting in the morning a recruitor will start the interview process, only non technical interview. Each interview is one on one. You may have multiple interviews from a product group (one at a time) or just one person from that group. Each interview is an hour long. Basically writing code on white boards. Again linked lists, object oriented design problems, and probably an extremely technical problem or two. Every person I talked to knew how to code extremely well. Lots of talk of efficiency and big O notation.

And yes you will be totally immersed in their corporate culture. Lunch is in one of the cafeterias on campus. Extremely nice, steal some microsoft napkins for your geek friends. Bill Gates is definitely worshipped. If you want an interesting story, ask someone about when they met Bill. Almost everyone has a long story or two about him.
The other day in Seattle is down time. Its recommended that you see the town. Go up the Space Needle, check out the Experience Music Project (musical museum), microsoft will cover the expense of most things that cost money. They want you to enjoy the town. And if possible get to know other job candidates, great networking opportunity or at least someone else to drive around town with.

You'll know within 10 days if you got the job. They are very considerate, and will arrange a phone call between you and the recruitor. Good luck.

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