Posts Tagged Microsoft Interview Tips

Microsoft Technical Interview tips !

Over the past weeks or so I have been asked this question a lot of times “How to approach a Microsoft Interview?”   Based on my experience I would suggest the following to anybody who is going to appear for an interview for a technical position with Microsoft in coming future.

  • Know your Data Structures & Algorithms! If you read my interview experience you would see almost every question revolved around some data structure or the other. I suggest you review all popular data structures and algorithms and see how you can solve different problems using these data structures. On top of that it goes without saying that algorithms such as post order, pre order and in order traversal of a tree, traversing a linked list, reversing a linked list, reversing a string , hash tables, binary search trees, sorting algorithms, recursion vs. iterative should be on your finger tips! You should also be able to derive the space and time complexities of your code and how could you further optimize it.
  • Practice coding on a white board: Most of us have a mindset that we can only code using our editor and compiler to be sure that we have done it correctly. However life is not that straight forward! During your interviews you would have to write a piece of code on the white board where you won’t be having the services of our old friend “compiler”. I realized it during my interview that writing code on a white board is something that needs practice. So I suggest while you prepare for your interview get a white board and practice all your codes on it. Have a friend go through them with you once you have written them down.
  • Ask questions (logical): Most of the questions that are presented in the interview are very vague and it has a purpose. The interviewer is looking at how you dissect the problem before coming up with the solution; do you have that thinking ability to properly understand the problem before coming up with a solution for example “Delete a specific node from a linked list” if you jump straight down on writing a code for deleting a node without even being sure what kind of a linked list we have you are getting yourself in trouble! You can ask your interviewer questions like “is it a singly linked list? Doubly or circular linked list?” “What kind of data does It store” etc. This gives the interviewer an impression that you have the thinking skills to properly nail down a problem so that you are sure that you understood it fully. Probe for more details !
  • Don’t panic: Even though you might have practiced a lot of common interview questions but the actual interview questions might still be different. Just ensure that you have covered all the bases by revising all core concepts and make use of them to come up with a solution. The interviewers are not looking at exact answers to a problem rather how you approach a problem when pushed in a difficult situation. There is no harm in asking the interviewer to elaborate on the question if you couldn’t understand it the first time. Be confident!

  • Think aloud: As I just mentioned above that Interviewers are not looking for an exact solution to a problem and most of the times are looking how you approach a problem. The major thing here is that even if you are bogged down by the problem on hand; talk out aloud your thought process so the interviewer knows exactly on what lines your mind is thinking. I have seen many real examples of people who failed to solve a problem yet got offers because they were clear in communication with the interviewer.  I was confident enough in all the programming questions that were thrown at me so most of the time I dived straight into coding them on the white board which lead to an interviewer giving me feedback that “most of the interviewers don’t want you to jump straight into the code rather than thinking and doing some homework on the problem talking aloud”. So in a nut shell don’t dive straight into code and talk through your algorithm with your interviewer before writing the code.

I guess that’s very much about everything that you might need when you interview with Microsoft but if you if feel I left out something please leave a comment and I will be more than glad to answer or help. Hoping to see you soon at Microsoft Campus! Best of luck!

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