Interview tips from Microsoft

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Bogdana Botez is a Software Engineer for Microsoft Dynamics in Denmark. In this article he shares some interview tips.

”In my five years at Microsoft, I have taken part in several teams: NAV Service Tier, NAV SharePoint Client, and I’m currently in the Application Localization team. Today, alongside localizing NAV for various countries, I am also driving an initiative to name and expose reusable design patterns in the NAV application code.

I have been really happy working with Microsoft Dynamics. Here are some top tips for landing and succeeding in your dream software engineering job:

1) Differentiate yourself: Of course you will research the company, products, technologies and systems. But for me, here’s what’s most important: Portray to the interviewer who you are, why you love programming and technology, and what you can bring to the table that someone else can’t.

2) Validate your CV: At the resume selection stage, we are always looking for substance. Technical skills are important but they are not everything. We want to see evidence that you are passionate about programming and technology. That you have the ability to lead, organize and project-manage initiatives. This is what will set you apart, so include any extra projects you have been involved in.

3) Express your leadership potential: In the interview, we are looking for people with leadership skills, people who show the ability and will to learn, and are not afraid of tackling a problem head-on.

4) Think out loud. I always like to give candidates a technical problem or algorithm to solve in the interview. I ask them to talk me through their process of solving it. This allows me to see how they understand the problem, if their analysis is correct, and what their approach is to solving it. This is what the interview really comes down to: how their mind works and how they will fit at Microsoft.

5) Keep learning. When I received the news that I had gotten the job at Microsoft I was surprised. At the time I had little knowledge of the programming language of Dynamics NAV, and I thought this would hinder my chances of landing the job.

6) Since joining Microsoft I have learned that having technical ability and programming knowledge is important. But at Microsoft, I truly believe that knowledge is something you can easily acquire if you have the potential, so it is important not to be put off from applying because you haven’t worked on the relevant technologies. Microsoft employees are always moving around within the organization, which means they are expected to learn new programming languages and technologies all the time.

7) Be flexible and authentic. Microsoft looks for people who portray the ability to learn things quickly. The worst thing someone could do in an interview at Microsoft would be to try and mould themselves to what they think we are looking for. Just be yourself.

And when you get your dream job:

8) Don’t be scared to ask for help: It is important that you ask for assistance and rely on others to help in the beginning stages of your career. Learn as much as you can, and you will find yourself quickly sufficient.”

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