Most applicants don’t get an interview at Microsoft because they seemed like a bad fit for that particular role, or their resumes weren’t crafted carefully. You can affect and change those things.
Is it difficult to get an interview with Microsoft? Getting an interview at Microsoft is tough, but it’s not like you can’t do anything about it. You can increase your chances in many ways, such as getting a referral, fixing your resume, and connecting with a recruiter.
Does Microsoft use recruiters and where to find them? Just like any other tech giant, Microsoft uses both human recruiters and predictive automated intelligence to source leads and find potential candidates. Mining constantly to find the right candidates is one of the key components of Microsoft’s sourcing strategy, according to Chuck Edward, head of talent acquisition at Microsoft.
5 Tips to Get Noticed for a Microsoft Interview
1. Fix your resume
First things first, you need to get your foot in the door, and a generic resume isn’t going to do it. To get your resume noticed by Microsoft it needs to line up with the job description as best as possible, and it needs to have some of the main keywords in it.
If it’s a software role, then the first few words at the top of your resume need to be software-oriented. As a former Tech Lead from Google puts it, it needs to be about building, developing, implementing, or building software:
- “Developed a REST API in X using Python and Java…”
- “Built a full-stack web app and launched to 1000 users…”
- “Taught myself GoLang and implemented a framework for a webserver…”
Adding these will surely get you noticed by a recruiter. Additionally, you should make sure your resume flows nicely and can be easily and quickly scanned. Also, don’t use technical jargon that’s not widely known, check your resume for grammar mistakes, and fully spell the names of companies and schools.
Here are a few other things to keep in mind:
- Make it 1 page, unless you have 15+ years of experience
- Demonstrate results with numbers and metrics (be specific)
- Don’t put your full address. City and state are enough
- Use a professional-looking email
After you fix it up a bit, take 10 seconds to read through it quickly. Scan it, if you will. What can you take from it? Does it flow nicely? See what else can you improve, and do it.
2. Fix your LinkedIn profile and make sure it reads like a resume
Depending on what kind of a version of LinkedIn you have (free vs paid) you can do a lot for each one to improve your LinkedIn profile and increase your chances of getting contacted by a recruiter or getting an interview after you’ve applied.
The first thing is to make sure your photo looks professional, as well as your cover photo.
Next, you should try to join groups that you are interested in, which relate to your dream job. Engage in these groups, get yourself noticed, connect with people and stay in contact.
Make sure your headline is clear and stands out. Look at what others have written, especially those in roles you’re looking for. You can also write that you’re looking for new challenges in the field of where your future job is.
Use relevant keywords and add your skills. They need to stand out, and you should use similar rules as with the resume mentioned above. As you’ve written the skills, have some coworkers verify those.
3. Network and get a referral
Reach out to anyone that is connected to Microsoft, who you can connect with. Twitter, LinkedIn, or personal – connect with anyone that seems interesting to you, any Microsoft group that looks like you might want to be a part of it.
You need to network and get a referral if possible. Express your interest in Microsoft wherever it seems appropriate, and make yourself known as someone who is a good fit and that you’re looking to work there.
4. Get in contact with someone on the inside at Microsoft
You can search on LinkedIn for people in the same level or department as the hiring manager. You might want to introduce yourself, express your interest in the opening role, and ask if they would want to share the right contact about this job opening.
To get someone else at Microsoft interested in you, besides your background, you should demonstrate your interest and passion for Microsoft technologies, products, and projects. Join a Microsoft project (or several) and engage yourself. Connect through those projects with similar-minded who just might get you in contact with a recruiter looking for new hires.
5. Get in contact with groups and meetup leaders
These people can have a lot of contacts as they might regularly be getting contacted by recruiters. Any kind of mods that run a professional group may be able to help you out. Meetup leaders are one of them. They might know someone who knows someone.
While many recruiters from all over the tech space may come to you once you fix your LinkedIn profile and present yourself better, Microsoft recruiters may not. This is why at some point you need to apply at Microsoft and start knocking on doors instead of just waiting for them to come to you.
How Many Applicants Does Microsoft Get?
Microsoft receives millions of applicants each year worldwide, which means that the majority of those end up as a “bad fit” at the end of the Microsoft hiring process. Microsoft Career site gets more than two million applications every year, but Microsoft has about 222,000 employees.
This means that only a very small portion of applicants get to the first interview, and an even smaller portion actually gets an offer. If you want to apply at Microsoft, take a look at some advice when applying.
What Is the Acceptance Rate at Microsoft?
Overall, the acceptance rate at Microsoft at the start is very low, usually less than 1-2%, and here we mean that out of every 100 applicants, only 1 or 2 get the job. When talking about the odds of getting an offer once you got your first interview, then the acceptance rate drastically rises, sometimes up to 10%.
But the thing is, it doesn’t matter what the odds are. If you aren’t fit for the role, you’re not getting in. Microsoft recruiters are very clear about this. If the hiring manager determines you as a ‘bad fit’, you’re not getting hired. This is because it’s incredibly costly to hire the wrong person for the job.
On the other hand, if you think you are a potentially good fit, then just applying many times can increase your chances significantly. This means that if you have a 10% chance of passing the interview, and you do this 10 times, then you end up having a 65% chance of getting an offer at least once.
How to Find the Names of Microsoft Recruiters?
There are several ways you can try to find the names of Microsoft recruiters:
- do a LinkedIn check. This is an obvious one – just log in to LinkedIn, and start searching. Usually, most hiring managers will have their profile on LinkedIn, but some may not. You can also connect with someone who may know someone, and work your way from there.
- Get in contact with HR at another company. If you can get in contact with another company’s HR, they might be willing to share some info. This is probably the most effective resource for getting in touch with a potential recruiter.
- Go to job fairs and get their information. Get to know people from events and job fairs. Then find them on LinkedIn and choose who to add. As you add them, you’ll get additional suggestions from people you might know. Now you can add even more recruiters. Don’t add everyone, but try to add only tech recruiters, and internal recruiters if you can.
- Make them contact you. Set “Let recruiters know you’re open” on your LinkedIn profile, and make sure to list all the most sought-after technologies by Microsoft these days, such as Microsoft Azure, SQL, Python, C#, Linux, and Java.
- Put your CV on a job board, such as Indeed, Google, LinkedIn, or ZipRecruiter. While this may attract all kinds of recruiters, it’s also the most undesirable way of attracting attention, depending on the network. Betterteam has a great guide on job boards.
Do You Need a Cover Letter When Applying to Microsoft?
The popular opinion is that cover letters are a waste of time in tech, primarily for software development and computer science. The reasoning is that they don’t get read that often (if at all) and aren’t as important.
While most hiring managers in tech look for technical skills and experience, you can still put a human touch on an otherwise cold interaction, and write a cover letter. If it gets read by the manager, it may show your interest in the role and just might help you get noticed.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to include a cover letter:
- the system requests a cover letter
- you know a recruiter who will personally give your application to the hiring manager
- you can include supplemental information that is relevant
- your education/experience is somewhat different than the role you’re applying
Cover letters can’t do anything wrong, and if you supplement some new information that may give you a plus, you should go for it. While networking and referrals are much more useful than cover letters, we all want to increase our chances, if only by just a few percent.
With that in mind, it can’t hurt to go that extra mile and write a cover letter for Microsoft as well, if for nothing else, then so you can tell yourself you’ve done everything you could to get noticed and get that interview.