Microsoft Virtual Interview: Best Practices & Usual Mistakes

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Teams interviews are the new normal, and these days, most Microsoft interviews are virtual. With that in mind, it makes sense to get to know this type of experience and learn what to expect and how to prepare for it.

Microsoft virtual interview is your digital equivalent of the Microsoft in-person interview. You’ll get all the same questions you’d expect at the in-person interview, with a similar length of rounds. The only difference is that you’ll be doing it virtually on a computer, or over a phone.

The interview can be either video or just a voice call, and you’ll typically have several calls. Most probably you’ll be using the Teams app, which is just like Zoom and easy to use. Now let’s take a look at Microsoft virtual interview in more detail.

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Microsoft Virtual Interview Questions and Process

Since this will be an onsite virtual interview, meaning it’s just like the in-person interview, you’ll probably get the same questions you might get while in person. Questions you’ll definitely get are behavioral ones, while the rest will deal with the field and job you’re applying for.

For a typical technical role, such as SWE, you’ll have 3 to 4 rounds that may include:

  • a behavioral questions round
  • 2-3 rounds of coding (list trees, strings, dynamic programming, backtracking, sorting and searching, etc)

Microsoft has a nice article on how to prepare for behavioral questions. There are all kinds of questions you can get, but you can prepare if you just go one by one and pick an experience or project to tell a story from your past.

For the coding rounds, you should practice these Microsoft problems that LeetCode provides. These problems resemble the same ones you’ll get during the coding interview.

You might get a few system design questions if it relates to the job position. For system design questions, go through this repo to prepare. These are some of the best resources you can find, so bookmark them and save them.

How to Prepare for Microsoft Virtual Interview?

First and foremost, get to know the software and learn how to use it before the interview. You’ll probably be doing the interview in Microsoft Teams app, but you might use different software and your interviewer will let you know which one you’ll be using. 

Here are the links for Microsoft Teams: 

Set up your Teams app by installing the app first. Then call someone to test the app, and make sure your video and microphone are working. If using the browser version, allow for the Microsoft Teams web page to use your cam and mic. In the case of a different app, you should get instructions from your interviewer on how to set up the app. 

Microsoft suggests using the standalone app to get all the features, as opposed to the browser app. You can join the Microsoft Virtual meeting by entering the ID number that you’ll get from the interviewer.

If it’s a video call, we recommend a desktop, otherwise, a phone will do. As far as headphones and earbuds go, we recommend AirPods as they’ve been tested to work well in Teams and don’t produce echo or audio distortion. If not AirPods, regular Sony earbuds will do.

After you’ve set up your Teams app, make sure the lighting in the room is adequate so that your interviewer will be able to see you. 

Make sure your background (the area behind you) is neat and not too distracting (a white wall is fine). Pick a neutral spot, and make sure there is no window behind you.

Once the environment is prepared for the virtual interview, you’ll be set to go. Don’t change anything on your computer, don’t update your system, don’t plug or unplug anything or install any new software. This could interfere with your Teams app and video/microphone settings. 

Next, practice as much as you need. You need to get comfortable talking to a camera or a computer screen. Here are a few tips to prepare for the Microsoft virtual interview:

  • Have your friend sit behind the camera and practice interviewing like this
  • Put a sticky note next to your camera to remind your eyes where to look
  • Pick a nice room for the interview. If you don’t have one, rent a room.
  • Print out any questions you may want to ask the interviewer
  • Have your resume printed out at hand

Additionally, you may want to place the camera slightly above your eye level, so you don’t appear to be looking down upon them, plus no one wants to look into your nose. Prepare some water, and make sure it’s not soda so you don’t burp. If you’re drinking from a mug, make sure it doesn’t have a silly picture on it

Recording a mock interview can also be invaluable. Watching it back lets you notice any unconscious habits or quirks you might want to work on, ensuring you come across as composed and confident.

Make sure your family or friends at your house know there’s an interview going on so they don’t make noise, or download large files and slow down the internet speed

Consider setting aside time each week leading up to the interview to deep-dive into Microsoft’s technical documentation and forums. It’s a treasure trove of insights, and you’ll not only get a grasp of the technical details but also understand the company culture and thinking.

Questions You Should Ask

You’ll have some time to ask questions at the end of your Microsoft virtual interview. General advice is to ask clarifying questions if you have any at the end or during an interview.

One of the better questions to ask now before you move on to the next stages for the onsite interview is something like “what separates someone who is adequate at this position compared to someone who is exceptional at this position”. This forces them to explain what they’re really looking for and you can use that to prepare for the onsite interviews.

You can ask them what they like the most about working for Microsoft or what part of the company is their favorite. This lets you connect to the interviewer as well as figure out what changes need to be made and where your particular department or team will be going.

And finally, no matter how well you think you did, always ask for feedback. You can use this to improve, if not for your next Microsoft interview, then for another company.

Microsoft Virtual Interview Tips, Tricks & Advice

There are a lot of things that you do right and those that you can do wrong during your Microsoft virtual interview. Knowing these things in advance and preparing for them can increase your chances of moving into the next stages of the Microsoft hiring process or even getting an offer.

What not to do?

Here are a few things you shouldn’t do during your Microsoft virtual interview:

  • don’t type on the keyboard (they can hear you)
  • don’t appear in a dirty shirt or with a distracting background behind you
  • don’t wait until the last minute to set up the Teams app
  • don’t forget to practice your answers, especially if you’re not the conversational type.
  • do not read off a script, they can tell and it’s off-putting. You’re giving your honest answers and you shouldn’t need a script, especially if you’re talking about yourself.

Don’t memorize answers word for word. You might think you’re a good actor, but you may not be. It’s obvious when someone has a prepared answer. It’s OK to practice, just don’t memorize, but focus on familiarizing.

Try not to do an interview on your phone, unless it’s a voice call. Get a laptop or a desktop setup.

And keep in mind that however the interview goes, the interviewers don’t spend their day thinking about you and how well you did. You are a slot in their calendar. So once the interview is over, go on with your day. Nothing you can change thinking about this. What’s done is done.

Can you cheat?

Cheating is usually very difficult during virtual interviews for many reasons. 

First, they can hear you typing on a keyboard, whether it’s mechanical, regular, or silent. These interviewers usually have years of experience and are familiar with your hardware and how people act. They have experience, and they can tell.

You can open any document you want on your screen, but they might see if you’re looking at it, or reading anything because your eyes will move and you may mumble or stay silent because of this.

Pro tip: One way to read something without getting noticed is to print something and stick it on the wall behind the camera. This way you can look in the camera’s direction, and read the notes at the same time.

Be aware that interviewers can see the reflection in your glasses. So whatever you have on your screen, keep in mind that your glasses might reflect it.

What you should do, is place notes about your answers. Nothing wrong to remind yourself with a note and they won’t mind, but don’t be reading it like a script.

How to get noticed?

The point of the virtual interview (and any other) is to leave a good impression. You want the interviewer to remember you in the best way possible. This is why it’s important to control as many things as you can during the interview, such as your environment, your setup, and the way you behave.

You are marketing yourself, so don’t cheat because they’ll know, don’t stay silent, because you should be expressing yourself, and don’t try to BS your way through because… well, why should you?

Think of something honest to answer one of their questions about your future plans or career goals. They have heard it all, so answering in a more honest fashion might get you a small plus, and you might seem personable.

Can you take notes?

You can absolutely take notes during your Microsoft digital interview, and it may show that you’re highly interested and engaged in this job. 

But keep in mind that if it distracts you, then it’s best to stop doing it. And if you decide to write down notes, don’t write for the entirety of the interview.

What to wear for the Microsoft virtual interview?

You should dress for your virtual interview just like you’d dress for the in-person interview. Microsoft interviewers suggest wearing anything that’s comfortable for you. We suggest business casual. 

They’re interested in what you know, not how well you’ve dressed, but showing an effort can’t hurt. Even if you’re expecting a voice call and thinking of being in your pajamas, dress appropriately because you never know.

Remember, every detail, even your attire, conveys a message. Dressing in business casual doesn’t just show respect to the interviewer; it also psychologically prepares you, putting you in the right mindset to showcase your best.

How to Tell if Your Microsoft Virtual Interview Went Well?

Here are 5 signs that your virtual interview went well:

  1. An interview felt like a good conversation

This can happen when you connect with the interviewer, and you two keep talking about some of the specifics, the problems to solve, or your previous projects. The interview had a nice flow, and this is a good sign.

  1. They tried to sell you the job, talking about specifics

‘Selling you the job’ means they talked about the specifics of the job, they tried to promote the job, how cool it is, how great the perks are at the company, working hours, great team, interesting projects, etc. When the interviewer seems really interested in you working in their team at Microsoft, it’s a great indicator that they are very interested in you. 

  1. The interviewer seemed engaged and interested

If you noticed how the interviewer seemed like they really liked talking to you by giving you full answers as well as showing good body language it’s a good sign.

  1. You received positive feedback

If an interviewer straight up said you did well, then you can be sure that you did well indeed. If they haven’t given you any feedback you should ask for some. You can ask something like this: “was there anything I said or didn’t say during the interview in regard to my ability to do this job that I can address now?”

  1. The interviewer is thankful and gracious

The interviewer felt the conversation was fruitful, and they might feel you seemed like a good candidate. However, sometimes an interviewer is just a nice and respectful person, so it may not mean anything at all. In the end, you can never tell for certain if they’re going to continue with you, other than straight up receiving an offer. All you can do is try your best, keep going and stay positive.

How Long to Hear Back From Microsoft After the Virtual Interview?

You should hear back from an interviewer within a few days, up to a week. Sometimes, applicants will have several virtual interviews split up over a few weeks, as the length of the Microsoft hiring process can sometimes span over a month, or longer.

How to Tell if Your Microsoft Virtual Interview Is Legit?

There are a lot of scams out there and you should always stay alert when it comes to job offers. Some scammers may pretend to represent Microsoft and you’ll have to be aware that they might be fake.

Here are a few signs that might indicate a virtual interview might be a scam:

  • they request confidential information before you’re even hired
  • they extend you an offer only after a brief conversation
  • they’re asking you for money for whatever reason
  • they seem unprofessional, with lots of grammatical errors
  • you can’t find the person’s name on LinkedIn or anywhere else

Do not click or open any link or email attachment you receive if you’re unsure of the sender. Mostly these are easy to spot and avoid so you should be fine. Good luck with your Microsoft virtual interview!

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Alex is the founder of GoTechCareer, a platform dedicated to empowering job seekers with valuable insights and advice for navigating the tech industry. With years of experience transitioning between tech roles, Alex shares in-depth knowledge and personal learnings aimed at helping others secure their ideal position in the tech sector.