Microsoft interview questions are designed to identify candidates who can add value to the company in the key knowledge areas of product development, design, and coding. Microsoft interview questions are comparable to FAANG interview standards. This means they can be quite challenging without the right skill, expertise, and interview preparation.
Microsoft interview questions are also role and company-specific based on Microsoft’s core competencies and culture. Below are commonly asked questions at Microsoft’s tech interviews, including Microsoft coding interview questions and Microsoft behavioral interview questions.
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In this article, we cover:
- Microsoft’s Core Competencies
- Microsoft Technical Interviews Key Areas of Assessment
- Microsoft Interview Questions on Data Structures and Algorithms
- Microsoft Interview Questions on Systems Design and Distributed Systems
- Microsoft Interview Questions on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
- Microsoft Interview Questions on Data Science
- Microsoft Interview Questions on Computer Networking
- Microsoft Behavioral Interview Questions
- FAQs on Microsoft Interview Questions
Microsoft’s Core Competencies
Microsoft interview questions are based on Microsoft’s six core competencies which are listed on the company’s career page as given below:
- Adaptability for agile problem-solving
- Collaboration through inter/Intra team communication
- Customer-oriented approach by empowering employees
- Creating impact through influence through effective communication
- Result-driven approach emphasizing accountability and striving for excellence
- Judgment, i.e., knowledge-based decision making to resolve complex problems
Microsoft Technical Interviews Key Areas of Assessment
Microsoft interview questions are designed to assess candidates for technical excellence across all stages of the engineering life cycle. At a Microsoft technical interview, you will be assessed on the following areas:
- Coding: Microsoft coding interviews are the most important round of the entire interview process. You will be assessed on core coding concepts and your ability to write clean, clear code. At Microsoft, you will compile and run code on a third-party coding platform using a coding language of your choice.
- Design: You’ll be assessed on your ability to design and develop both existing and new platforms.
- Problem-solving: Microsoft interviewers will be keen to understand your approach to developing solutions, including how you view problems from different perspectives and seek information needed to arrive at a solution.
- Testing: You’ll be expected to test your solutions to show your code is effective. You will be assessed on your ability to test code consider corner cases, errors, boundaries, and security features.
Microsoft Interview Questions on Data Structures and Algorithms
Microsoft interview questions assess your understanding of the benefits of the different data structures and algorithms, their applications, and how to choose the right ones to develop solutions to coding problems.
Microsoft coding interview questions focus on key data structures and algorithms topics — arrays, strings, linked lists, recursion, sort, search, hash maps, trees, graphs, dynamic programming, math, statistics, etc.
- Reorder the singly linked list L: L0 → L1 → … → Ln-1 → Ln to L0 → Ln → L1 → Ln-1 → L2 → Ln-2 → …
- Clone a linked list with next and arbitrary (or random) pointers.
- Given an array where every element occurs three times, except one element, which occurs only once, find the element that occurs once. The expected time complexity is O(n) and O(1) extra space.
- Given an unsorted integer array, find the smallest missing positive integer. Run the algorithm in O(n) time using constant extra space.
- Given two values, k1 and k2 (where k1 < k2) and a root pointer to a Binary Search Tree. Print all the keys of the tree in range k1 to k2.
- Given a binary tree of size N and an integer K, print all nodes at distance k from root (root is considered at a distance 0 from itself). Nodes should be printed from left to right. If k is more than the height of the tree, nothing should be printed.
- Given n non-negative integers representing an elevation map where the width of each bar is 1, compute how much water it can trap when it rains.
- Given a set of two integers, check if it can be divided into two subsets with equal sum.
- Given a directed, acrylic graph of N nodes, find all possible paths from node O to node N-1, and return them in any order.
- Given an ancient dictionary with alphabetically ordered words, order the words correctly according to the ancient language.
- Given a string ‘str’ of digits, find the length of the longest substring of ‘str’, such that the length of the substring is 2k digits and the sum of left k digits is equal to the sum of right k digits.
- Given a string A representing an absolute path for a file (Unix-style). Return the string A after simplifying the absolute path.
- Write an efficient algorithm that searches for a value in an m X n matrix. Integers in each row are sorted from left to right, and the first integer of each row is greater than the last integer of the previous row.
- Given a rotated array that is sorted, search for an element in it.
- Merge K sorted arrays ‘arr’ of size N each into a new array ‘res’, such that ‘res’ is a sorted array.
- Sort a given array of integers using the merge sort algorithm. Input Format: The function contains a single argument, an integer array arr; Output Format: Return the sorted integer array.
Learn about the Perks and Benefits of Working at Microsoft.
Microsoft Interview Questions on Systems Design and Distributed Systems
To answer Microsoft interview questions on systems design, you should familiarize yourself with Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), n-tiered software architecture, and distributed systems.
- How would you design Dropbox?
- How would you design a distributed cache
- How can VR improve education?
- How would you improve Slack?
- Design an alarm clock for a blind person
- Design an API for a running app
- Design a refrigerator for kids.
- How would you redesign a car dashboard?
- How do you design a web crawler?
- How would you design a search engine autocomplete feature?
Microsoft Interview Questions on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
Microsoft interview questions on machine learning and artificial intelligence will assess your competencies with ML models, pipelines, and problem-solving by developing or using ML/AI algorithms.
- Explain hyperparameters.
- Explain data overfitting.
- Describe the Turing test.
- Differentiate between Feedforward, Convolutional, and Recurrent Neural Networks
- Explain the application of the intelligent agent in artificial intelligence.
- Explain the top programming AI languages
- How is machine learning related to artificial intelligence?
- What is a Q-learning algorithm?
- What is the Hidden Markov model?
- What are the different types of AI and AI domains?
- What are the different types of machine learning?
- What are grid and random search algorithms?
- What is targeted marketing in machine learning?
- What are TensorFlow objects?
- What is reinforcement learning?
Microsoft Interview Questions on Data Science
Microsoft interview questions on data science will focus on data manipulation, exploration, insights, and fluency, open-ended math questions to gauge your ability to investigate, analyze, and interpret data, and on statistics.
- Do you prefer Python or R for text analytics?
- Differentiate between cluster sampling and systematic sampling.
- Differentiate between supervised and unsupervised learning.
- Describe when a false positive is more important than a false negative and vice-versa.
- Give a detailed description of the SVM algorithm, including support vectors and kernels.
- Give a detailed explanation of the Decision Tree Algorithm, including entropy and information gain.
- Is data cleaning important in analysis? Why or why not?
- What is cross-validation?
- What is a star schema?
- What are Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors?
Microsoft Interview Questions on Computer Networking
Prepare for Microsoft interview questions on computer networking by building knowledge on layered models and application, security, networking, and routing protocols.
- What is network topology?
- Explain the OSI model and its different layers.
- Explain the TCP/IP model and its different layers.
- Explain HTTP and HTTPS protocol.
- Explain the DHCP protocol.
- Explain the ARP protocol.
- Differentiate between TCP and UDP protocol
- Differentiate between IP and MAC address.
- Differentiate between ifconfig and ipconfig.
- Explain broadcasting, unicasting, multicasting, and anycasting.
Microsoft Behavioral Interview Questions
Microsoft behavioral interview questions are a set of Microsoft interview questions that assess your interpersonal or soft skills to gauge how you react in different situations.
“Why do you want to work at Microsoft” is one of the most commonly asked of all Microsoft interview questions. This question is aimed at understanding your motivations for wanting to work at Microsoft and whether you’ll be an organizational fit.
Read this article to learn the best way to answer the “Why Microsoft” interview question.
Sample Microsoft Behavioral Interview Questions
- Do you use Microsoft products or services? Why or why not?
- Describe the toughest project and how you could improve it.
- Describe your research plan for a new Microsoft wearable product.
- Describe a time you failed and how you overcame it.
- Explain the cloud in 90 seconds.
- Explain your favorite Microsoft product and how you would change it.
- How do you manage working relationships with remote co-workers?
- How would you work with a blind co-worker?
- How do you keep your skills updated?
- Why do you think this role is a good fit for you?
The above lists of questions are only an indicative, not exhaustive, list of Microsoft interview questions you can expect at Microsoft’s technical interview. However, these questions give us adequate insight into the topics to prepare for Microsoft’s technical interview.
FAQs on Microsoft Interview Questions
Q1. What kind of questions can I expect at a Microsoft technical interview?
Microsoft interview questions include coding, systems design, and behavioral questions that focus on your problem-solving, testing skills, and interpersonal skills.
Q2. What are some Microsoft coding interview questions?
Microsoft coding interview questions focus on fundamental coding skills and concepts — Data structures, algorithms — n*log (n) sorting algorithm, recursion, quicksort, mergesort, arrays, graphs, linked lists, strings, hash maps, queues, trees, etc.
Q3. How do I prepare for a Microsoft behavioral interview?
Microsoft behavioral interview questions will try to uncover your interpersonal skills through situational questions. Use the STAR approach to answer Microsoft behavioral questions keeping Microsoft core competencies and culture in mind.
Q4. How difficult are Microsoft interview questions?
Microsoft interview questions can be challenging and company-specific. However, you can answer these questions effectively by employing the right interview prep plan. By building skills in core coding and design concepts, you can nail Microsoft’s technical interview.
Q5. What are Microsoft interview questions for experienced software engineers?
While software engineers at every level go through a similar technical interview process, Microsoft interview questions on systems design and behavioral questions are considered more important for high-level software roles at Microsoft.
Upskill to Crack Technical Interviews
Cracking Microsoft’s technical interview for software engineers or software developers requires focused and structured interview prep.
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