How to Answer the “Why Microsoft?” Interview Question

Microsoft is a dream company for many software engineers across the country. A renowned tech giant, Microsoft has revolutionized the way the tech industry operates. While many coding engineers prefer working with Microsoft due to the quality of work on offer, salary, brand name, and the work environment are some of the other reasons that draw them in. 

Like all tech companies, Microsoft also has grueling interview rounds. In addition to onsite and online rounds, there is a dedicated technical-cum-HR interview round, where you are tested on your behavioral skills. “Why do you want to work at Microsoft?” is one of the frequently asked questions during this round. With this question, the hiring managers want to understand your motivation for applying to Microsoft and whether you are the right fit for the organization. 

The “why Microsoft” interview question can be a tricky one to answer, especially if you end up giving a vague answer without backing it up with solid reasons that demonstrate your genuine motivation. In this article, we’ll discuss how to answer the “why Microsoft” interview question. We’ll cover:

  • The Microsoft interview process 
  • Top 7 most-asked Microsoft behavioral interview questions
  • How to answer the “Why do you want to work at Microsoft?” interview question
  • 5 sample answers to the “Why Microsoft?” interview question
  • Things to avoid while answering the “Why Microsoft?” interview question

The Microsoft Interview Process: A Sneak Peek

Depending on the team you are applying for, you’ll need to crack 4 to 5 rounds of interviews. These interviews are designed to assess your technical skills and problem-solving abilities. What sets Microsoft interviews apart from other tech companies is that the hiring managers compare your performance against other candidates to assess your performance. In contrast, other companies make the hiring decision based on your performance. Following are the typical tech interview rounds at Microsoft:

  • Phone screen: The initial screening is done over a phone call, where you can expect questions that evaluate your behavioral skills and leadership qualities, along with your technical knowledge. For instance, as a software developer, you may be asked technical questions on algorithms, data structures, and coding-related questions. 
  • Technical phone screen: If you pass the phone screening round, the recruiter will schedule a tech interview. This round is usually with a senior software developer at Microsoft, and you can expect questions on various technical topics such as stacks, queues, divide-and-conquer, etc. 
  • Onsite: The next round is an onsite interview, where you usually meet the managers and employees of the team you want to join. Microsoft prefers pairing up recruiters to minimize any chance of any unconscious bias creeping in. Usually, there are 4 interviews when you are onsite. A majority of these interviews consist of various coding and design questions along with a host of behavioral questions. 
  • An “as appropriate” interview is the final round of the Microsoft interview process where you meet a senior executive of the company. The purpose of this interview is to fill in the gaps from the assessment in the previous rounds. Suppose you have demonstrated strong technical skills but did not perform as well in your behavioral round. In that case, the interviewer will ask you more behavioral questions to assess whether you are the right fit for the culture at Microsoft. This round is also meant for the interviewer to pitch the idea of working at Microsoft to you as they want to be sure that you will accept the offer once it is made. 

Check out the Microsoft Interview Guide for more information.

You can expect the “why do you want to work at Microsoft” interview question during the various behavioral rounds, as hiring managers would want to evaluate how well you have understood Microsoft’s culture and mission statement. With this question, they also try to evaluate what type of a professional you are. 

Top 7 Most-Asked Microsoft Behavioral Interview Questions at Microsoft

When it comes to behavioral interviews, you can expect the recruiters to ask you a standard set of questions. How you answer these questions will help them to assess you on core competencies of Microsoft, such as:

  • Adaptability
  • Teamwork 
  • Customer focus
  • Drive for results
  • Decision-making skills

It also helps them understand whether you can contribute towards the growth-mindset culture of Microsoft, where your eagerness and curiosity to learn new skills and techniques to resolve an issue is valued much more than how much you know. 

Based on the experience of previous candidates and hiring managers, here are the top 7 behavioral interview questions that are frequently asked at Microsoft: 

  • Why do you want to work at Microsoft?
  • Tell me about a time when you were given a task, but the client wanted you to pivot or go in a different direction at the last minute.
  • Tell me about the greatest accomplishment/failure of your career so far.
  • Tell me about a time when you faced conflict within a team and how you dealt with it.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to make a big decision.
  • Share some of the biggest lessons you've learned in life.
  • What do you to get people to agree with your point of view?

This is not an exhaustive list of questions; however, practicing such questions will help you understand the approach you must take and build confidence. Check out Behavioral Interview Questions for Software Developers for more.

How to Answer the “Why do you want to work at Microsoft?” Interview Question

Even the best software engineers and developers find it incredibly challenging to answer this question. After all, there are no right or wrong answers in a behavioral interview. These questions only help the recruiters evaluate whether you are a good fit for the company and its environment. And while these questions look deceptively simple, they play a critical role in establishing your value to an organization and directly impact the hiring decision. 

But before we learn about the ways of answering this question, let’s understand the real motive behind asking such a question. 

  • Most interviewers try to determine whether you are genuinely enthusiastic about joining the organization or simply appearing for an interview to strike it off on your checklist. 
  • They are also eager to learn more about your authentic self to determine whether your values are aligned with the company’s culture.
  • Lastly, asking such a question also helps hiring managers to check whether you have done your homework and researched the company well. 

Therefore, you need to frame your answer in such a manner so that it ticks off all the boxes on the recruiter’s checklist and makes a fantastic impression on them. Your response should be able to convince the hiring manager that you are genuinely interested in the position. 

It should also showcase your USP that makes you the right fit for Microsoft. In addition, you should also convey how you expect to add more value to the growth of the organization. A helpful rule of thumb is to structure your answer into three parts:

  1. Start with highlighting how exciting it is for any software engineer to work for a tech titan like Microsoft
  2. Next, talk about what are the critical skills that you are bringing to the table to contribute to the success of Microsoft
  3. Conclude the answer by talking about how working at Microsoft will contribute to your growth and learning as a professional

5 Sample Answers to “Why Microsoft?” Interview Question

Check out our sample answers that can help you frame your responses during interview prep. You can use these examples as a structure to create a unique answer, as there is no one-size-fits-all response. 

Response 1:

The Windows operating system and Microsoft Office Suite have been responsible for the digital transformation of the modern world. Though Microsoft had a humble beginning, it has played a critical role in shaping the world of technology as we experience it today. 

Working with Microsoft will allow me to leverage my X years experience as a software developer and work on some world-class products that empower the customers. During my previous role as a software engineer at Y, I worked on [details of an interesting project you have done]. This assignment helped me sharpen my skills in designing efficient front-end user interfaces using the industry’s best practices. I am also well-versed in JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, and React framework and can assist the team in designing front-end applications. 

I am keen on working with an organization that can contribute to my growth as a software engineer. I am fascinated by the emphasis on team effort at Microsoft to empower the customers and ease their challenges. Working and collaborating with others to find a solution to a problem is something that I have always loved doing right from high school, where I was [provide details]. I would like the opportunity to work here and be part of the team effort.  

Response 2:

The continuous innovation that happens at Microsoft is my biggest motivation to join the company. I have been following the recent developments of [talk about any Microsoft product you find interesting]

During my stint as a software developer, I worked on [talk about the project/time when you designed API]. This experience has helped sharpen my skills in X, Y, and Z. I am confident that I will leverage these skills and contribute to the culture of innovation at Microsoft. 

Microsoft has brought some fantastic products to our lives. Working with the smartest people in the business will help me grow as a professional.

Response 3:

There are three reasons why I want to work with Microsoft:

First, I value its technical culture and constant innovation. I have a Master’s Degree in Computer Science, and I know that at Microsoft, I will work alongside my peers who are as excited about advanced technology.

I believe my expertise in [provide details of a programming language/skill you excel at] will be valuable for the ongoing projects at Microsoft. 

Finally, (a friend or colleague’s name) works at Microsoft. Her experience has been extremely positive, and she encouraged me to apply to join the team.

Response 4:

First, I admire the leadership style of Mr. Satya Nadella. Bringing clarity in ambiguous situations, generating energy all around, and delivering success even when the circumstances are not perfect deeply resonate with me.  

I've spent the last six years of my career in the cloud computing space and really enjoy working in that vertical. I'm really excited about working with [details of the team you’d be joining and the contribution you can make].

I find the culture at Microsoft attractive — using our skills to empower every person on the planet to achieve. I am eager to use various learning opportunities and would love an opportunity to work on projects that are creating a global impact.

Response 5:

I am interested in working at Microsoft as I want to build a career in the voice recognition software space. This is a topic that excites me both as a professional and a user of such software. I found Microsoft’s acquisition of Nuance particularly exciting as I have worked on [provide some details of work done in the cloud computing space]. That’s why I was drawn to this role specifically. 

I also find Microsoft’s customer-driven culture attractive, as this is something I take very seriously while working on an assignment. I am always eager to learn more skills and use them to create innovative solutions for the users.

I think that Microsoft is at an interesting juncture right now where application development is still at the core of the work done at Microsoft. The renewed focus on developer tools and platforms has made it possible to explore newer ideas and think outside the box. This aspect has drawn me to the company, as I wish to be part of that growth story. 

Things to Avoid While Answering the “Why Microsoft?” Question

We’ve covered how to approach the question and some samples. Now, here’s what you need to avoid when answering the “why Microsoft” question:

  • Don’t give a generic answer such as “Microsoft is a top-tier company, and I want to work here.” Focus on making the answer memorable by highlighting specific reasons that attract you to the company. This could be your admiration for certain products or the work culture at Microsoft, or even the CEO’s leadership style.
  • Don’t forget to do your research. Go through the website, follow the news reported in the press, and ask within your network to learn more about Microsoft. An uninformed and poorly researched response shows that you are not serious about the role.
  • Avoid sounding too scripted. Remember that every hiring manager is looking to know more about you as a fellow professional. Show your human side through an empathetic response.

Get Ready to Crack Microsoft Software Engineering Interviews

The interview prep for Microsoft is no piece of cake. These technical interviews are infamous for being extremely grueling. Having someone by your side who can guide you through your prep can be a real gamechanger. And that’s where Interview Kickstart can make a difference! We have trained over 5000 software engineers to nail their tech interviews at FAANG and other tech behemoths. So take the first step towards building an amazing career at Microsoft by registering for our FREE Webinar!

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