Questions at Microsoft interviews

We analyzed 11,153 interview reviews for Microsoft from various job sites, social network groups and forums.

Here are the most frequent job interview questions asked by HR managers during initial phone or onsite interviews. This list does not include technical or factual questions.

12 frequent non-technical questions at Microsoft:

Tell me about yourself
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Tell me about a successful project you were involved in. What was your role? What was the result?
What is your greatest weakness?
Describe the most exciting project or team you ever worked on
Tell me about your greatest professional accomplishment
Why did you leave your last job?
Tell me about a time when you've resolved a problem for a frustrated customer
Tell me about a stressful situation and how you dealt with it
How would you handle a customer with difficult behavior?
How would you describe yourself?
Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work. How did you handle it? What have you learned?

According to our research, hiring managers at Microsoft ask soft skills interview questions 58% less than at other companies.

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1. Tell me about yourselftop question

How to answer

This question may sound vague, but it actually requires a matter of fact, concise and relevant answer. Here’s how you can approach it.

  1. About Yourself

    What is your current occupation? Define yourself professionally in one statement.

    Pick 3 key skills that make you great at your work (your Key Selling Points). How have you applied these skills?

    Try to give some numbers to support your statement.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company.

    Based on what you know about the company and the job description, why are you interested in the position you are applying for?

  3. About The Fit

    • Based on your Key Selling Points and your knowledge about the company, why do you think you are a good fit for this position?
    • Can you support your statement with relevant examples from your past experiences?

    Try to be concise and stay within 1-2 minutes.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Microsoft based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

You can also end with a question like:

Do you know what the current needs in the company/department are, where my skills and experience can help?"

That can help you learn more about the company and the job, turn the "interrogation" into a conversation and will allow you to relax some tension.

Read our blog post to learn more about how to answer this question.

Statistics

This question is asked 1% less frequently at Microsoft than at other companies.

Take a quiz

Take a quick quiz and check if you’re ready to answer this question at your next job interview:

Pick the best answer:

AMy name is Andrew Franklin, I am 28 years old, and I am looking for a job that pays well.

BHello, my name is Natalie Price. I have two children and I love playing billiards and travelling. I am 33 years old.

CHi Mr. Simon, my name is Stanley Clark and I am a certified Project Management professional known for completing projects on time and on budget. I am passionate about building agile work culture and delivering results.

DHi Mr. Simon, my name is Dorothy Hanson. I have previously worked as an accountant in retail, but currently I am trying to transition into the field of healthcare.

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

How to answer

This question belongs to a family of behavioral, or even more precisely, reflective questions.

The interviewer wants to see whether you are reflective about yourself, whether you are ambitious and strive to grow as a professional, whether you like to learn and develop your skills.

They are also looking for your ambitions to fit the career path opportunities related to the position you are applying for.

  1. About Yourself

    Presumably, you are interested to grow professionally.

    Think about the possibilities that may lie ahead for you: take a personality test (I recommend 16Personalities which is based on Myers-Briggs test), research the internet on what career paths are possible with your skills and current job.

    What challenges do you like overcoming?

    For example, if you are applying for a software tester position, you may find it fascinating to master automated testing in full and eventually become a software engineer, or you may be a natural trainer and love coaching other people which may lead you to become a QA team or department lead, or you may be more interested in understanding business aspects of requirements which may logically lead you into a Business Analyst position.

    However, if you are happy just where you are and want to further your current skills, that is also fine as long as there is a growth path for you that can be imagined and described.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company to learn what career opportunities may be available in the department you are applying to, and what the trends are in the company in general.

    • Is the business expanding, are they opening new locations, or starting new projects?
    • Or are they heavily automating and cutting staff?

    Let’s say you are applying for a UX designer position for a brand-new product.

    In the future, if the product becomes a success - which is what the company hopes for - the company will hire more designers and you may become a lead designer, or you may become a product manager.

    On a side note: If you train your mind to be open to opportunities you will be amazed at how much this world has to offer to you!

  3. About The Fit

    And, of course, try to see where the perfect fit lies between your own potential and aspirations, and the company’s trends and hopes.

    However, beware of the risk of showing too much excitement for future opportunities compared to your attitude towards the current position.

    If you aren’t really excited about the position you are applying for and you demonstrate this lack of enthusiasm, the interviewer may conclude that you are not a good fit for the current position.

    Try to find a source of excitement in the current position as well, otherwise, you may be doing yourself a disservice by applying to a position you will find boring in 2-3 months.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Microsoft based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

This question gives you a good opportunity to showcase your Key Selling Points (e.g. “As I am very good at delegating tasks, I can easily see myself leading a team of software testers in the future…”), and end your statement by asking about current initiatives and goals at the company.

It is generally NOT a good idea to say something like:

“Oh, I cannot imagine what happens to me tomorrow, let alone in 5 years”.

This will show you as a person who is unimaginative and not forward-thinking enough to grow with and be a good fit for the company.

Statistics

This question is asked 32% less frequently at Microsoft than at other companies.

3. Tell me about a successful project you were involved in. What was your role? What was the result?

How to answer

In the modern business environment, work is often organized in the form of projects. This allows companies to plan objectives and milestones in order to reach their goals, to monitor progress and performance, to clearly define deliverables and success.

With this question, the interviewer gauges whether you have the right mindset for a project-oriented work style.

  1. About Yourself

    Remember a few projects you have been involved in. Depending on your work experience and career level, these may range from small projects like organizing a party to large-scale multinational projects with participants and teams across the globe, million-dollar budgets and high risk and reward stakes.

    For each project you participated in, write down the following:

    1. project name
    2. its reason and goal
    3. your role in it
    4. the duration of the project or its phases (in case only some phases were successful)
    5. the approximate number of people or stakeholders involved in it.

    • What were the top 3 challenges?
    • What was the end result?
    • How did the company (or other stakeholders) benefit from the results?
    • How can you define your contribution in 3-5 key phrases? If you received any praise for your efforts from your boss, peers or clients, what did they say exactly?
  2. About The Company

    Based on the research you did on the company, what kinds of projects can you expect here?

    • What do you know about the goals they are trying to achieve?
    • What do you know about their current challenges?
    • Can you imagine what success will look like for the projects in this company?
  3. About The Fit

    Which of your examples fits best with the projects you may expect at this company?

    Practice telling your story, use the STAR method.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Microsoft based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

End your answer by asking the interviewer how they define success for the role you are applying for.

This will provide you with an insight into the company environment and expectations for this role, as well as will help transform the “interrogation” into a conversation, which will give you a break to pull your wits together for further interview.

Statistics

This question is asked 5.5x more frequently at Microsoft than at other companies.

4. What is your greatest weakness?

How to answer

This question ranks as the most challenging for many people. Fortunately, Mr. Simon is here to help!

Interviewers ask this question to gauge your level of self-awareness, your honesty and openness, and your capability for self-improvement.

  1. About Yourself

    No one is perfect and your interviewer doesn't expect you to be perfect either.

    While it is good to be honest and open, it will not help you to put yourself down.

    What's important is to find a weakness that you have overcome or something that is not related to the position for which you are applying.

    For example, one of our clients admitted that he is not very good at public speaking and that he has recently become a member of Toastmasters International to improve. What a respectful answer and approach, in my view!

  2. About The Company

    Research the company (website, social media, etc) to learn about the company culture.

    What personal and professional qualities do they value?

  3. About The Fit

    It is important that the weakness you decide to talk about is not one that will prevent you from performing the job for which you're applying.

    For example, if you're applying for a front-end developer position, do not talk about how you are struggling to understand HTML code.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Microsoft based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

Use this question to sell yourself!

It's important to show how well you've overcome a weakness by motivating yourself and learning a new skill to grow professionally.

Statistics

This question is asked 19% less frequently at Microsoft than at other companies.

Take a quiz

Take a quick quiz and check if you’re ready to answer this question at your next job interview:

Which of the following would be the best answer:

ASometimes I just work too hard

BI have trouble saying “no” when a colleague asks for help and I have my own work to finish

CI am a perfectionist

DI cannot think of a single thing

5. Describe the most exciting project or team you ever worked on

How to answer

When hiring managers ask you about your past projects that you were excited about, or about the most exciting team you ever worked with, they want to know specifics about your personality, interests, dedication to work and approaches to reaching goals.

With this question, the interviewer gauges what you value at work and whether you have the right mindset for a project-oriented work style and, in the case of teamwork, how you work with others, so they can envision how you’ll work within their team.

Pay particular attention that THIS question is not about how important it was for the company, it is about how interesting and exciting it was for YOU!

  1. About Yourself

    Think of a time when you worked with special pleasure as a team player and helped to achieve a team goal.

    • What did you do? What made it interesting for you?
    • What emotions did you have working on it?
    • How did it help you on a personal level?
    • Who did you participate with? Were you satisfied with your team?
    • What did you learn from the experience?

  2. About The Company

    Based on your research of the company, what kinds of projects can you expect here?

    • What do you know about the goals they are trying to achieve?
    • What do you know about their current challenges?
    • What do they value in their employees?

    Review the job description as it may give you clues to whether the job focuses on teams, independence or both.

  3. About The Fit

    If possible, choose a project that will be relevant to the job you are applying for.

    Show your Key Selling Points to the interviewer – the best qualities which help you to stay positive and passionate about what you like doing, prove that the process of thinking, researching, communication and creativity at work satisfies you.

    Here is an example of an answer to the question from an Indian engineer, which combines both an exciting team and an exciting project:

    It was a research project which involved people from different backgrounds. The long-term aim of it was to evaluate and then test some completely new types of aircraft structures and concepts. I think it helped me develop on a professional level more than on a personal level, although I did get a lot of opportunities to interact with people from other countries and practice my English a lot. The team was great! It was particularly challenging and remarkably interesting for me. It is the first international research project I have been involved in, so it was quite exciting as well. Overall, I think I learned a lot more about collaboration, as well as gaining some useful experience in negotiating and discussing in English.”

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Microsoft based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

Be specific and enthusiastic telling your story.

It is your own positive experience that encouraged you to become what you are. Use it for your advantage to gain the interviewer’s interest in you.

Statistics

This question is asked 8.6x more frequently at Microsoft than at other companies.

6. Tell me about your greatest professional accomplishment

How to answer

Of all your accomplishments (and I am sure you’ve had a great many of them!), you should choose the one most relevant to this job position.

  1. About Yourself

    Write down your Key Selling Points - your top 3-5 skills that make you a strong professional.

    Write down a list of your top 3-5 professional accomplishments that you are most proud of. No need for lengthy descriptions, just 1-2 words for each one to help you recall each situation.

    Make sure you have developed the story behind each accomplishment and have a strong command of the details of what happened so that you can tell the story clearly and distinctly.

    Along with each accomplishment, mark which of your Key Selling Points they showcase. How exactly?

  2. About The Company

    Based on your research of the company, what are their current needs?

    • What are the major projects going on?
    • What are the expectations for the position you are applying for?
  3. About The Fit

    Try to imagine yourself being an employee of the company you are applying to, say, at your 6th month into the job.

    • Which of your Key Selling Points and accomplishments would be most relevant to the company?
    • What “have you accomplished at your new job?”

    Choose the most relevant accomplishment from your list and then practice telling your story.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Microsoft based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

Most enterprises are now going through major transformations, often called Digital Transformation.

Do your research on what it means and what is often involved, to get a better idea of the current goals and environments in companies. But one thing that definitely characterizes this transformation is striving for agility.

In particular, for startups (if you are applying to a startup or a small business), agility is their middle name, in order for them to survive among bigger sharks in the market.

So, demonstrating qualities like agility and adaptability should generally be helpful and quite a safe choice in most circumstances today.

Statistics

This question is asked 53% more frequently at Microsoft than at other companies.

Take a quiz

Take a quick quiz and check if you’re ready to answer this question at your next job interview:

Why do interviewers ask this question?

AThey want to know why you think the accomplishment you chose is your greatest, to give them an idea of what you think is important

BThey want to hear a specific example of your work to see if your problem solving skills fit in with the issues and problems their company might be experiencing

CThey want to know if you are a great multitasker who can get 10 different things done by the end of the day, no matter how long you have to stay at work to complete it all

7. Why did you leave your last job?

How to answer

This question may be a little touchy for some people, but it's a question asked by interviewers, to find out why you left, in order to better understand how you may or may not make a good fit with their company.

Remember, never speak ill of your old company (this will not go over well).

  1. About Yourself

    Most likely, there are three possible reasons you left or are leaving your last job:

    • You are looking for a career change
    • You are unhappy with your current employment
    • You were let go.

    Whatever the reason, it's best to always speak in a positive light.

  2. About The Company

    Based on your research about the company and the position, what do you like most about the company?

  3. About The Fit

    If you are looking for career advancement or a career change, you can be very upfront and honest. Be as enthusiastic as you can about the position.

    If you were unhappy with your previous job, focus on the positives. Talk about the ways that you will best fit in with the company, in the role for which you're applying.

    If you were let go, focus on the positive. Share your accomplishments at your previous employment.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Microsoft based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

Whatever the reason you are looking for a new opportunity, always turn things around to show how you are the perfect fit for the job for which you are interviewing!

Statistics

This question is asked 8% more frequently at Microsoft than at other companies.

8. Tell me about a time when you've resolved a problem for a frustrated customer

How to answer

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. How you handle a disgruntled customer can make the difference between closing a sale and failing to do so. It takes good people skills to handle such situations, and this question is a good opportunity to demonstrate your people skills.

  1. About Yourself

    Think of a time when, as a customer, you had a problem with a company.

    • How did you feel?
    • How did you want to be treated?
    • How would the situation ideally be resolved?
    • If it were you on the serving side of the table, what would you do differently? Have you had such experiences in the past where you helped a frustrated customer?
    • What was the critical factor in a successful resolution of the situation?

    Try to define your principles or approach.

    For example, I know that people tend to be frustrated when they feel neglected and unimportant.

    Whenever possible, I try to meet in person and establish face-to-face contact with someone who feels disgruntled, so that I can fully focus on the situation. (And believe me, checking your phone while speaking with such a customer is definitely NOT a good idea).

    Of course, this may not always be possible in your line of business or profession, but I guess you see what I mean - showing full attention greatly improves your chances of mitigating the situation.

  2. About The Company

    Every company relies on customers.

    Research the company you are applying to and try to find out what their standards of customer relationship or service are, as well as try to find out some real cases where the customers complained about the company, and what the company did to mitigate the situations (a possible source might be Yelp! or another social media platform).

    Based on your research, how does the company treat customers? How do they resolve customer issues?

  3. About The Fit

    How can you make things better and WOW the customer? Give an example that demonstrates that your approach to resolving customer frustrations is in line with the company policies.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Microsoft based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

A disgruntled customer generally just needs someone to listen to them.

The three A’s of customer service can help diffuse the difficult situation:

  1. Acknowledge - what the other person is feeling,
  2. Apologize - for the way the other person is feeling,
  3. Admit - that there was an issue that you are working on to get it resolved.

Add the extra “A” - Ask for the customer's contact information so you can update them on any progress on their issue.

Statistics

This question is asked 15% less frequently at Microsoft than at other companies.

Take a quiz

Take a quick quiz and check if you’re ready to answer this question at your next job interview:

Customers are often frustrated by what they perceive as poor service especially when they are on the phone. Which one of the following answers do you consider to be good customer service?

APlacing the customer on hold for too long

BPaying close attention to the customer’s complaint in an attempt to solve their problem

CAsking the customer to repeat their complaint many times

DFailing to empathize with their problem

EDirecting the customer to your website instead of resolving the issue yourself

9. Tell me about a stressful situation and how you dealt with it

How to answer

Nowadays, professional life is stressful everywhere and always. However, there are levels of stress that are so common that we consider them normal, and there are times when they really skyrocket.

Your future employer wants to know how you will behave in such times, whether you will be a helping hand or a burden.

  1. About Yourself

    Remember a time when you had to hit a tight timeline and to work long hours, hard and overtime; or when you found yourself in the middle of a conflict with someone, or with a group of people.

    If you had more than one such occasion, choose one that ended positively and successfully, and ideally, that can demonstrate some of your key skills - your Key Selling Points.

    Most likely, the situation was highly emotional.

    • What helped you persevere?
    • Was there an element that you enjoyed?

    For example, in one of our projects, my team and I had to hit a really tough timeline for a customer, which seemed almost impossible in the beginning.

    However, we knew that we owned the results and that a major decision by the customer depended on the outcome. This sense of ownership, meaning, and impact gave us energy and excitement.

    Those were the challenges that we loved and could deal with for a sustained period of time. Also, the pleasure of working with a highly qualified top manager on the customer’s side added to the enjoyment.

    Now, after a few years, we remember those times as some of the most exciting for our team.

  2. About The Company

    • What do you know about the company, where you may encounter a stressful situation?
    • Are they working on a major project which is approaching a due date?
    • Are they going through a difficult time when cost-saving is a top priority, company culture is full of negativity and mistrust, they have gone through massive layoffs, customers are neglected, and everyone wears a long face?

    These are always stressful times, and you should try to know more about expectations in the company, and how realistic they are.

    Or, are they just a dynamic, highly agile company run by smart and creative folks, which may work excellently for some people and be confusing and mind-blowing for others?

    Do your research.

  3. About The Fit

    Think of your ideal workplace environment.

    • Does this company feel like it?
    • Do you feel excited and enthusiastic about the kinds of stress you may encounter here?

    If you feel compatible with this company culture and enthusiastic about the challenges you expect here, this is a good chance to mention it and to show your excitement.

    Explain your approach or rationale and give your example from the past.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Microsoft based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

If you cannot remember any stressful situation with a positive outcome, you can use one with a negative outcome accompanied by your lessons learned.

However, this option should not be your first choice, as the failure to give an example of a successful outcome may portray you as an emotionally immature person.

Statistics

This question is asked 19% more frequently at Microsoft than at other companies.

10. How would you handle a customer with difficult behavior?

How to answer

People skills are highly valued in every company, and even so much more so in a company that deals with difficult customers occasionally. It is important to show how you can manage difficult personalities.

  1. About Yourself

    Look back on your experience. Have you worked with a difficult or disruptive person? Remember how you diffused the situation and how you turned things around.

    • Do you have certain principles, or methodology, to deal with difficult people?
    • Do you have strong people skills, are you good at conflict resolution?
    • Are you high on emotional intelligence? Can you give an example?
  2. About The Company

    • What have you found about the company and its culture?
    • What have you learned about how the employees value each other?
    • How do they treat their customers?
    • Knowing their line of business or industry, what can be some examples of difficult customers?

    Do your research.

  3. About The Fit

    A question like this asked in an interview, may be an indication that difficult customers, or other difficult stakeholders, may indeed be something that you will probably encounter in this company, and it is important for the interviewer to know that you will be able to handle this challenge with good grace.

    If you can give an example of how you handled a difficult person in the past in a situation similar to what this company may require from you, this will strongly increase your chances of showing yourself as a good fit.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Microsoft based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

One methodology for diffusing a difficult situation is called “the triple A” approach:

  1. Acknowledge - what the other person is feeling,
  2. Apologize - for the way the other person is feeling,
  3. Admit - that there was an issue that you are working on to get it resolved.

If it is a customer, it would add that extra touch if you added another "A" to your approach by Asking for the customer's contact information so you can update them of any progress on their issue.

Statistics

This question is asked 50% less frequently at Microsoft than at other companies.

Take a quiz

Take a quick quiz and check if you’re ready to answer this question at your next job interview:

Pick the best answer:

AIf the customer is rude and obnoxious, answer in kind and show him that he cannot push you around.

BListen carefully to what the customer is saying to really understand their concerns then repeat back to them what you heard to be sure you have it right, before attempting to help them with the problem.

CTell the customer that he should have known that the sale is final and there is nothing he can do to renegotiate the terms of the deal.

11. How would you describe yourself?

How to answer

This question is like the Tell me about yourself question usually asked at the beginning of an interview, but there are some subtle differences. It belongs to the family of reflective questions where the interviewer is assessing your cognitive abilities, as opposed to the more factual and matter-of-fact “Tell Me About Yourself” question.

  1. About Yourself

    Think of how your bosses and peers would describe you.

    Throughout your professional experience, you have probably heard them giving you some labels – try to remember the exact words they used.

    If you have received LinkedIn recommendations from someone, read those and think why people wrote them and what work situations prompted those descriptions. Remember the context of those situations and frame them as stories.

    Make a list of keywords, or short key phrases, that can describe you. Your Key Selling Points should definitely appear on this list, but try to also use some adjectives here, to add a positive emotional touch.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company's values, standards and policies. Make a list of keywords or short key phrases.

  3. About The Fit

    Which of your keywords correspond best with those of the company? Highlight 3-4 matches. Now try to imagine being a peer or a boss of yours and compile statements about yourself, in the 3rd person, mentioning these keywords. Remember to use adjectives, and don’t be afraid to mention real references from real people.

    For example, if you are applying for a position that requires good people skills, and your boss at your previous job called you a “conflict resolution guru,” don’t be shy to mention this reference, and provide a brief context that caused your boss’s praise. Use the STAR method to craft your story.

    Don’t limit yourself with just one keyword. If you are concise and don’t ramble with your answer, your interviewer will probably want to hear more than one. Just be observant and watch the interviewer’s reaction. You want to keep them interested.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Microsoft based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

If you haven’t yet received any LinkedIn recommendations, try to obtain them. Also, offer to write your own recommendations for them - both received and given recommendations will be visible in your profile and will tell the interviewer exactly what you want to be known about your values, your attitude towards work and relationships.

Statistics

This question is asked 17% more frequently at Microsoft than at other companies.

12. Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work. How did you handle it? What have you learned?

How to answer

Wherever you go, you will always have to work with people. This means that there is a greater chance for conflict to happen. This question helps the interviewer determine how well you would fit within the organization.

  1. About Yourself

    Think of the times you had to deal with conflict.

    • What were the different ways you were able to address the situation?
    • If you were the cause of the conflict, how did the other person talk you down from the conflict?
    • What were the key lessons you learned through your experience?
  2. About The Company

    Research the company and its culture.

    • What do they value?
    • Is there anything that you can find about how they deal with conflict resolution?

    Reading comments to their social media posts often prove helpful to see how they react to customers' complaints.

  3. About The Fit

    • What have you found out about the company’s culture and job description?
    • Are they looking for someone who can take charge and resolve conflict?

    Tell a story of how you addressed conflict and how it turned a negative into a positive. Try to conclude with your lessons learned or methodology for approaching conflicts - this will show the interviewer that you would be able to apply your methodology to future situations.

    Use the STAR method to frame your story.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Microsoft based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

A key to addressing conflict is listening, communication and emotional intelligence. Highlight these skills.

If you're able to, turn the question around and ask the interviewer if they have experienced the same thing. This will start a conversation, which is the goal of an interview.

Statistics

This question is asked 50% more frequently at Microsoft than at other companies.

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Join our Work Search Buddy Network Meetup Group to become part of our growing and supportive community!


This page has been updated on December 20, 2020.

You can practice answering this question, as well as over 160 other common job interview questions from Microsoft by engaging in a mock interview with Mr. Simon. As an artificial being, his undeniable benefits include:

24/7 availability24/7 availability
He will never make you feel intimidatedHe will never make you feel intimidated
The current version is freeThe current version is free

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