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Microsoft | SDE1 | Bay Area | Mar 2022


Status: New grad, MS CS

Position: SDE1 at Microsoft

Location: Sunnyvale, CA

Date: March 16, 2022

Work experience: 2 years


First phase (on campus / phone screening)

I chose on campus screening, this was in February, before shelter-in-place was ordered. This was the standard to tell me about yourself, experiences, and interests in an interview. After this I was called for onsite.


Second phase (onsite - 4 rounds)

This is virtual onsite due to covid19 shelter-in-place orders. It had 4 rounds, standard technical interviews.

Round 1:

 This round had 2 questions. First one was very easy. Maybe it's a warm-up question. The second was not a typical leetcode question, I struggled a bit, took some hints and finally solved it.

Q1: Given an integer, return the difference of product and sum of digits

Q2: Detect whether the given string is in scientific notation or not using state machine flow. Examples of scientific notation, 1e-3, 123e2.


Round 2: 

This round again had 2 questions. First one was related to topological sort. You can find both these questions on leetcode.

Q1: Given a set of tasks and its dependencies, return the possible ordering of tasks. The tasks may be cyclic as well.

Q2: Serialize and deserialize a M-ary tree

Couple of follow-ups on question 2.


Round 3:

 Design circular buffer using array. A read from the buffer will free up the slot. A write from buffer will either use an empty slot or overwrite the oldest slot.


Round 4:-

 This round was taken by the manager of that team. This round also included some behavioral questions.

Given a k-sorted array, return the sorted array. What is the time and space complexity?

Example of a k-sorted array: [4 5 2 1 6 3], expected answer [1 2 3 4 5]

Behavioral questions:

  1. Tell me about yourself?
  2. Why Microsoft?
  3. Any questions for me? [Never say nothing for this question :) ]

Overall the experience with the interviewers and hiring committee is positive. I took some hints in round 1, question 2 as I was unaware of the state-flow-diagram from a computer science perspective. I nailed all other rounds. Here are few interview tips for you:

  1. Never jump into coding the solution right away. Keep a rule to ask clarification questions. I would recommend doing this even when you are practicing on leetcode. Cultivating a new habit takes time :)
  2. It's fine even if you are struck at some point. Feel free to ask for help. It's always better than staying mute. Interviewers would like to judge on your capability of understanding hints and working on them.
  3. Once you are done coding, run a test case manually by hand. Walk through the code aloud with this test case. This will help in two things. One, it helps you to find unintentional bugs and the other it sends a positive signal that you test your code.
  4. Don't let one interview get you down. Even if one interview goes really bad, that's' completely fine. There are other interviewers who can vouch for you.

** I had two offers in hand, Amazon and Microsoft. I ended up signing a Microsoft offer :)

by Expert (30,360 points)