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Nyasha Karata
Nyasha Karata

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What I learned after failing a technical interview at Microsoft

It was June 2022 when I managed to get a phone interview with a recruiter at Microsoft. I was being interviewed for the Software Development Engineer II role. Even though I managed to come up with optimal solutions for the given problems, I later realized that the whole interview process was a failure. I’m sharing this because I don’t want you to do the same mistake I did.

Behavioral Interview Process
We did the interview through Microsoft Teams which were 3 rounds, 1 behavioral and 2 coding rounds. The behavioral interview went well from my point of view. The recruiter asked questions like my past work experience, other technical related questions and walked through my resume.

Coding Interview Process
This process wasn’t difficult I had to solve 2 LeetCode medium problems which are: β€œKth Largest Element in an Array” and β€œLongest substring with no repeating characters”. When I saw these questions, I was very happy because I had seen them before onAlgoExpert, thanks to Clement Mihailescu. I quickly worked out the solutions, wrote the code and everything went good including space and time complexity.

Mistakes that I made
This is the most important part of the post, if you made through it congrats – let’s get into it

  • I didn’t ask clarification question to the interviewer
    As soon as I got the first question,I quickly solved it without asking any clarifications. Always seek clarification about the question upon hearing it.You might discover that you have missed something else. It also lets the interviewer know that you are attentive to details. Consider asking questions how big is the size of input,what kind of values are there (negative numbers, floating points).

  • I didn’t make suggestions for alternatives
    As soon as I got the problem, I quickly went with the optimal solution. If you want to go above and beyond the bare requirements, you should propose various solutions to your problem. You should also compare your options and choose the best one based on your limits.

These are the mistakes that I made during the interview, I focused more on the coding part other than communicating with the interviewer.

Other interview mistakes to avoid

  • Working through problems in your head
  • Not testing your solution
  • Coding without planning

For more interview tips, you can visit Clement Mihailescu’s YouTube channel

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