How I Got My Job at Microsoft

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It was my last year of college. I needed to find a job. Many big companies came to my college to interview people. I prepared for the interviews as best as I could. I read about the companies that I’d be interviewing with. But many of them also had an “information session” in the evening before the interviews. The night before my Microsoft interview, Microsoft had one of those sessions. But Douglas Adams was speaking at the same time elsewhere in the city. What to do? I skipped the Microsoft information session of course.

The next day, I had a 30-minute interview with the Microsoft recruiter. Partway through, he said something that I didn’t agree with. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but it was related to what kind of code you should write in assembly language vs. a higher-level language like C++. So I disagreed with him. And then, for the next few minutes, we basically had a technical argument about it. As I left the interview, I was certain that I’d “failed.” I argued with the interviewer — one of the “greatest” interview sins.

Some time later, I got a call from Microsoft. They wanted to fly me out to the Seattle area to interview. I was shocked and elated! The rest is history. I got hired and worked there for multiple decades. I still think back to that interview now and then. My thinking was totally wrong when leaving the interview. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I got flown out because of that argument. I had technical knowledge and passion — exactly the type of person Microsoft was looking for. And skipping the information session because Douglas Adams was in town? That’s also something that a Microsoft employee would probably do…


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