Getting a job at Microsoft

My thoughts as well.

Glass-bottom, of course.


but it doesn’t quite ask for doubling the volume of the pool, doubling the size would mean an increase of each dimension by a factor of 2, but maybe i’m interpreting the question wrong. if that is the case, however, dig around the trees and make them into isle-minibars

couldnt you just double the depth of the pool? edit: wait double the size as in double the volume right?

by the way, why are manhole covers round? seriously.

and how would you move mount fuji?

i dunno whether i hate those open ended type questions more or the puzzle ones. such as:

there is a demon with ten dwarven prisoners. he gives them a chance to go free. he puts a gem on the back of each of their heads, its either red or green. he puts them in a straight line, and calls on them one by one, starting with the dwarf all the way in the back and moving forward from there. each one he calls, he asks if they have a red or green gem. if they answer wrong they die. if they are correct they go free what strategy should the dwarves use to save the most number of people?

im just bad at interviews :sad:

but as for dealing with situations im not familiar with, i go onto google and look up the solution. im lazy, and for every problem someone probably already has a solution. im not the genius whose gonna be coming up with the neweset algorithms. i write if statements. one time at google, they asked me:
how would you sort a terabyte of data with only a gig free of memory. well i hadnt studied external sorting algorithms, so i threw out some half assed answer involving mergesort. well i failed. but wikipedia had a solution, it did involve a modified mergesort like i had guessed, and now i know how. too late :sad:

anyway i love the job i currently have, but since its a startup it could crash and burn horribly at any time.

Pic attached.

The one I got in my initial interview was:

Given a pair of cubes, each face of which bears a zero or a single number, how do you design them so that any day of the month (from 1 to 31) can be displayed?

The solution to that one is definitely online. The King’s Pool one I got from my dad (who loves puzzles)… I looked but didn’t see it online. The picture may make it easier. It’s rather trivial.

How Would You Move Mount Fuji? is probably an interesting read if you’re serious about getting a job.

Generally, the first question I have to answer when I interview you is whether you would be a great Microsoft hire. Then the next question is if you fit in with the position, but hiring for Microsoft is first. So failing is fine, just fail well.

If you’re a programmer (or “tester”), Raymond Chen’s blog (“The Old New Thing”) on MSDN is probably a worthwhile read over time.

Is that link right?

Sorry, massively multitasking today. Fixed now.

I got the cubes one on my interview loop, but not for the group I work in now. I won’t list the contents of each face but just the key observations I remember coming up with at the time, that should lead to the final answer:

  1. You only need 0,4-9 on one cube and not both.
  2. 6 and 9 can be represented with one face.
  3. There are only 2 dates that use the same digit twice (11th and 22nd).

I actually read the Mt. Fuji book (this problem is not in there), but in the interview training you’re discouraged from asking these types of questions now. I usually ask them if there’s some programming parallel or the ones that are relevant to the discipline (i.e. how would you test a stapler/vending machine/elevator/etc.). And no, the book came after, not before, the puzzle questions were popular… which is why no one asks them anyway since the book is successful. In any case, the thought process is what interviewers analyze, not the correct answer. You could get it wrong and still impress someone with your problem solving ability, answering it right away is a dead giveaway that you read it somewhere.

I remember the “how would you test a caculator” question. I lol’ed.

Standard questions you should/must be prepared to answer:

What did you do at your last job?
How will this correlate to this new job that you want?
What conflicts did you have at your last job, and how did you solve that?
How did you exhibit excellence at your last job?
How did you inspire or lead others at your last job?
What inspires you?
How do you work most effectively with other people?

How would you want to improve our product?
What are the big challenges in this industry?
How has this industry succeeded? How has it failed?
Why are you interested in this job? In this general field?
What were your first experiences in this field?

Where do you see yourself in five years? In ten?

These are all dumb questions. If you aren’t prepared to answer them, I’m going to be disappointed as your interviewer.

without … changing the shape or touching the trees? Now that we’ve clarified it’s the shape of
the trees, change th shape of the pool! =P

answer to king’s pool


Rotate it 90 degrees, expand it.

You mean 45 degrees right? So you have a diamond in comparison to the original layout and you double that size, otherwise you’ll hit the trees. I still like my volume doubling answer. :wgrin:

Yeah I initially went w/ make it twice as deep too.

Clearly its the better answer.

Well that and build another pool on top of it

My question

I wouldn’t ask this in an interview, but it’s a fun brain teaser:

There’s an odd number of soldiers in a field. The distance between every pair of soldiers is unique. Each soldier is given the order “keep watch on the man nearest you”. Prove that there’s always a soldier who isn’t being watched.

So for example, if there’s just 1 soldier, it’s easy. No one is watching him :). Now prove that it’s true for any odd number, like 531.

O.K. this is a serious question - My Girlfriend is about to walk 7th in her class with a marketing degree - she has a few offers from Seattle Area companies (Starbucks is one of them) we’re thinking Seattle would be a cool place to relocate and ummmm - I work at Yahoo Tech Support right now.

Is getting into Microsoft THIS EASY seriously?!, I’d relocate in a heartbeat like no other if I could work for “Uncle Bill”

Chris: Yeah, exactly.

zass: Took me a couple seconds - I already answered the question I posed in PM.

presumed answer


For any N set, there will always be 2 units that have an identical smallest distance, thus facing each other.

Mycah: I can generally forward on any resume to the internal referral process. Here’s what I said to two friends today: “Send me your final resume if you haven?t already submitted it and I?ll pass it along. But I only get to do this once, so make sure it?s final copy.” Generally keyword searches are used at some point just due to system volume, but it’s likely going to be hand-reviewed by one or two people first too and then at later points too. Note that it’ll likely be scanned and processed as text at some point.

If you bullshit on your technical skills in a resume to Microsoft, you’ve shot yourself in the foot. It’s going to cast everything else in doubt if you get questioned on it and fail.

What do you do? In the worst case scenario, it’s not typically too hard to get into local contracting gigs through Volt and that kind of thing.

It can be hard to get an initial interview. At that point, you’re on your own in the best possible way: every class you skipped, every test you did on shrooms, none of that matters. All that matters is what you can demonstrate about your intellect in the course of a series of interviews.

Translation: I can help get you in the door but after that - it’s up to you, Got it.

I honestly don’t think I’m ready yet - I’ve got a little over a year under my belt here at Yahoo as for what I do if your site or e-mail take a crap I get it running again, I’m still an entry level tech at the outsourced offices we have here in Houston, if working for Yahoo was a Mansion…I stay in the 2nd Guest House.

I have an offer from another webhosting company called Hostgator but they are still pretty fresh in the game, it wouldn’t be outsourced - I’d be in the main offices.

I’m going to point my GF in the direction of Microsoft’s Marketing Division, this girl could sell water to a well, the offcial list of job offers are…

BET, Jet, Ebony, Essence, Starbucks, City of Cleveland, City of Honolulu, The Marianne Group, etc.

That’s a start, but that’s not a complete proof. For example, why is it true for any odd number of soldiers but not even numbers?

I’m not sure I understand the question at this point. Why is what true?
1- -4
1- -3
or a star/spoke formation … :confused: I don’t think you’re communicating the question you’re trying to ask clearly. Then again, neither did I, so maybe we’re all even. :smile:

Ok, I’ll rephrase the question:

There are an odd number of marines stationed on an exercise. They pick a spot and stand still. The distance between every pair of marines is different. Each marine watches his nearest neighbor. Prove that at least one marine is not being watched.

The marines aren’t ordered in any kind of pattern or anything. They are just each in a location, which may be completely arbitrary, and each marine has to look at the closest marine to him. You have to show that there is always at least one marine that no one is watching.