Microsoft Software Engineering Manager Interview Questions

Microsoft was created by Bill Gates with a vision that every home should have a computer. Microsoft is a renowned tech company having various software products, the best known being the windows line of operating systems. The company was ranked 21 in the 2020 fortune 500, for being the world’s largest software maker by revenue in 2019. Let us see some interview questions for Microsoft Software Engineering Manager.

Microsoft Software Engineering Manager Interview Questions

Microsoft Software Engineering Manager Interview

Microsoft software engineering manager interviews are very challenging, it has tricky interview questions specific to Microsoft and while preparing for it you should cover almost all the topics. While prepping for the interview you should have the basic information about the interview process, requirements of the company, types of questions asked and furthermore. The right preparation method can help you in getting your dream job as a software engineering manager at Microsoft. The ultimate guide to cracking the interview is given below.

Interview process and timeline:

The interview procedure takes three to eight weeks. Given below are the steps followed by the company:

Expected rounds of interviews:

Resume screen:

Here the recruiters will observe and assess your resume to know whether your experiences are relevant to the position. It is one of the most competitive steps, people often do not make it past this stage.

Recruiter phone screen:

The procedure at Microsoft begins with a call from the HR recruiter. The call is to know more about the candidates’ backgrounds and to confirm that you have the chance of getting a job. You should be prepared to answer some behavioural questions like “tell me about yourself”, “why did you apply to Microsoft” etc. If you make it past the call, the recruiter schedules your first interview round and gives a briefing for the same.

Onsite interviews:

Once you pass the first round of interviews, you’re invited onsite for four to six interview rounds lasting for 40-45 mins each. These are one-to-one interviews with the team you will be joining and sometimes includes a senior executive. The candidate should be prepared for a mix of system design, coding and behavioural questions.

The “as appropriate” interview:

This interview is with the senior executive or hiring manager. It is also known as an “AA or ASAPP interview” as you’re only asked for it if you clear the previous three interview rounds. The interviewers have two roles here. Firstly they are to ensure that there is no blind spot in your assessment. Secondly, the interviewer has to make sure that you accept the offer if you have done well in the previous three interviews.

What are the requirements of Microsoft? 

You are graded by the interviewer at the end of each interview round based on your performance. The standardized form contains information like interview notes, competencies assessment(problem-solving, creativity, analytical ability and passion for technology) hiring recommendations, and suggested follow-ups.

Microsoft Software Engineering Manager Interview Questions

Usually, three types of interview questions are asked when applying for the role of software engineering manager at Microsoft. These are as follows:

Behavioural questions:

To assess your past experiences and ability to carry out projects. These questions are easy to prepare for and should not be ignored because many candidates fail the  Microsoft interview due to a lack of preparation for behavioural questions. Examples of behavioural questions are given below:

  1. Why are you applying to Microsoft?
  2. Why did you apply for this role? 
  3. Which is your favourite Microsoft product and how can you improve it?
  4. Tell me about an incident where you learned from your past mistakes. 
  5. Are you open to new ideas?
  6. Tell me about an incident where you helped your teammate solve a problem with a new approach.
  7. What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
  8. Tell me about an event where you managed someone’s performance.
  9. What is the difference between managing managers and managing individual contributors?
  10. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
  11. Have you ever made an unpopular decision? If yes, when?
  12. How would you disagree with your manager?

System design questions:

To test your technical knowledge, thought process and knowledge of scaling and architecture. Microsoft has numerous monthly active users, thus it is expected the company’s engineers to be able to design scalable systems. Most of the system-design questions are open-ended questions. The candidate should be prepared to design any type of product or system at a high level. Given below are some examples of system design questions:

  1. how would you design Instagram?
  2. Can you design an OpenTable?
  3. Explain the working of buffer overflow.
  4. Explain the working of ALB.

Coding questions:

To test your problem-solving skills and assess whether you have a structured thought process or not. It is the least reported question type for engineering managers. Your interviewer makes sure that your technical skills are sharp enough to manage teamwork. The interviewer assesses whether you can think in a structured way and write code accurately without any bugs, and quickly. Some examples of coding questions are as follows:

  1. For a given sequence of size N, determine a code to print the original.
  2. For a given array of positive integers, write a code that computes the sum of the elements.
  3. Write a function to locate and delete duplicate elements from an ordered array.
  4. Given an unordered array of integers, write a program that finds a contiguous subarray whose sum is equal to the given one.
  5. For two unsorted arrays in ascending order, write a code to merge them such that the new array is in ascending order.
  6. Write a program that returns the longest palindrome substring of a given string.
  7. Write a program that will delete duplicate letters from a string.
  8. Write a code to convert a given string into a palindrome.
  9. For a given string L: write code to remove successive identical characters recursively.

How to prepare?

There are certain tips to keep in mind when preparing for an interview at Microsoft:

Learn about the culture of Microsoft:

Before beginning to prepare Microsoft interview, it’s important to learn about the company, know about the culture of Microsoft, the strategy followed by Microsoft, the annual reports of Microsoft etc.

Practice by yourself:

Practice as many questions as you can including behavioural questions, system design questions and coding questions. It’s important to brush up on your basic concepts.

Practice with peers:

Practising with peers is always beneficiary you get to know about your weak points and work on them. It is helpful if your friend has a background in engineering management.


Thus we conclude that the engineering manager interview at Microsoft is very challenging but can be cracked with well preparation and practice. Special emphasis should be on behavioural questions.

  1. How many rounds are there in a Microsoft interview?

There are 5 rounds in the Microsoft interview: screening interview (1 round) and onsite interview (4-5 rounds).

  1. Is a Microsoft interview very difficult to crack?

No, it is not very difficult to crack a Microsoft interview.

Microsoft Software Engineering Manager Interview Questions

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