Category Archives: Interviews

Ugh!! Volcano Ashes???

Aight bad news: Facebook rejected me although I solved Find Sophie. I do know that I couldn’t answer the algorithm question in their 2nd interview but they should have rejected me since, which would have saved me a lot of time on that puzzle. Well at least now I can help others who are trying to solve it so overall it was an OK experience.

Right now I’m still pretty swarmed with papers and projects but it’s been getting better. I should really look into buying ticket to go back home and also ship all my stuff back (yeah the desktop is gonna be a pain and I don’t wanna buy another one back home, it’s much more expensive!!!). Chinh and I are probably gonna get a container (not the whole big one but rather part of it). I don’t know how expensive that can be!! Any help here?

Anyway so besides the offer I got from the start-up iPhone app company back home, I applied to VNG Corp and the recruiter responded promptly. He sounds really nice and everything so it looks like a great company to work for. They have a LOT of perks, much to my surprise. I’ll try to land this job. Working for a gaming company is definitely fun and given that Facebook is blocked in Vietnam (I don’t know how people can still sneak through), VNG Corp might as well build their own social media framework. I was also very impressed since the company made the 1st EVAR Vietnamese MMORPG (trailer below):

OK aside from all the bad stuff happening, I read about this volcano ash incident (probably you’ve heard of it, but here’s what I found out). So basically, this volcano, named (I swear I didn’t make this up) Eyjafjallajokull (what were they thinking??), burst out and release a lot of lava and ashes. To my surprise, the ashes turned out to be a huge problem as all European airlines had to cancel their flights due to the potential damage from the ashes (oh snap!! Apocalypse flash back!!).

Volcano Ashes

Volcano Ashes

Now everything seems to be cool now. They restarted their airlines and this is a clip showing how COOL that looks (don’t worry about the dramatic background music):

I mean dang Europeans!! Someone’s travelling right now by the time I finish this post.

Oh I also had a conversation with my friend Pooja (she’s probably reading this) and apparently she’s the master of Illustrator. She’s an Art major and I was convincing her to turn her ideas in web designs and also keep track of a portfolio. It really comes in handy. Pj was reluctant since she didn’t really know HTML/CSS so I told her to grab a book and start learning cause that’s how people learn things. Well now come to think about it, I might start writing tutorials on HTML/CSS myself. I’m not really “Smokin’ Hot” at it but information sharing is beneficial.

Also huge thanks to people visiting my blog. I started writing this blog cause I almost killed myself over depression. No I didn’t j/k ^^. Well I wanna share my lifestories pretty much and knowing that there’re people reading this is pretty awesome!!! BTW my blog visit is hitting 3K soon. Hell yeah 3K baby!!!

Aight guys have fun and keep on rolling!!

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How to find Sophie… Facebook Puzzle

So I said I was gonna write about how to solve this puzzle since it took me quite a while to figure out. In case you guys don’t know, the puzzle is:

Find Sophie

After a long day of coding, you love to head home and relax with a loved one. Since that whole relationship thing hasn’t been working out for you recently, that loved one will have to be your cat, Sophie. Unfortunately you find yourself spending considerable time after you arrive home just trying to find her. Being a perfectionist and unable to let anything suboptimal be a part of your daily life, you decide to devise the most efficient possible method for finding Sophie.

Luckily for you, Sophie is a creature of habit. You know where all of her hiding places are, as well as the probability of her hiding in each one. You also know how long it takes you to walk from hiding place to hiding place. Write a program to determine the minimum expected time it will take to find Sophie in your apartment. It is sufficient to simply visit a location to check if Sophie is hiding there; no time must be spent looking for her at a location. Sophie is hiding when you enter your apartment, and then will not leave that hiding place until you find her. Your program must take the name of an input file as an argument on the command line.

So basically to sum up, you have list of places to find Sophie and each place has a probability of finding her. The probability of course sum up to 1 so you have to visit all the places to guarantee that you’ll find her.

This problem is very similar to Traveling Salesman (TSP Problem). In fact it’s called PTSP (Probabilistic Traveling Salesman Problem) and a simple Google on it will yield a whole bunch of results (mainly using Ant Colony Optimization and stuff). The problem takes O(n!) time to solve so brute force doesn’t work (it used to work for the Facebook Grader Bot but they recently made it harder).

Sophie... well not quite

Sophie... well not quite

I myself use something much simpler: Floyd-Warshall and Greedy backtracking algorithm. The general idea is to calculate all-pair shortest path so that you know what’s the shortest path going from 1 place to another. Then you just go down the tree, keep track of the minimum expected time. Once another branch produces an expected time that’s longer than the min expected time, backtrack immediately as going down further only increases the expected time.

You can find out about Floyd-Warshall here and Backtracking here. I’m not gonna put the source code here but if you need help just comment in this post and I’ll help you out! Aight have fun and keep on rolling guys!!

 

P.S: The source code is here for your reference.

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Social Media is cool… interview with Exxon Mobil

So my last post was about how social media can help you can get interviews and stuff. But admit it! Social media is cool. In fact it is the future of communications right there. New terms were coined from it (google, twitter, troll…) and you can just totally express yourselves on such means.

Another thing is, social is the future. In case you don’t realize, incorporating Facebook or Twitter or Digg is pretty much a must for any sorts of services or device. If your phone can’t go to Facebook, it kinda sucks. There’re even device specifically for Twitter (it’s not as useful as it sounds but it exists).

I mentioned this cause our school website recently incorporate Facebook, Twitter and YouTube officially on the front page and there are staff members who are in charge of updating them. Such means target young high school seniors looking for a good college so I think that’s a smooth move.

I myself do not enjoy reading very much. No worries cause YouTube has all sorts of tutorials, from making a cheesecake to fixing a car. I’m actually reading a book right now, called Socialnomics:

Socialnomics

Socialnomics

It’s pretty new and looks like a cool one so I’m definitely trying to read this.

Another trend I think is growing right now is geo-services, or the ability to locate/broadcast your station. If I’m blogging from home/campus, my post will be geo-tagged and the location will of course show up along with it. You can share your location and everything with GPS in your phone. Well of course I don’t want people to know where I am ALL the time but I can definitely change the settings around.

Social media services themselves of course realize this trend and try to integrate into each other. Facebook is doing a pretty good job with it since it released its frameworks and allows developers to write games/plugins. Single-player game is becoming kinda obsolete now cause you can’t show off your cool “badges” or achievements your earned to your gamer crew.

Even Apple is building its own Social Gaming Network for the iPhone. Steve Jobs talked about it during the iPhone OS 4 preview last week (2 weeks?). iPhone games are small and fun so multi-player would be a pretty cool feature to incorporate.

So those are the cool stuff. What’s up w/ me? I just interviewed with Exxon Mobil and it was purely behavioral. I think the company focuses a lot of teamworks so most of the questions were about team situations. Those are the stuff they asked me

  1. Tell me about an experience where you have to make a decision to choose 1 thing over the other.
  2. Tell me about an experience where there’s a member in your team totally changed your workflow.
  3. Tell me about an experience where there’s a sudden change halfway in the direction of the project.
  4. What are you most satisfied/dissatisfied of?

So all behavioral!! I talked a lot about the projects I’m working on: MetaDB, iLafayette and senior project. It’s really hard to tell whether I did fine or not. I’m also an international student so the HR was kinda hesitant. Well we’ll see how that goes.

Aight guys have fun and keep on rolling!!

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LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter… how to get interviews

So I realized that I got a lot of interviews from big companies and I’m not bragging or anything but I’m pretty proud of it. I bombed a lot of them probably because those companies were big and I was not smart and qualified enough to work there. However I do wanna share my experience on how I got so many interviews.

Anyway so I interviewed with the following companies:

  1. Google
  2. Facebook
  3. Microsoft
  4. Amazon
  5. Bloomberg
  6. Cisco
  7. Credit Suisse
  8. Deloitte
  9. IBM
  10. HP
  11. Yodle
  12. Nuance
  13. GE Energy

So about 30% of those don’t offer working VISA and for software engineer the contract is unlimited so no VISA = no offer. Some of them I interviewed with and just never got back to me and I think it’s just not professional at all.

Anyway, I think you gotta be really proactive in search for jobs so here how I did it:

1. Utilize your honor society: If you’re in 1, good for you. Exploit it!! Since you’re in an honor society chances are you can skip the phone screen part already. The guy I talked to at Amazon was 1 of the co-founder for his Epsilon Pi Upsilon chapter so he knew it and I got my interview from him.

2. Make full use of social media: It’s way more important than you think. A lot of companies use social media like LinkedIn to recruit people. Update your profile there in full details. Link it to your Fb and Twitter accounts. Be active on it. I started writing my blog as a journal so that I won’t forget things I spent 3 days doing research for and it’s very useful.

3. Tweeeet!!!: Twitter is important. Why? cause jobs are twittered every 5 minutes. I kept a Twitter client open all the time and follow LinkedIn Jobs account and trust me they tweet new jobs so regularly I can’t keep up with. Once I go to sleep, by the time I wake up there would be well more than 300 new jobs. Most are irrelevant but a lot are good positions.

4. Join professional societies/networks: I’ve mentioned this before: NSBE, SHPE and again, professional groups on LinkedIn and Facebook. Their career fairs are really great opportunities to meet employers and although those are not free, it’s totally worthy.

5. Buff your resume: Buff it up! Resume is the 1st step in getting interviews and if it’s not good enough, no matter how cool and smart you are you won’t even get to step on the door.

6. Maintain a portfolio: Give a more detailed view of your work and projects. Put those up on your website since your resume can only say so much.

So I guess those are the important stuff. Once you got the interviews it’s all up to your true ability to get through. I haven’t been doing so well and I’m still working on it. Aight guys hope you enjoy my tips, have fun and keep on rolling!!!

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Facebook Puzzles… Youtube Playlist

So after I bombed that Facebook interview, the HR sent me an email telling me to do 1 of their puzzles so I’m not completely out of the game yet (shocking, right?). Anyway in case you don’t know Facebook maintain a whole bunch of coding puzzles with different difficulties and also a lot of Framework came from there. You can check out right here: Facebook Puzzles

The HR requested me to do one of the BUFFET-level puzzles, which are ranked the hardest. There are 3 and I did research on all of them:

  1. Dinosaur Island: you have to program a client that controls a dinosaur living on Facebookland. It can be either herbivore or carnivore. You have to stay alive as long as possible and your dinosaur can lay eggs and stuff… You can read more details in the link here
  2. Find Sophie: Sophie is your cat and you have to find it. You have a list of locations where it can hide with probability and time moving between each location. This is similar to the Traveling Salesman Problem (very famous) so I picked this one. You can check it out right here.
  3. FaceBull: I heard this one is the hardest so I didn’t really dig deep into it. But the link is here.

Apparently Facebook has a list of people who solved those and got hired so it’s another way of weeding out applicants. Once I solved it, they’ll evaluate my code and determine whether I can move on. They said I have unlimited time but the sooner I complete, the sooner the process can go on.

BTW Facebook is definitely THE FASTEST company that ever replied to me. My 1st interview was last Monday and I got scheduled the 2nd one on Monday night. The 2nd one was on Friday and reply was on Friday night. Dang!! Talking about HR productivity right there.

So I said I’ll talk about my Youtube playlist so here it is:

  • The 2nd part is comedy Youtubers. It’s not (totally) staged and very raw, funny as well. I watch EqualsThree where the guy named Ray William Johnson talks about viral videos every week, pretty funny, WongFu Production is also pretty funny too (Asian jokes lol). KassemG is also funny but kinda R-Rated.
  • Gaming and Music: I recently subscribed to AppleGirl002 cause she’s cute (I’m not gonna lie), can sing and uses iPhone to remix songs. MarieDigby is also very talented, same with Beatboxer Big Chocolate, Kathy Nguyen (she’s cute too). In terms of gaming, I watched a lot of Starcraft 2 replays with annotation (HDStarcraft is a good channel).

So there you go. Thanks a lot for visiting my blog (I’m hitting 2000 hits soon surprisingly lol). Have fun and keep on rolling!!

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Bad day…

Gosh today was such a bad day for me T_T I had my 2nd interview with Facebook and I bombed it… literally messed up. The interview was pretty straight forward but I couldn’t solve the algorithm question. Needless to say I felt like crap afterwards. Besides, our iLafayette talk got turned down by our CS Department Head due to “lack of CS standpoints”… my friend Khine and I were like “wth are those?” You know who I’m talking about. We were really pissed off since it’s the 2nd time we got sabotaged already. We submitted this outline and he said it lacks “CS standpoints”…

Anyway, regardless of how awful I did in the interview I’ll still wanna share the questions in case you guys are interviewing with Facebook as well. My interviewer was from Facebook mobile team and he was in charge of Fb mobile and now Fb for iPhone.

1. What is the change you would like to see most on Facebook? I talked about the chat feature cause apparently it is super buggy and errors just keep popping up. I talked about making it more stable and comprehensive to enhance real-time communication. I also mention being able to drag content from the page to the chat window and implement real-time text rendering like Google Wave. Then I went on talking about social media trend and such tool can be useful yet put quite a load into the site itself.

2. What are the changes you’d wanna make to Facebook for iPhone? I talked about native video support cause Fb right now doesn’t have it. It does have built-in browser to view Youtube videos but not native. I talked a bit about multi-tasking on iPhone is not available on old ones so quitting the app is not a good option. Then I talked about implementing the omni-bar on Fb for iPhone also (omni-bar is a search bar that searches everything and display more than just name, like the one in normal Facebook website). Then I talked about how useful it would be for people having the same names but different network and all that.

3. Technical question: How do you turn a binary tree into a circular double-linked list? The output should be the pointer to the smallest element in the tree and the algorithm should do it in place. I got stuck here trying to use recursion and flipping the tree and everything… couldn’t figure out how to do it. I googled the answer and the algorithm was pretty complicated to do in-place and pointer switching. After that I felt like crap.

That was it for 45 minutes and he said they’ll get back to me soon but I know for sure I bombed this already. Although its weekends Haruki and I still gotta debug MetaDB since our boss is having a big presentation soon. We were doing that until 4.am in the morning…

Anyway hopefully your day was much better than mine. I just felt so bad right now I just feel the need to complain about it. Don’t let my mood drag you down. Have fun and keep on rolling! Imma watch some YouTube now… hopefully I’ll feel better. Next time I’ll talk about some shows I watch on Youtube.

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iLafayette talk next Wednesday… interview with Facebook

So our project iLafayette has been going for a while and it’s time we kinda reveal it in more details to the whole campus. Khine and I plan to have a talk about it next Wednesday (April 21st) in AEC 500 at noon so drop by if your interested. I’m also graduating so we’re definitely seeking students helping out with this project including designing interfaces, icons, navigations and features.

We are planning to kinda make a “trailer” about our app but in the mean time you can check out the features right here. We do offer prototype build and instructions and if you wanna pop it on your iPhone and test it out.

Also Haruki and I are having another talk tomorrow in AEC 500 at noon about our MetaDB project so I’d really appreciate if you can come and support us. MetaDB is essentially a CMS that manages sensitive images and their metadata (author, title, description and such). The talk would be a little bit technical so just a heads up.

Facebook

Facebook

Now move on! I just had my 1st interview with Facebook and I think I did ok. Here’s how it goes:

We started off with the normal introduction stuff. The interviewer told me that it’s gonna be half technical half behavioral. Then he started with a behavioral question:

1. What are you passionate about? I told him about learning new technology and rapid-prototyping, turning ideas into reality and also support those statements with my iLafayette project and MetaDB

2. Can you talk a bit more about the iPhone project you just mentioned? I started describing the needs, features and designs and how we came up with it and what we wanna do with it.

3. Can you talk a bit more about the technical aspect of the project? So I mentioned how the app is divided into widgets and each mines its own data. I also pull out an example about directory search and how we plan to rank information differently (like name will be rank higher than email/phone number so that name will be searched first) and how data got parsed.

4. Any technical challenges? I talked about working in a small team of 2 people with a long list of features, also the school is changing its infrastructure so we’re just prototyping UI/UX first, then design the backend later. I also mentioned we had to deal with multiple different APIs like Drupal, Banner Self-Service and such.

5. What do you see Facebook in 5/10 years? I talked about the ability to integrate into different social media networks, ability to write a lot of plugins and apps, improvement in chat window and also UI/UX cause Facebook kept giving me random error pop-ups.

6. Technical: How do you find a small string in a big string? We used collabedit to code and it’s actually pretty smooth. It has code highlighting for a lot of languages. I talked about the naive solution of iterating through every character and check the substring from that character. I started coding with a simple Java functions, put in all boundary cases and stuff.

7. Technical: Now how do you find a small string in a file? Pretty much the same thing except for reading from input stream instead. I used an array buffer which iterates through and read each substring. He mentioned I can read 1 char instead of the whole substring. I told him about the fact that array is static and I have to shift all characters back 1 to make space for the new char so generally it’s the same. He suggested me to choose a different data structure. I said I’ll use LinkedList and just keep track of head and tail pointer then there’s no shifting and it’s also faster. Keep in mind there’re also extra overhead in wrapping the char in Node element.

Facebook

Facebook

Besides, I also mentioned that there’s no point checking if the number of characters left is less than the query itself so I put in the length check. He asked me to explain it and I mentioned the tradeoff of having extra condition checking but it might be worth it if the query is long and the file is small.

8. Technical: How do you recursively check for a small string in a folder? I kinda made a mistake here of identifying the wrong base case. I thought it’s the case when there’re no subfolders inside the folder but I figured out I was wrong and made the fix. I started coding and iterate through all items in the folder and just recursively calling the check function in that. The base case is that the folder is just a file.

I kept track of a found boolean while iterating through and he asked why I needed it, shouldn’t I just return directly and I was like “yeah that’s right”… but hold on, I changed my mind and explaining to him that if I return directly then it’ll return false when not found at the 1st item without iterating through so he was like oh yeah I understand now. I apologized for not explaining in details.

And that was it! I later figured out a bug that I should have set found boolean to false initially instead of true but it was too late. I should have explained about the linkedlist a bit more. Well nervousness kicked in and I made mistakes. Hopefully this will be helpful to whoever is doing technical interview. Drop a comment if you guys want, I’d really appreciate it. I was also contacted by Google again today and I’ve set up a phone call with them tomorrow. Yup, that’s what’s up!

In the mean time, have fun and keep on rolling!!

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Extravaganza coming up… interview with Google

In case you guys don’t know, our annual Extravaganza is coming up and it’s gonna be a blast as always. Extravaganza is pretty much the talent show + cultural activities + brownbag for international students. I’m doing 2 performances before I graduate so that’s part of why I’ve been busy.

Anyway so I did interviewed with Microsoft and got no offer T_T I was sorta expecting it since it was really hard. I also did interviewed with Google and the experience was slightly better but the questions were tougher. So how did I get it?

I first applied to Google for internship 2 years ago but it was IT position and it was not a match for me. I did 2 phone interviews with them and didn’t get it afterwards. The good thing about Google is they actually READ your resume if you submitted online through their career site. They do respond pretty quickly too.

After that I went to SHPE Conference fall semester and in order to participate you have to submit your resume. Now after I did that I was scouted by a recruiter from Google and she gave me a gift card to come to the conference. I got a REALLY NICE portfolio with that gift card (all fancy leather and stuff) so I was pretty happy. The process is pretty much the same like Microsoft, a bit less interviews though.

1. Phone Screen 1: Now pretty much every company does phone screen to weed out a lot of candidates. Big companies do a lot of phone screens, smaller companies do less, easy as that. The 1st phone screen starts with really basic stuff which I did have to review. They asked basic data structures and algorithms and optimization, you know the usual. They also asked me about my projects and everything.

2. Phone Screen 2: Similar to phone screen 1 with more challenging questions. They always try to push you beyond limit to test your creativity and analysis skills and all that. Since those are all technical, if you felt like you did well, there’s a high chance you’ll move forward. Otherwise you’re cut.

3. On-site Interview 1: Now Google is in Mountain View, CA. California is my dream place to be since the weather is totally awesome. Needless to say it was blizzard in Easton but CA was just sunny all the time. But here’s how the adventure went:

I got booked for a round-trip ticket and but there was no economy left so I was flown FIRST CLASS. I was really really excited since it’s the 1st and probably the only time I would get 1st class. The chair was huge, food was awesome, personal flight attendant and all that.

When I arrived at SFO, I was picked up by a LIMO. Hell yeah it was awesome. The driver was actually a CS major also and he’s working part-time. He’s investing on his HD camera project, hoping to make big bucks and everything. I respect him for taking the risk.

I didn’t remember the hotel I was staying in but my room was as big and my campus dorm room + the lounge. Once I checked in, Google gave me a credit card to spend (of course there’s a limit), a huge travel bag and another portfolio (so I have 2 portfolios from Google already). The best part was that there’s a Vietnamese restaurant right across the street and that was where I landed my first meal. Awesome!!

It was Google College Day where they gather all the college students and interview them. It was really intimidating since I was the only one from a school that nobody else knew. Everyone else was from Stanford, Harvard, CMU, M.I.T… Scary!!! The bus that picked us up was sorta like a limo bus where there’re huge seats and tables and everything.

Google campus might not be as big as Microsoft, but definitely fun. They have a dinosaur right in the middle and their cafes are free with pretty decent food.

My 1st interview with them was OO stuff. The interviewer grind me on OO concepts with some trick questions and stuff. Then he asked me to solve a simple problem which I misunderstood a bit and screwed up. That was not fun.

4. On-site Interview 2: The 2nd guy walked in, 15 mins after the 1st guy finished. He was kinda unprepared since he told me he didn’t think of the questions beforehand. After a while he asked me an open-ended question about designing a server and how to account for failure and backups and everything. It was open-ended so I had no idea how I did.

5. Final on-site interview: The 3rd guy was actually pretty nice. He is in charge of Chrome and he started asking me about how to check if the URL is a bad one from Google’s list cause Chrome has that feature. Then he started asking about how to optimize for latency, different algorithms and such. Then he was trying to explain to me an algorithm called Bloom Filter which I have never heard of and needless to say I was stuck.

After that stressful period they gave us a tour around Google campus and gave us free massage. Then I left to explore San Francisco and see my friend Martin in Stanford. Stanford is huge and awesome, definitely 1 of the best places to study.

Anyway I didn’t get an offer but I was contacted by Google recruiters 4 times ever since to ask me to interview. Everytime they called I had to tell them I was rejected and I know Google’s policy does not allow a candidate to reapply after rejection until 6 months after. I don’t to waste both their time and mine so I just came upfront.

So that was my Google experience, definitely once in a lifetime and totally valuable. Aight guys have fun and keep on rolling!!

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Suddenly got busy… experience with Microsoft interviews

So this week suddenly becomes super busy for me. I’m performing for Extravaganza this weekend so practice has been pretty stressful. I also have a paper due on Monday and this writing class has been so tough for me. The paper is about Theories of Religion and apparently they use really old English with complicated sentence structure.

But anyway I’m gonna dedicate this post to describe how challenging and stressful technical interviews are. In case you don’t know, there’re technical and behavioral interviews. Behavioral interviews are the types of questions like: “What’s your greatest failure?” or “Tell me about an experience that you blah blah”. I believe that type is more for like consultant, business analyst and such. However the point is, you can b.s to a certain degree.

Technical interviews, on the other hand, are challenging and stressful. It can be open-ended, but most of the time it’s not. BTW I’m kinda talking about CS specifically. Technical questions are more stressful cause I guarantee if you can’t answer it, you’ll feel sooo bad that you just wanna kill yourself and of course the awkward silence would kick in.

A typical Software Engineering recruiting process is like this: in order to get in Microsoft, you’ll need around 8 interviews. Same with Google. Smaller companies typically have around 2 – 3 phone screen and on-site full-day 3-4 interviews. I went to both Microsoft and Google and both were super hard. Take Microsoft for example:

1. Pre-screen interview 1: I talked to a Microsoft PM at SHPE Conference. She went over my resume, asked a few basic questions on my projects and bam!!! “What’s the different between Linked List and Array?” After that was a series of 2 – 3 more basic technical questions that you learned from CS103 but pretty much rarely use them later on.

2. Pre-screen interview 2: After that conversation I was asked for an interview right at the conference at around 3:00p.m so I had like 2 hrs to do w/e I wanna do. Of course the interview would be all technical as well. Pretty much algorithms, data structures and optimization stuff. You have to solve problem right there and HAND-CODE your solutions.

3. Phone Screen Interview 1: I guess I did well so I was scheduled for a phone screen where they you Windows Live Meeting so that you can LIVE-CODE your solutions and they’ll verify it right then and there. You also have to TALK WHILE CODING, explaining your algorithms, tell them about design trade-offs that you make, compare runtime of data structures you choose. Everything counts and the interviewer won’t tell you ur wrong even if you are. They expect you to figure out yourself.

4. Phone Screen Interview 2: Similar settings with harder questions and problems. If you do well you’ll get flown to Redmond, WA for on-site interview.

5. On-site Interview 1: Now Microsoft is HUGE… literally. I think they spend approximately $1500 on each candidate including flights and hotels. I was in Hilton Bellevue for 2 nights and each night costs around $350. Flight ticket was around $350 round-trip. Food and everything else will get reimbursed. They DO know how to treat candidates really nicely.

Anyway, my 1st on-site interview was with Bing search team and he was asking me about SQL, which I was not so strong at since I was in charge more of the front end for my webapp. The interviewer kept pushing you beyond your limit so that they can assess your skills accurately. The questions were hard and the setting was stressful.

6. Lunch Interview: I had lunch with another guy from the same team. We ate for like 15 minutes and the rest was hard-core “discussing” about low-level Java language and all that.

7. On-site Interview 2: It was a brainteaser/puzzle that I didn’t know how to answer. He tried to give me hints but there was a trick that he refused to tell me and if you know the trick it’s done. Needless to say that was bad.

8. Final On-site Interview: The interviewer asked me a small question to code while he’s reading my resume. Apparently he was not very well-prepared. Then he asked me a question about partitioning the Earth and locating the closest gas station to his house while maintaining latency and such. It was an open-ended question which he said I did fine, but made a stupid mistake on the earlier easier one.

The interviewers also keep track of what others have asked so they won’t ask the same thing. Overall very stressful but worthy experience cause I did learn something. The hotel and city were very nice, definitely a good place to work in. Alright so that was my experience with Microsoft interviews. Tell me about urs!! Have fun and keep on rolling!

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