Technical

Facebook and Microsoft Phone Interviews


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Although I’m at the beginning of my life, and I don’t have a lot of business experience, I managed to post here my gained experience throughout my only two interviews I had till now. One of them was with Microsoft from about 4 months –for an internship-, and the other was with Facebook, only a week ago.

Before talking about the interview, you have to prepare an attractive CV that gives a very good first impression for the recruiter. Know that, the recruiter won’t give your CV more than 10 seconds if he/she took a bad first impression. I may prepare another post about “How to Write an Attractive CV” isA.

Here are some bullets that summarize my experience and some guides lines:

  1. Be Full Of Confidence”, believe me, you are very good and you’ll pass the interview successfully isA, it’s just a few minutes to pass it, let those minutes pass.
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    Guide: You have nothing to lose, you are just going to gain a lot of experience through the interview. I always remember my elder brother -Zikas- quote; “The interviews are just a chain of failures that ends with a success”.
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  2. English, English, English,…It’s very important to be very good in English, speaking, listening and writing, you have to be able to make discussions in English easily and without being nervous. You have to be ready at any time to have a call with an interviewer from USA. At my first interview I heard someone talking with me and he said “您好,這裡是微軟的招聘人員” :D, I hardly understood that this was a “yes or no” question, so I answered him “yes yes” :D, and he proceeded asking me, but the issue became easier later : ))
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    Guide: Know that you are Arabian, and the interviewer knows that very well, he doesn’t expect someone who talks like Americans, so feel free to ask the interviewer to say the question or the sentence again if you didn’t hear him/her well.
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    Guide: Make a rehearsal with your friends, ask a friend of yours –who’s excellent in English- to make a phone call with you, and let him talk with you for a 30 minutes. You may let him ask you the frequently asked questions.
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  3. You have to search for articles on the web that summarize what you can prepare before the interview for the company you are going to applying for.
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    Guide: The interview requirements differ from a company to another, study the type of questions you are going to be asked depending on the company you are going to apply for. You can ask a friend, search on the web, do anything, …

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  4. Regardless your level in English, prepare a paper(s) with some points that you might need during the interview.
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    Guide: Only prepare bullets, not full sentences, Never let the interviewer feels that you are reading from a paper.
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    Guide: Train, train, train to reply to the frequently asked questions very well. It’s not enough to know that you’ll be asked X, it’s more important to know how to answer this X question in a professional way.
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  5. Don’t talk like a robot. (Be flexible)
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    Guide: Don’t make it a one-way-call, don’t talk talk talk, make it something like a discussion, ask the interviewer for his opinion, you may even joke with him/her sometimes.
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  6. Which team/department do you want to join inside Koko Company?
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    Guide: Study the company very well, know the teams working there, know the departments, or even tell him I’m interested in joining the team work in XYZ such that XYZ is your area of interest.
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  7. When will you be available to join us? Will it be fine with you to join us on mm/yy? (Availability)
    For graduates who’ll apply for full-time, when will you be able to know your military status?
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    Guide: Check your coming events in the summer or after graduation.
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    Guide: Know when will your military status be defined depending on your birth date (1st/2nd half).
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  8. It’s much better to receive the call on Land line, the voice will be much better and clearer. If you can’t receive it on land line, try to talk using headphone to be able to hear from two ears instead of one. Also to free your hands and to be able to write anything -notes, code, …- during the call.
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    Guide: For me, the best thing to make the call on Skype, I think most of interviewers have no mind for that. You can ask for that in the confirmation mail before the interview itself.

There are some frequently asked questions in MS and FB interviews.
(Note: I’m only talking about the first interview, which is the HR interview)

  1. Introduce youself!
    Let me know more about yourself!
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    I consider this question as one of the hardest to improvise, you have to know yourself very well, know how to talk about yourself, about your achievements, about your interests. Prepare them in a paper and be ready to talk about yourself in a way that attracts the interviewer and gives him the impression that he is talking with someone unique, someone differs from others. know that, It’s all about how to market yourself!
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  2. Why are you interested in joining Koko company?
    Why are you interested in getting an internship in Koko company?
    (Must be asked, and always is the first to be asked)
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    You have to know the company in which you are applying to very well; you have to know why you are interested in joining Koko Company. Prepare a list of reasons that made you interested.
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  3. What can you add to Koko company?
    Why do you think we have to employ you in Koko company?
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    Guide: Here you have to divide and categorize your answer into two sections:

    • Some points that show what are your points of strengthen -both technical and soft skills-.
    • Some points that show your deep knowledge about the needs of Koko company, and how you are suitable to satisfy these needs.

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  4. What’s your technical background?
    What’s your background?
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    Guide: From my point of view, you can list your background as follows:
    • _____ Courses you studied in the faculty. (Algorithms, Data Structures, SW Engineering, … etc. ) List about 10-15 course!
    • _____ Languages you know. (C++, C#, Java, HTML, PHP, … etc.)
    • _____ Technologies and Concepts (Agile development, Game programming, … etc.)
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  5. What was the best project for you to work in?
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    To professionally answer this question(What?), prepare a good, clear and brief description for this project that sounds well without going into deep details.
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    Guide: Take care! You’ll be asked “What was your role in this project?”, try to specify briefly and clearly your role in this project in case of team working.
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  6. Why do you think this was the best project for you to work in?
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    Guide: Prepare a list of reasons that made this project the best for you. Improvising -for me- is not good in this questions, It increases the chance for forgetting important and attractive details that is of course very important.
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  7. Did you face any problems working in this project?
    He is expecting “yes”, that’s why he’ll ask you.
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  8. How did you overcome those problems?
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  9. What was the maximum number of lines you wrote in a project?
    Guide: He is expecting something like X thousands (Don’t say, “hmmmmm, I don’t remember, but may be 200″ :D)
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  10. After finishing the questions, you will be asked, “Do you have any questions?”, This is a very important question, Never say “No, Thanks”, Ask him any question that gives him the impression that you are very interested and that you care about the opportunity, for example:
    • _____ How can I prepare myself for the next interview?
    • _____ What topics shall I revise and cover before the next interview?
    • _____ Guide: Don’t be solid, don’t you all ask him/her the same question (balash 7efz :D)

You may be asked some easy technical questions like:
(Guide: Generally, try to make your answers simple and direct, don’t act like Egyptians please 😀 :D)

  1. What’s “deadlock” ?
  2. What’s the difference between “classes” and “structs”?
  3. What’s the difference between “thread” and “process”?
  4. What’s “good code” from your point of view? (always asked in MS interviews)
    Take care, there is no ideal answer, but he only wants to know more about your mind, although there are main factors that defines good code, for example:
    • _____ Bug free
    • _____ Readable and commented
    • _____ Runs on multiple platforms
    • _____ and more … (don’t tell him “and more” : P)
  5. So, how can you measure your code efficiency?
    Guide: Try to match most of the previous answer points!

For Microsoft internship interviews, you may be asked a testing question, It won’t be a code testing, it’ll be as follows:

  • You are given a product X (Elevator, Pepsi Machine, Microwave, … etc.), how will you test this product?
  • You may be asked, “How to test if a stack is working fine?

The golden rule here, is to

  • Take your time in thinking!
  • Be creative!
  • Imagine yourself in the real life and you are testing this product!
  • You have to know that, to test any product:
    • Start with normal and happy scenarios and test cases. (Don’t start with “we’ll test how it’ll act under fires and strong hits” 😀 )
    • Then proceed with unhappy scenarios (You may also categorize the unhappy cases, try to be systematic during the testing as much as you can) 
      • Fires
      • Wrong presses on buttons (Invalid inputs)
      • Electric cutoff
      • Push in full stack and pop from empty one.
      • ….

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– Here’s another helpful post written by Zikas.
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The last thing to say and the most important one to care of, is to know that, this is “rezq” and ALLAH will give you your “rezq” whatever, wherever and whenever it is! Don’t be sad if you didn’t do well, you’ll not pay a “sa7tot”, and you’ll just learn and gain a lot.

Feel free to add and post your experience in the replies : )


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41 thoughts on “Facebook and Microsoft Phone Interviews

  1. You know what’s best about your post?
    Not just the marvelous helpful content ..
    More than that, I’m really happy with your “Will-to-share” … I can predict that it took you no less than 3 hours writing this post.

    Thanks Amr, and don’t ever stop posting.

  2. ربنا يوفقك للفيه الخير و البوست جميل جدا و خبرة كويسة جدا انك اكتسبتها و نقلتها للاخرين جزاك الله خيرا :))

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  4. Nice mon zalama. The most point I suffered from is the first. I wouldn’t call it confidence, but more of unnecessary tension.
    Also if you’re not speaking with someone from MS, don’t make them feel that you use MS tools a lot and vice versa. And at any case, make them feel that you are a computer geek. Someone like Ziko in terms of being excited about software technologies.

  5. MSA To7faaaaaa gedan el post de bgd (Y)
    Jazakom Allah khiran : ))

    w f3ln f3ln f3ln fe nas keter mabt7bsh tshare 7aga 3ashan hia tb2a bs ela7san !
    bs el7a2e2a en Rabena msh biwaf2hom zay elly bidel elnas w bisa3d elnas 😀
    Rabena ywaf2k ISA w ykremk w keep it up b2a (Y)

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  7. very great post ya maw maw 😀
    isA accepted !
    Another advice specially in technical interviews:
    أهم حاجة إنك توضح للي قدامك إذاي بتفكر حتي لو إنت بتهري في الجوافة. الراجل بيكون مستمتع و إنت بتهري
    أهم حاجة إنك متخليهاش توسع منك أوي
    I liked the background of your Blog btw 😀 make me one ba2a!

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