Who would have thought, i would get a call from Microsoft. But one fine day in October, my phone rings when i am driving to work at about 8:25am CST. Voice on the other end identifies himself and says he is calling from MSN. The word “MSN” shocked me and while he was giving me his introduction, i told him, i am driving right now and i will be pulling over shortly. Once i took the exit and pulled into a parking lot, he explained me the position of Quick Launch Marketing Analyst (QMA) and asked me some basic questions. While he was asking questions, i could not believe MSN is calling me and inquiring about my background in search industry. After the phone call was over, we set up the day and time for the first phone screen. Right after the conversation was over, i was overwhelmed by what had just happened. I could not contain myself, i wanted to get out of my car and jump around. After getting hold of myself in few moments, i continue my way to my work, with lots of thoughts going through my mind.
1st Phone Interview (phone screen): Before the day of the phone interview, i forwarded a fresh copy of my resume to the recruiter and made certain that this wasn’t a interview which involved technical questions. On the day of the interview, I left my work few mins early for lunch and got into my car and drop myself to a quite place in the company’s parking lot. I set there, ready to go with my handsfree and my car off and with a pen and a notepad. Time is 11:55am, i still have 5 mins. I calm myself down and i was prepared for questions. Clock ticked to 12:00pm and my phone rings. I said to myself, impressive. Recruiter was friendly and he laid out the plan of what is going to happen in this 45 minute interview, which gave me a good understanding of what to expect. After almost 40 mintues, it was over. Just like that. He informed me that, he will forward the notes to the headquarters and if they like my responses, they will set up the second phone interview. I thanked him for his time and went back to work with satisfaction that i did well.
2nd Phone Interview: Apparantly they liked my responses and second phone interview was set up with an actual person from Microsoft. I decided to do this interview after i get off work at 6pm. Again, on the day of the interview, i got into my car and went to the quietest place i could find in back of the company parking lot and waited for the call. Again, the time came and it was 6pm and right on the dot, my phone rang (impressive). I was really nervous about this interview for some reason. Interview started, i think i messed up couple of times in answering questions, i kept repeating myself and went blank couple of times. Interview was supposed to be 45 minutes and got over in 20 mintues. After interview was over, i thought to myself, i just ruined it. I messed it up, i just ruined my career single handely in just few minutes, just like that. I just messed up on an opportunity of a life time. On the way home, some watery substance came from my eyes and i was just upset for the rest of the evening.
The next day i emailed the recruiter for her time and i also emailed the first recruiter informing him of the progress. And how interview which was scheduled for 45 mintues got over in 20 minutes. I didn’t expect to hear back from Microsoft after second interview, because i believed i really had messed up. But to my amazement, after few days, i was invited to go to Redmond, Washington for a face to face interview. Can you believe that?
Face to face interview preparations: The first interview had set up the date and time two days before i were to leave for the interview, so he can give me some tips. He told me to know my resume inside out and know the position well. He also gave me lots of tips which are just common knowledge, like even thought Microsoft is laid back company, you should wear a suit since its a marketing position, and be relaxed and be calm etc. However, one advice that stuck with me was, when he said, don’t think ahead of time. Don’t think like what will happen if i get into Microsoft and such. You are not “in” yet, so take it a day at a time and most importantly enjoy the interview process. Even though the tips he provided were pretty simple and common knowledge, they proved to be really really helpful.
Going to Seattle: Going to seattle was an amazing feeling. But the flight from Dallas to Seattle is 5 hours, but i am not complaining 🙂 Everything was paid for, room was reserved for me at a great hotel. I arriaved at the hotel and there was a message a waiting for me. Message said, to arrive for the interview at 7:30am and not 8am. Which was not a problem for me. I had dinner and prepared myself for the may be the biggest day of my carrer.
On The Day: I woke up at 5:45am, got ready, had a continental breakfast, got a cab and to go to Building C. It was raining a little bit and i was hoping that cab driver knew where he was going. And than i saw the sign which says “Microsoft”, and i said to myself, phewwww, he did know where he was going. I entered the Building C at about 7:05am and just waited and not let the reality of me being at big Microsoft get to me. At approximately 7:30am, a recruiter came and he told me about how the day was going to go. He said, i am going to meet at least 4-6 people for the QMA position and he took me to the third floor and showed me a conference room and said, this is going to be your home for the next 5-6 hours. Each interview was going to be held for about 45 minutes, 15 minutes break following it. Lunch was at 11:30am and it was to last for 30 minutes. At around 7:45am, it beings. I am not sure if i should detail out the interview process, so i am just going to fast forward to last interview. Last interviewer i thought was the best one. All the interviews got done at about 2:00pm. I was told that usually they will take you to show you around the campus but i was not fortunate enough, because again, it was raining. But i did get to see the cafeteria from the window and was told that on good days, you will see people outside working on their laptops because there is free wireless connection. I headed back to my hotel room thinking, i was just at Microsoft, a company that changed the way computing is done, not only in a office, not in any state, but how it is being done throughout the world. It was just an amazing feeling. I was honored that i was invited by big M for a job interview, just great. You can see the on the faces of the people walking in the hallway that they were proud to be there and were doing something useful and meaningful.
I flew back to Dallas next day and just hoped for the best. I know i did my best at the interview and i thought it went well, but of course it was not up to me and it would not matter what i thought about how the interview went. Ball was in their court now.
I waited few days and i was suppose to hear back on Tuesday, which i didn’t. I emailed the recruiter and he informed that i should hear back soon. Next day, i received a call from the recruiter, saying we thought you did very well (and that’s when i knew i didn’t get it and i was waiting for the BUT), but we are not going to offer the position to you at this moment. However, we are considering you for another position and will get back to you later in the week.
And that was that. Again, this was at 10am on wed morning. i had to go down to my car and gather myself, because i just got declined from one of the best companies. It was the chance i have been waiting for, i came soooo close to it, yet it was unreachable, i was not meant for it. I gathered myself and went back to work.
Wait, its not over yet. Later in the week, again i got the call from the recruiter, saying, they are “extermely interested” in me for the second position, Search Marketing Analyst”. This time, after getting denied the first time, i was little more cautious. We set up the time and date for the two phone interviews, each 1 hour each.
Again, both interviewers were on the DOT, just impressive. I thought i did my best and this time, i didn’t wait that eagerly for the response, because it was right before Thanksgiving and i didn’t expect to hear anything until after the Thanksgiving break.
The Call: The day before Thanksgiving, my phone rings at around 10:30am, it was the recruiter. This time, he didn’t say, “we thought your interview went well, BUT…”. This time, it was “This is xyz, do you have couple of mintues to talk?”. I said, sure and he broke the news that Microsoft is making an offer to me for the SMA position.
Wow, that’s what i said. He started to give the overview of the benefits and asked me if i had any questions. All i could say was, “Right now, i am shocked and shacking.” While he was explaining me the benefits, i heard half of what he said, because i was thinking, My life just changed, just in an instant, just like that. I could not believe that big M has made me an offer. The break that i was looking for is, finally here. Yesterday, i signed my offer letter and i am scheduled to start working for big M on January 16th, 2006.
Few things i would like to say about the recruiters: These were the most professional recruiters i have ever come in contact with and believe me, i have had lots of interviews, ranging from small SEO companies to large companies, like JCPenny. These recruiters have really impressed me so far. In fact, at one point, before my face to face interview, one recruiter actually emailed me and asked me how to correctly pronounce my name. And i thought that was really impressive and that shows that they are paying attention to the detail.
So that’s that. Just counting down the days and now i am waiting to hear from the Relocation Specialist. Hope he/she calls sooner, rather than later, getting little worried here.
Update: I’ve created a forum to discuss the experience: http://jobinterviews.proboards.com