How to get a job at Microsoft

Microsoft Corp. is one of the most well-known companies in the world. There are tales of wild perks, and top-notch salaries, along with the unique experience of working on software that has an almost-monopoly in the world and is both beloved and reviled.

ComputerWorld Canada was in Redmond, Wash. recently at the headquarters of the software giant, where many Canadians work. We went right to the source to find out how best to bust onto the Redmond campus, the changing hiring landscape, and what it’s like once you get there.

Who gets in Warren Ashton, a Microsoft recruiting group manager, said that candidates come from two streams: college kids and industry hires. Ashton said that the majority of their hires come from the university stream, where it looks for good students who are engaged with Microsoft technologies already, and are into new challenges. They also have the demand for soft skills that seem to be en vogue in the tech industry. Said Ashton: “We want people with team-building skills, and team leadership experience, as there’s a good chance they’ll collaborate with lots of different kinds of people, so they need to be dynamic and handle multiple types of personalities and ambiguity: projects don’t always go the way you want them to go.”

Hands-on experience is also highly valued; one of the best ways to get an in to the corporation is to snag one of the 1,100 internships that Microsoft doles out every year.

The University of Waterloo is one of the handful of “top-tier” schools where Microsoft has a significant presence on-campus and recruits heavily on a constant basis.


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