It is hard to believe that my start date at Microsoft has arrived – well the eve of my start date anyway.

Beginning tomorrow, I start my dream job at my dream company and simply can’t wait to get started. It continues to feel quite surreal. However, I am sure that will start to wear off as the firehose turns on and the expected information overload begins!

Let me add right here that the awesome response of folks I know on social media and the positive reactions to my hire as an FTE at Microsoft has been much appreciated and overwhelming. In addition to all of those reactions, the number of current and even past Microsoft employees who have reached out personally with offers of assistance once I am onboard to answer questions during the onboarding process and beyond has been terrific. It also shows me why Microsoft is #3 on Forbe’s list of The World’s Best Employers for 2021. It really feels like a family in the manner in which I am being welcomed. By the way, this observation doesn’t even include the awesome welcome I have been getting from the Microsoft Q&A team which I am joining.

It has been a lot of fun since announcing the news a couple of weeks ago. Over that time frame I have been sharing some of the milestones for my initial onboarding process over social media. I thought I would take a chance to chronicle what the application, interview, offer, and hire process has been like in my case. While others experience in joining Microsoft will likely be different, this is usually the case, being able to read at least others experience of the process helped me out so I hope this helps someone else along the journey as well.

As I mentioned in my news announcement, Yep – I am Joining Microsoft, my journey to Microsoft began in mid-August when my friend and fellow Microsoft MVP Harjit Dhaliwal sent me a job listing from the Microsoft Careers website for the Microsoft Q&A Community Manager role.

I actually hesitated in applying because it was asking for at least three years of direct experience managing a community something I have never done as a specific job. However, with twelve years as a Microsoft MVP, I have certainly been around community and working within it for quite some time. In other words, apply even when you do not meet 100% of the requirements/qualifications because you never know where other elements of your experience will come into play.

So, I applied and asked some Microsoft folks who I have built great relationships with to make specific internal recommendations to the hiring manager on my behalf. Between my MVP experience and those recommendations, that got me a phone interview with one of the Program Managers on the team. That phone interview led to me being invited to what Microsoft calls the Interview Loop.

This loop of interviews included four separate interviews with program managers on the team including the hiring manager. Over the course of a single day, I had one-hour interviews with each of these four individuals. The Microsoft recruiter who I spoke to the day before the series of interviews shared some great information for preparing for those sessions. Much of what they shared with me during that phone call is available online at the Microsoft Careers website – Interview tips for all roles. This is absolute must reading for your prep work. In addition, be sure to review the job description itself so that you are familiar with it as well.

Due to COVID-19, all of my interviews were on Microsoft Teams and these appointments were scheduled by the Microsoft recruiters a few days ahead of time.

I found the interviews were professional yet had a casual feel to them. They felt more like discussions rather than interrogations which was really nice. Some of the questions included sharing about my experiences in the area of this role, some situational questions about handling different situations/challenges, and why I wanted to join Microsoft.

Following my day in the Interview Loop it was waiting time. A couple of weeks later I was notified by the Microsoft recruiter, it was the same one who initially contacted me – the consistency here is really nice, and they told me I was being offered the position.

I was then asked to provide some input about compensation to the recruiter and this would be used by them and in a discussion with the hiring manager about what type of compensation I would be offered. Within a day or two, the recruiter reached out to me to schedule a phone call to verbally review the compensation package. Once we did that, I was able to immediately accept that offer over the phone.

Next, the recruiter had to get the details of that offer into their systems. A couple of days later I was sent an email that my official offer letter was now available on the Microsoft Careers website. I went to the site, reviewed that everything in the letter matched what we had discussed over the phone and signed it digitally.

At this point, you are still not officially hired by Microsoft but the pre-hire process begins in earnest. For me it began a day or so later when I was prompted to fill out some cloud background screening paperwork with a third party who does the background checks for Microsoft. At this point, everything is connected to that screening. Details on how to keep an eye on the process will be provided once you submit the applications and documents via the third party’s website. If additional information or clarification is needed, they will reach out to you and ask for that so they can continue the screening process.

Among the areas I was checked for in this screening was work history, criminal/court records, and financial background (credit score).

Microsoft HR indicates this screening usually takes about two weeks – mine was done in about a week. However, as you will get reminded, the background check is not complete until Microsoft reviews it and then notifies you that it is complete.

Once that happened, my soon to be manager and I received an email from Microsoft HR that let us know the check was complete and that we could decide on a start date for me joining Microsoft. Once that date was selected and HR was notified, the next email that is sent and makes it all official is the Hire Complete email. At this point it is official and steps can be taken to plan your transition from your current employer to joining Microsoft.

Now this begins an entirely new chain of events as part of the onboarding process to joining Microsoft however, since this post is already a long read, I will write that up in a separate posting to keep things segmented.

Any questions? Ask away here or on Twitter.


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