Answers to Microsoft Interview Questions

I have not actually been interviewed by Microsoft (yet), but here are some of the answers I’d like to give to some of the questions that they’ve been known to ask:

Why is a manhole cover round?

Don’t you mean a person-hole cover? Either way, it is because the person hole is round.

How are M&Ms made?

They’re made in the M&Ms factory.

How many manhole covers are there in the USA?

I really think you mean person-hole covers. Anyway – roughly 1 for each hole.

One train leaves Los Angeles at 15mph heading for New York. Another train leaves from New York at 20mph heading for Los Angeles on the same track. If a bird, flying at 25mph, leaves from Los Angeles at the same time as the train and flies back and forth between the two trains until they collide, how far will the bird have traveled?

Does it really matter? I think the stupid bird will be dead, anyway.

How would you redesign an ATM?

I would design it to give me lots of money when I typed in a secret code.

What is the difference between an Ethernet Address and an IP address?

You can’t wash your hands in a… no, wait, that’s buffaloes and bisons.

If you could add any feature to Microsoft Word, what would it be?

I would say that I’d make it debit money out of people’s bank accounts and into mine, except that Microsoft has already done that for their own bank account whenever there is an upgrade.

There is a room with a door (closed) and three light bulbs. Outside the room there are three switches, connected to the bulbs. You may manipulate the switches as you wish, but once you open the door you can’t change them. Identify each switch with its bulb.

I’d disconnect the switches. Then I could easily identify that none of the switches actually connected to the bulbs.

Give me an algorithm to shuffle a deck of cards, given that the cards are stored in an array of ints.

52-card pick-up.

How would you test a keyboard?

I wouldn’t – I’d throw it away. Keyboards cost next to nothing these days. It would be cheaper to buy a new keyboard than waste my time trying to test one.

The interviewer hands you a black pen and says nothing but “This pen is red.”

I’d say, “thanks for the pen”, and take it home with me.

Write a function to print Write a function to print the Fibonacci numbers. .

void printFibNumbers() {
print "The Fibonacci numbers."

Explain a scenario for testing a salt shaker.

Chips! Sometimes called “french-fries” or “fries”, they’re pieces of potato that have been deep-fried.

How would you explain how to use Microsoft Excel to your grandma?

I’d shout. Very loud.

Suppose you go home, enter your house/apartment, hit the light switch, and nothing happens – no light floods the room. What exactly, in order, are the steps you would take in determining what the problem was?

I’d ask my wife what she’d done to the light – again.


8 Responses to Answers to Microsoft Interview Questions

  1. bruno says:

    dude, ur answers suck big time

  2. kramii says:


    Thanks! I’ll try to post some more when I get the time,

  3. Ragu says:

    man holes round becasue a other shapes slip through the hole.

  4. kramii says:


    Thanks for your comment.

    Of course, your answer is technically “correct”. It may be what Microsoft interviewers are looking for. It may even be the reason that the people responsible for the man holes have chosen to make them round. However, I believe that the case for this widely quoted solution may not be as strong as some people believe. Why?

    1) Round holes are less likely to collapse than other shapes. Square holes, for example, are strong in the corners but weaker on the sides. Round holes are equally strong in every direction. Of course, round holes have round covers (hence my original answer).

    2) Round holes are cheaper to make than other shapes, because they require least material to reinforce them (again, hence my original answer).

    3) Round manhole covers have the advantage that they can be rolled away. Other shapes must be carried. Could this be the real reason that round is used instead of other shapes? Alternatively, if people started rolling man hole covers away at random, I suppose that this could be a reason not to make them round.

    4) There are actually other shapes that won’t slip down the hole (I forget the name of the shape, but there is one that is roughly triangular but with curved sides). I believe that there are places where these other shapes are used instead of round.

    5) Most man holes in the UK (where I live) are not round, but rectangular. However, there is never been a widespread movement to stifle the plague of non-round man hole covers. Apparently, the incidence of people loosing non-round man hole covers down non-round man holes is actually quite low. Certainly, I have never met anyone who says it has been a particular problem for them. I think the reason is that man hole covers are generally quite heavy, so the chances of them slipping anywhere is actually quite slim. In fact, given the limited number of angles that you can get a rectangular man hole cover lost down its hole, I think you’d really have to go out of your way to loose your cover down your hole. I have to admit, however, that there is no particular reason to suppose that the practice of deliberately dropping man hole covers down man holes won’t become the favourite sport of the disenfranchised youth and errant pranksters of our Queen’s beloved homeland. I hope this never happens. Nevertheless, you’ve got me worried…


  5. Anonymous says:

    manhole covers are round becz ass is round as well 😉

  6. kramii says:


    You’re quite mistaken. Donkeys are more horse-shaped than round. Even if I had one I think it would be cruel to stuff it down a hole. Unless it were dead, of course. I’ll make a note of your suggestion in case I ever need to dispose of a dead donkey.

  7. Grisel Oreb says:

    Hi I reckon the selective information written on this web blog is colossal, I have book-marked you =D

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