Episode 2: Scott Hanselman on how to get a remote position at Microsoft, improving tech interviews, Diversity and open source

In this episode, I talk to Scott Hanselman, a partner product manager at Microsoft. Since years, Scott is one of the most successful tech bloggers, he has three podcasts and actively works on making tech a more diverse place.

We talk about:

  • how it is to work remotely for Microsoft,
  • how to get such a remote position at Microsoft,
  • making tech a more diverse place,
  • starting with open source,
  • and productivity.

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Links: 

Shownotes:

To allow you to find interesting places here are the beginnings of some conversations:

How and why Scott started to work remotely for Microsoft. (1:25)

When does he have to be at the office? Scott talks about which situations merit a face to face meeting. (4:20)

Does Scott think you can you get a remote position at Microsoft, and how? (6:20)

Does Scott travel all the time? (5:20)

Then, Scotts explains how you can land a remote position at Microsoft (6:35)

Scott says Microsoft careers website hasn’t caught up with remote work, but around 22% of the position for the developer division (aka Visual Studio) are remote.

How should we overcome imposter syndrome and feeling like a phony when we apply for a job (7:45)

How you can negotiate your way into a remote position. (8:30)

Is Scott hiring right now? (9:40)

Which interview questions would Scott ask a programmer or product manager? Well, when interviewing, Scott looks for “systems-thinking” skills. He says, everything else can be taught. (11:30)

I want to know that you understand systems thinking and how systems work together. And the recognition that there are systems. (Scott Hanselman)

John Montgomery – rolled out a interview system. You can read more about it here. Basically now, as an interviewee, you work on larger problems and solve them as if you are a consultant. You get to work with the people that work on such a problem. Scott says, we interview you as if you are a person that can help answer this problem, but you do not have to have the answer to the problem right away. (12:35)

Scott says we have to recognise that not everybody does their best work in high pressure situations. And an interview is a high-pressure situation. So, how can we make a interview more comfortable? (13:50)

Scott talks about preparing people and helping people with imposter syndrome feel more at ease at an interview (15:00)

When interviewing for a product manager position, Microsoft developer division (aka Visual Studio team) shares the interview problem before so you can prepare yourself. Scott walks me through such an interview. (16:12)

  • You get an actual problem the team wants to solve.
  • You also get some data, mockups, costumer data
  • The team works with you together to solve this problem, because they want to know how it is to work with you.

Scott explains which kind of interviews there are at Microsoft (17:05)

How can we hire diverse people if we are at the same time looking for cultural fit? (17:35)

Scott talks about how to handle people that think differently, and why people think differently (19:30).

I talk with Scott about his website for newbies in open source, and Scott explains how we can mentor and help newcomers in open source (22:10).

The best way to get people involved in open source is small stuff. Get them working on docs, get them doing tests. Help them do things so they can have an early win. (Scott 25:10)

How can Scott be so productive? What is his secret sauce to productivity, and what is his advice for you to increase your productivity? (26:40)

Has Scott had a master plan to be as successful as he is today? (30:25)

Scott answers a question from a listener on the importance of  DevOps as a engineering practices and wether companies should invest in this practice or not? (32:20)

About the Author
Michaela is passionate about making the life of developers and engineers better. She hosts the SE Unlocked podcasts and also researches and helps to make software engineering processes and tools better. She writes about her work on https://www.michaelagreiler.com.

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