MACH and intern applicants: How to be a STAR

Central European recruiter shares her top tips


I have had the good fortune of recruiting some of the most amazing graduate talent into Microsoft. As we look to hire our interns, MACH graduates and MBAs for 2014, I thought it would be useful to share with you some advice and tips on applying to Microsoft’s Intern or MACH programs – because trust me, it will be one of the best decisions of your life.

Apply early to avoid disappointment.
The application dates differ in all Microsoft locations. Be sure you know the deadlines! In Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), start to apply as soon as you return to your final year at university. You can review information and apply here.

Meet your new best friend: Research.

You need to know as much as possible about Microsoft and the role you are applying for. Once you have decided what role you are interested in, make sure you can articulate answers to these questions:

  • Why do you want to apply?
  • Why this role?
  • Why Microsoft?

Portray your passion.
Keep up to speed with technology trends and news, watch the videos on our careers site and ask us questions on Facebook. The fact that you are reading this blog is a very good start.

Interested in reading more about the CEE MACH and Intern programs? Take a look at our blog.

Don’t rush your application.
We know you are busy studying and attending class. But this is an investment into your future and will be the first impression you give to Microsoft. Draft your application and then review it before submission to make sure you are 100% satisfied. I have seen some students make the fatal mistake of copying and pasting applications. Accidentally pasting the wrong company name doesn’t help your chances.

Be a STAR on the phone.
The next stage is typically a telephone interview and will follow the STAR method:

S – Situation: Background. Set the scene.

T – Task:  Specifics of what’s required: when, where, who

A – Action: What you did, skills used, behaviors, characteristics

R – Result: Outcome, what happened?

Take some time before your interview to think about some examples you can use in your answers, and find a quiet place to take the call. Coffee shops and public places are not the best venues.

Take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the day.
The next step is the assessment centres. These consist of interviews, presentations, group exercises and plenty of time for Q&A’s. This can be nerve-wracking, I know, but this is also your opportunity to find out everything about Microsoft and decide whether we’re the right company for you.

My top tips for success:

  1. Plan your journey: Arriving late causes stress and could affect your performance.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep: I know it is difficult if you are apprehensive, but try to relax.
  3. Prepare examples: It is important to use a variety of examples in your interviews. We don’t expect you to have a huge amount of work experience so share examples of your university life, hobbies, volunteer work or membership in any societies or clubs.
  4. Be yourself: We want to understand who you are as a person, what drives you and what you are passionate about.
  5. Enjoy the day: It will be over before you know it and we want it to be a great experience for you.

Before I sign off, let me share one final tip: Please try to come and meet the recruitment team and students when we are at your university. If you have applied we want to meet you, if you are still thinking of applying, we want to meet you, and if you are not applying… we would still like to meet you! Graduates are an important part of Microsoft’s future, and there really isn’t a better time to join than now, as we move into this new “devices and services” era of our company.

Why not take a virtual tour of our Prague office right now?


More on JobsBlog:

There’s a lot of talk around here about “devices and services.” Our new university recruiting poster paints a picture of the companywide opportunities at Microsoft.

Meet two interns who contributed to the future of Windows Phone.

Read about three international MACH women who share their paths to Microsoft.


It’s deadline season. We are on campus now.

Meet more MACH participants, learn about the program, and apply.


Get to know us in person. Check out Microsoft Careers on YouTube.

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