I think of myself as kind of like a matchmaker [inaudible] like right, like looking at the candidates best interest and what their like dream job is. Looking at the team and what their dream candidate is and trying to like fit all the pieces together.
People go to work every single day. There’s the nine to fivers, the work from Homer’s, the doers, the dreamers. The list goes on, but what does it take day in and day out to succeed in these careers? This is the experience a day in the life podcast. We’re your hosts, Krista Bo and Mat Po. The concept is simple. Each episode we take you through a day in the life of a different job, hour by hour. We call this an [inaudible], spelled ADI, T L which stands for a day in the life. Today we’re going to Washington state to visit one of the most innovative companies in the world and that is Microsoft. Yes. Today we are going to experience a day in the life of Domina McQuaid, who is a pilot and flight instructor turned recruiter at Microsoft. Not only will you get a glimpse into what she does day in and day out, but you’ll also learn some interview application and negotiation tips from an expert like Domina. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
It’s five 30 in the morning in Seattle and Domina is up and ready to start. Her day bright and early. She brewed some green tea, whipped up a protein shake and snuck in, checking her email and making her to do list before her kid woke up. 7:00 AM Domina commuted 30 minutes to Microsoft’s campus in Redmond with her daughter as her couple buddy. She dropped her daughter off at Microsoft’s daycare center. There’s a daycare center in Microsoft employ. Talk about it. Employers listen on in the mile stretch between daycare and her office. She got a ticket for texting and driving.
I had this one coming. I feel like I was at a stop light, which I feel like is not as bad. Yeah, yeah.
I let it slide. I feel like we’re all guilty of that for sure. Normally she’s in at 7:30 AM but the ticket’s set her back a half hour. But even then, Microsoft only truly comes alive around 10:00 AM she says she likes to get in before the madness begins to get an uninterrupted head start to the day. I don’t personally do it often, but I gotta say there’s a certain serenity to being one of the first to walk in the office in the morning on the agenda for this day where candidate correspondence, submittals, business case writing and interview prep, call a finance meeting, hiring manager sinks, recruiter training and much more, let’s meet Domina and learn more about what she does and how she got to Microsoft.
My name’s Domina McQuade. I’m a recruiter at Microsoft. I actually just took on a new role and the lead recruiter for data centers globally. And so a cloud, you know, Azure and cloud kind of a big deal right now. And without data centers there would be no cloud. So it’s a super important org. I’m a non technical person. Explain the cloud real quick, but you know, uh, so information in the cloud basically that all ties to a server.
and a data center is a lot of servers in one building and there’s lots of challenges there about keeping them cool and, and secure. So they’re, they’re huge, huge buildings. Just all of servers with people’s data on them and companies data. Microsoft is a big play in the corporate space. Data centers are located all over the world. So it’s really challenging from a recruiting I guess for creating perspective cause it’s lots of different roles, lots of different locations. Um, so it’s been really fun.
And so could you just go into the specific roles that you’re filling most of the time or you’re recruiting for?
So previous to this at Microsoft I pretty much only did software engineers and technical PMs. But for data center they have everything, everything from like rack and stack, people that are more like hourly roles to, I handle more of the principal and director level roles there. Uh, construction managers, real estate acquisition, supply chain. It’s, it’s all over the board. Anything that it would take to pick out a location, like a plot of land and then develop it into a data center, fill it and make it secure, all those great things. So an average recruiter here probably has somewhere between 30 to 40 year old. Me, I’m, I’m leading strategy 10 coaching, five to seven recruiters. And then I have three high level roles. So I try to stay around 20 but right now I actually have a little over 30 so I’m renting a little high at the moment.
So you are the famous pilot turned recruiter at Microsoft. So I want to start in college where you were a flight technology and first officer specialization. So were you just fascinated by planes? Like what led you to choose this? This path?
Yeah, kind of a weird career transition. Right.
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, which aviation’s kind of fake here, right? Boeing is based here, Alaska airlines, they’re just a lot of people. They work in some aspect of aviation and in the Seattle area. But I had a family friend who was training to be a pilot and took me applying. I was like, I want to do this. So I took a couple lessons when I was in high school because my parents before, you know, shelling out the money and wanted to be sure that I was serious about it. So I ended up going to school for it, getting my Ivan license instrument, Marshall multi-engine and flight instructor. And uh, and I was a flight instructor for year and a half, two years after graduating. So when to work for an airlines, typically you’re a flight instructor to build up your hours. So I had the thousand hours to get the airline job and I just had this moment where I realized I eventually wanted to have a family.
And um, you know, the air working for the airlines, it said it’s not as quite as glamorous as they portraying movies. You know, it’s a lot of like, you know, budget hotels and weird cities and um, it’s really hard to have a family, you know, you are gone, you know, five plus days a week. And I just started to kind of question, is this what I want? And later on, you know, in hindsight, I think there’s a lot of aspects of the role that would have bothered me. Like I really liked performance-based jobs whereas in the airlines it’s very much like how much time you have in the seat. You know, if you, you could be the best pilot in the world, it doesn’t matter. It’s how, how many years you’ve been with that airline and if you haven’t been enough and they decided to lay off, you’re out of there. So there, there are a lot of like smaller aspects that I didn’t realize were missing for me until later. But the big thing was for me is I knew I wanted to have a family and I knew how hard that would be. A lot of female pilots I knew, um, honestly got out of the career after having kids.
Do you regret your choice of, of going down that route or do you see that as like a really cool experience that you have, uh, that kind of shaped you as who you are?
You know what, at first everyone thought I was crazy when I was getting out of it. Cause I had stuck it through like the bad part, you know, all the training and Taz through flight instructing. But you know [inaudible] it has helped me a lot in the corporate world. I think the biggest thing that has helped me with is just working under pressure. Not a lot rattles me cause it’s not like life or death situations. It’s not like I’m sending a student for their first solo and if they crash and die it’s my fault. Oh my God. You learn a lot of like good, like multitasking, prioritization, judgment. It’s a good conversation starter. People are always like, you know, Oh pilot turned recruiter. Like how did that come about? So, you know, I mean my parents might disagree with it but I don’t regret it and I don’t think you should. Right, right. Yeah. Now when I go to the airport, I actually run into so many old friends that either were my instructor or old students of mine, um, that are now like working at Alaska airlines or Southwest or wherever. So it’s really fine. So speaking of pilot turn recruiter you had before Microsoft, you had a few years bouncing between two different companies and different roles,
how did those experiences kind of convince you for your love of recruiting?
Good question. I started off, I went from pilot to sales actually, which is like night and day and I was in tech sales and it was, um, I, I was good at it like acquiring customers and like the relationship piece, but I never really liked pushing a product that, you know, people maybe didn’t need. But that’s how I got into recruiting is they started bringing me along to campus events as like a poster child of like, Hey, you know, this person is doing well, talk to them. And I fell in love with recruiting because it’s just like the strategy, it’s, it’s sales, but it’s a different kind of sales cause you’re helping people get their dream job or you’re helping the team get their ideal fit. But prior to Microsoft, both roles that I had were a lot more sales heavy, which it’s made me a lot better of a recruiter. Now, you know, I see some recruiters that don’t know how to sell and close along the way and it’s a lot harder for them. They have to lean really heavy on compensation and they lose a lot more candidates because they haven’t figured out what the candidates true motivators are for, you know, being interested in that role. And so they don’t know how to spell it at the end. So having that sales experience really helps me be a better recruiter now.
So we’re at 8:00 AM on this day and Domina discovered three candidates, emailed her verbally accepting their offers from over the weekend, which is a little weird because it’s an email, not a verbal but besides the point. But in the world of recruiting, nothing’s final until the person actually shows up on the first day. And even then things can happen, things can happen, right? Yeah. Which she usually waits until the candidate verbally accepts or sends an email to accept before she submits the formal offer letter. And we’re going to talk more about that process a little later. But Domina was a candidate at 1.2, so let’s learn how she got her job.
I grew up in the, in the Seattle area, so I had always grown up thinking like Microsoft is like the best company to work for. And their benefits were great and hearing jokes about like we take the ambulance to work for fun cause that’s our benefits are good and it’s fast. But they, I like not landing that job. But yeah, I gotta laugh. I originally had interviewed with us for a sales recruiter role. The loop went well and the recruiting team was actually trying to hurry up my offer so that they could get me an offer so I could use their benefits when I was, um, cause I hadn’t, you know, given birth yet pretty obvious that I was pregnant.
So, uh, it didn’t work out. I think they ended up going with an internal candidate, but I was a really strong second. So they had found me another role on tech recruiting and I was like, Oh well I’ve never done tech recruiting. I was like six months pregnant. I just been told I was team lead at a company. So I was like, I told him no actually initially. And he like gave me a real battle, but I ended up having a phone call with him. I still was on the fence and like he really pushed me to interview and so I ended up, this is actually a funny story, not many people know this, but I ended up having my onsite when I was nine months pregnant and my daughter actually came early so it ended up being three days before she was born. So I was super pregnant.
Like, Oh my interview, I called a couple of my friends that worked at Microsoft and I’m like, man, I feel so uncomfortable. Like who? Who is going to hire someone this pregnant? I can’t even think straight. Like I don’t know. And they were like, you have to do it. Like Microsoft is a good company. Like they’re not going to judge you for being pregnant, which obviously that’s illegal listening. So I was being like irrational. But, um, anyways, so I came on site, met with the manager, Emily, who’s actually now a director. Now she’s a superstar. But she just convinced me that it was really similar and you know, tech recruiting would really diversify my skillset. So after maternity leave I started here at Microsoft and have jumped around into lots of different roles. Sense. But it’s been, it’s been fun.
Microsoft has amazing benefits for working mothers and fathers. Some of those benefits include 20 paid weeks of maternity leave and 12 paid weeks of paternity leave. They also have discounted daycare as you heard about earlier. And even a backup daycare benefit for when your primary childcare falls through.
Yeah, there’s so many cool daily benefits but the flexible hours is probably the biggest thing. It was just something all companies can do. If my daughter’s being a little, you know, terror in the morning and I have to show up at like nine or 10, it’s not a big deal. Like I don’t have to tell anyone, you know, nobody really cares cause it’s a culture full of people with kids and families and uh, you know, a place. It prioritize his work life balance. I think the company you work for is so important. If you can make that like mom and working mom thing work.
So you had three candidates, this is 8:00 AM you had three candidates email you that they were accepting offers with the offer letter. Is the salary negotiated at this point? Like are they able to come back and say like I want more or is the offer letter kind of just like the final, the final gift?
Good question. So I tried to negotiate upfront with a verbal offer. So then once I get to the formal offer I don’t have to push it through compliance and auditing twice cause it just slows things down and you kind of like lose momentum or excitement on the offer. So I kind of do all that. Negotiating beforehand, save time. Yeah. Most people try to negotiate.
Two candidates were external and one was internal. Does Microsoft in general have like a preference? Would they rather hire someone internally than externally or are they just trying to get as much talent from the world as possible? That’s
a great question. I think a blend of both is really important. Internal people, they typically like ramp faster or they, you know, they’ll know Microsoft processes and you know you have a lot of data on them like from past reviews and things like that. You know, they don’t have to go through like a background check again. So sometimes they can start faster. So internal candidates. Great. The reason why external is also important is because you want to bring in new ideas, right? Somebody like let’s say, you know, other big fours, we want to see how they’re doing it to see are we doing things in the most efficient manner or the best manner. So you want a blend of like what we’ve done before and new things to to you know, have a good, strong talent workforce moving forward. You know, one thing that Microsoft and a lot of companies or is like or competencies [inaudible] adaptability, collaboration.
Yeah, no ability to influence or customer focus, you know, whatever it is. They will look for those core competencies because no recruiting, and I know this now, but I didn’t. Then recruiting center recruiting, it’s just different keywords, different profiles and once you learn them you’re good. Um, and in general know the workforce is changing so fast. Technology is changing really fast. So you know, whatever you specialize in now, it might be, you know, obsolete 10 years from now. So you need to have those core competencies is what makes it good employee. You know, being able to adapt and learn and grow and you know, be a good team player. Those are more important than have you done X for this amount of years?
8:30 AM Domina submitted four candidates to the scheduling team for interview loops. An interview loop is a series of four to five interviews all in one day to maximize efficiency for Microsoft. And the candidates love efficiency.
When we say Domina submitted candidates, we mean she’s updated their profiles with the latest information on their status in Microsoft CRM. It’s vital that this information is inputted accurately and immediately. So everyone involved in the hiring process, you know, the hiring managers, the legal and standards people, the human resources, peeps, other recruiters, things like that are updated on what’s going on.
Two of those four candidates live out of state. So one candidate is going to fly in and the other one is going to participate in the loop virtually. But let’s actually take a step back here. How does Domina find these candidates, especially if they’re scattered all across the country and the world for that.
So first thing is we find candidates in multiple ways, either an online application, a referral from someone on the team, or we can head them off of LinkedIn. Those are kind of the three main ways. There’s also like conferences and different things too, but those are the bulk of it. And they’ll do a phone interview with a recruiter typically, and then they’ll do a phone interview with the manager. Um, both of those go well. Then they moved to onsite loop. Like I said, we do somewhere between three to five interviews all in one day, which is a long day of interviewing to be honest. But we just do it for efficiency, then the candidate only has to take one day off of work and we, you know, get to make on offer, no offer decision a lot quicker. You know, if it was dragged on over several weeks, then you know, [inaudible] going to take us a lot longer to hire but after the loop and we usually make an offer, no offer decision and uh, you know, start talking compensation and benefits and all that great stuff.
Awesome. So how much, I mean, Microsoft’s a desirable company to want to work for, like do you find yourselves getting an influx of inbound applications much more than what you have to go out and like source people for or do you still have to source because the talent’s not necessarily obvious?
Yeah, great question. So we do get a ton of online applicants, which is actually sometimes hard to like filter through defined. What I found, and this is again my personal opinion, but online applicants, there’s some gems in there. Um, but sometimes people apply for roles that they’re not necessarily qualified for. So, you know, [inaudible] it’s a perk in a way too, you know, hire off of online applicants because you know that they’re interested in Microsoft and that they’re looking for a new role versus somebody on LinkedIn that you’re reaching out to a, they could be happy where they’re at and um, or, or they could not be interested in your role or Microsoft or something. So, uh, but when you’re reaching out on LinkedIn, you can use really targeted searches. So I can take all the keywords from the job description. Like let’s say they’re an engineer, they’re looking for like C-sharp and web services and you know, whatever.
I can basically type that into a little string and like didn’t know, give me the top candidates, you know, they have that. So, and you can even target certain companies that the team is interested in or certain locations. So, uh, it’s a blend of both. You know, I usually look for the, my recruiting strategy I guess is, I kind of look for the low hanging fruit first. So I’ll take a look at all applicants. I’ll take a look at referrals, referrals. I didn’t hit on that, but they’re statistically the best because someone’s been willing to vouch for them, you know, and say that this person’s good or has a good work ethic or whatever. So they tend to statistically have a higher, I tend to think that they do better in loops. And then you also ended up closing more of them because you have someone on the team that’s kinda like selling from the side. So referrals are great, but it just depends on all three. If I can’t get it done and online applicants and referrals, then I will work the teams looking for something really nuanced and I know that then I’ll, I’ll have him on LinkedIn too.
If I’m an online applicant and want to apply to Microsoft, what advice would you give me to stand out in this seemingly a best of applicants? Keep your
resume very targeted. You know, I mean, this is again, not groundbreaking stuff. Whenever you recruiter and manager only spends like less than a minute on your resume. So make sure it’s to the point there’s not a lot of fluff. Add any concrete information where you can, um, you know, like numbers or stats, like don’t say what you did, say how well you did it. So kind of try to write that story of a top performer. Another thing I’ve been telling candidates recently is a lot of recruiters are not very technical. People like you guys asked me to describe a data center and like I struggled, right? So, um, being able to like tell a story where like someone nontechnical can digest it and understand like, Oh, this person is a fit for this role. Same thing with LinkedIn profile, you know, um, a lot of times like, all know, like if I see someone who is software engineer one to two and then maybe transition to a PM, I can kind of like understand that story easily and like know what kind of roles to recommend someone for.
Um, so just making it like my Fisher price, simple enough for a recruiter to help shop around. And then on your LinkedIn network, you know, try to get that referral in. I guarantee that everyone has some sort of link to a team or a software engineer or whoever at Microsoft. Um, and if you don’t, then reach out to someone with the job that you want and offer to buy him a coffee and pick their brain or seed, they’ll, you know, have a 15 minute phone call with you. Most people will and beat out your LinkedIn and you know, all those like skills and stuff they have the jobs you’re trying to get, put those into your LinkedIn so that you’ll pull up on recruiters searches and recruiters will be reaching out to you versus like you job hunting.
9:00 AM Domina fueled up with some more green tea and moved on to writing a business case to try and get a higher than average compensation approved for a candidate. This candidate has a competing offer from a competitor, a strong resume, and had very strong interview feedback. So by all those metrics and exceptional candidate in domain, his eyes, she doesn’t go to this length for everyone because
the role that they’re doing should have high impact in some way. And the reason why you have to be careful about, you know which situations you you go to bat is you’ve got to think about team equity, right? You know, how much room will they have to grow [inaudible] the role because you don’t want them to like cap out and you know, a year or two of being here and and be flat. So there’s just a lot of that that goes into it. But I think for that candidate it was, the reason was is very strong interview feedback. They had deep domain knowledge in a, in a particular skill set that was really valuable to the team. That particular role was a principal of a role that would be working across many, many different orgs throughout data centers. So it was great candidate and, and a high impact role, which is why I decided to to do it.
I want to take a little bit of a segue here and I thought this would be a good opportunity to ask for your tips on salary negotiations specifically for younger job-seekers.
So first step, I find that women don’t negotiate as much as men and they don’t negotiate as hard and they just don’t even apply for roles unless they feel 100%. They need the a hundred percent of the qualifications versus like the stat on there, it’s like men will apply for roles and they’d be like 25% of the qualifications. So first thing is don’t be afraid of it. Always negotiate every time, even if it’s a good offer, negotiate because they’re not going to take away that initial offer. It still stands. They’re not going to like pull it out from under you. And if for some reason they did, it’s probably a shady company that you don’t want work for. A lot of times with younger candidates, I don’t know if they don’t do their homework or what, but they’ll kind of like sometimes come back with like crazy counters that are like way, way out of range.
And so make it like a realistic counter and explain why, you know, um, like if you’re on a company, you got to pay max some sort of bonus or relocation. Tell the recruiter that help make their job easier because those are things I can put in a business case to, I’ll fight for you. Or if you have a competitive offer, sometimes they try not to like disclose that. But if we know why like Hey, this person has two other offers [inaudible] yeah, usually the recruiters trying to get the deal done just as much as you are. So if you are transparent with them and explain why, then you know, it just gives them more tools to help you know, fight for you and advocate for you. So always counter, try to be transparent and have a good reason. Don’t like throw some crazy thing out out of there. And then also sometimes I will say sometimes the hiring managers are involved in negotiations to an extent. So if you’ve gone back like two or three times, probably don’t want to go back more than three because then you risk tarnishing that relationship with them with the hiring manager.
Good point. Would you advise someone, a candidate to bring up the number first or do you think it should be offered to them first?
So good question. I actually talk compensation way earlier than the [inaudible]. You know, once they’re getting an offer, I bring it up in my first interview call with them. And the reason I do is, granted I work with more senior candidates, so maybe this doesn’t apply for all junior level candidates, but I want to get an idea of ballpark where they’re at so I can align them properly with roles. Like if I know that, you know, they’re making X amount and it’s really high, I’m only gonna suggest roles that are in that range. I don’t want to waste their time or the team’s time with something that’s way beneath them. So for younger candidates, I know that that’s like some [inaudible] negotiation tip from a long time ago. I don’t know who started it. I mean, when you want the recruiter to, to throw out the first numbers, you know, maybe if you’re making really low compensation, that’s probably a good idea. But if you’re making like market value or better for what level of career you’re at, then I would be honest upfront early on so that you’re not like interviewing for roles that are, you know, too far beneath you.
10:00 AM time for a prep call with a candidate. Don’t mean a chat with each candidate the day before the interview to go over the schedule and logistics interview tips, answer any questions about the role or the team and to go over with the next steps will look like the candidate was pretty nervous. Domina said so she gave him a pep talk and built them up a little bit. A common worry among candidates on these loop days is how to bounce back after getting tripped up on a question. Domina advises them before the interview first, not to panic and remember everyone involved looks at the performance of the whole day. Collectively. It’s not the end of the world if you flub an the answer to. She also advises candidates to remember these interviews are more conversational. So don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through while informatively answering and asking questions that open up a dialogue. If he couldn’t tell already. Domina is actively working with both sides to ultimately hire somebody.
I think of myself as kind of like a matchmaker like right, like looking at the candidates best interest and what their like dream job is looking at the team and what their dream candidate is and trying to like fit all the pieces together. Or another analogy I like to use as like a real estate agent. Now a lot of times hiring managers, I’ll try to get involved in the negotiation. I tried to keep them out of it as much as possible cause you know it’s an emotional thing. Like it’s like buying and selling a house, right? People get emotional and irrational and like my job is to make sure that like, you know, we come to an agreement, okay the deal goes through and both people are happy and like each other.
That is important. So you mentioned Microsoft doesn’t actually get rolling to like 10:00 AM but you get in there early. So I’m assuming it’s like quiet and almost dead. Could you describe what that transition is like when Microsoft like comes alive throughout the day?
Yeah. So you just hear more people talking in the hallways. Uh, as a recruiter your email starts blowing up. That’s another reason cause people sometimes work late. So I’ll kind of catch up on all those late night emails in the morning. But you can kind of see when things get get rolling cause you’ll start getting the emails. It’ll be like boom, boom, boom, boom.
10:30 AM Domina and her colleagues had a meeting with finance where they discussed how many hires recruiting has compared to their goals and the status of the recruiting, including any anticipated bottlenecks or challenges to make sure you know everybody’s on the same page. The goals are set at the beginning of each year and broken down each quarter where they’ll guesstimate how many hires will come externally, internally from university, you know, things like that. But plans can change and Reggie’s can be thrown. Things can be turned upside down real quick. So I want to dive a little bit deeper into that if you can. And specifically you mentioned like compare your goals, um, to, to what’s actually happening. How does Microsoft and your team specifically, like how do you guys set up your goals? Is it on a yearly basis and then how are you gauging success on those goals? Do you have specific KPIs that you need to hit?
Yeah. Um, so typically at the beginning of the year we’ll get our, our goals, um, for the year and then they’ll finance will kind of break it into each quarter. Um, it’s actually, you know, we kind of guesstimate how many are gonna come internal, how many are gonna come external, how many are gonna come from university? And then we just kind of watch throughout, like how we’re tracking. Sometimes it’ll get more internal, sometimes attrition will be higher, lower than we anticipate, which affects it quite a bit. And then sometimes, for instance, with data centers, it’s heavily based on Azure sales. Right? So if Azure has a big quarter and sells a bunch, then we typically will be our, our hiring goal will go up. That’s one of the challenges of recruiting or this particular org is it’s like our target is always changing.
11:00 AM Domina how to sync with the hiring manager who was looking to fill a principal project manager role for the energy data center, which means this person will be negotiating energy contracts and choosing what kind of energy to use to power and run the data centers. In this type of meeting, the information domain is always trying to figure out is what the team’s goals and functions are and what skills are must haves. Verse negotiables for potential candidates to succeed in this role. 1230 Domina walked over to building 43 on the campus to have lunch with a former colleague. Can you just talk a little bit about how important internal networking is at a big company like Microsoft?
It’s so important. There’s so many different opportunities and networking is good. Internal, external, all of it. Because you know, if you’re top of mind for someone and you know when they have a rule open up on their team and you’re like the first person that they think about, you’ve got a headstart over all those online applicants that are waiting until that job actually gets posted.
That’s a really good point. Great. So moving on to one 30 you helped train some new recruiters and answered questions that they had. So what’s like the number one thing that recruiter has on your team? Just like kinda need to get down and need to know?
I usually teach offer negotiation is kind of like, it’s also kind of one of my favorite things to teach. I think that, you know, knowing the market, knowing what some of our competitors like you know, where we shine, you know, the objections you’ll have to overcome. I think that’s so important. And being able to sell it early in the process and kinda like Dean rapport with that candidate uncover like what’s motivating them to leave. Right. Are they seeking community and do they hate their manager or are they looking for like more money or more title or more growth path? Like it doesn’t matter what it is, but if you can uncover that early and then like hit on that over and over and over again throughout the interview process to where they know that this is the right next step in their career. Okay. Even money and compensation isn’t as big of a deal. I mean obviously it’s still important, but you [inaudible] usually never just money that people are looking for. It’s multiple things.
It’s now 2:00 PM on this day and on our way back to her desk. Domina realized that there was a little hiccup in an interview loop going on on that day. While she was at lunch, a woman came in to interview for the position of a senior project manager for diversity and inclusion and the system wasn’t set up for her to properly conduct her interview. It got resolved, but it involved the candidate waiting around for about 30 minutes or so, confused about what to do next. That’s not the best candidate experienced. Immediate admitted. She coordinated with the hiring manager that she’ll swing by after her interviews are done to smooth things over. Domina underscored that the candidate experience is so important because it’s the first glimpse into what it’s like to work at the company. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
It’s a lot like dating. Like if somebody is like going dark on you or not remembering things you said on previous dates or you know, flaking on you or no showing you that gives them a glimpse of what it’s like to work at your company. So you know the interview process, it can either be a positive one that makes a candidate really, really want to work for your company or it can be a negative one to wear. Not only do they not want to work there, but maybe they never even want to buy your product again. So it’s really important at Microsoft especially cause our, a lot of our people, we’re interviewing our customers to that not only like even whether they get the job or not, most people are not going to get the job and those people still have to have a decent experience so that [inaudible] don’t hate Microsoft. Moving forward.
Two 30 Domina was coming through her inbox answering questions from hiring managers, fixing some compliance issues with offers that were flagged and forming a candidates questions on benefits. 3:00 PM she spent some time mentoring a new recruiter at Microsoft on what to do about a background check issue for a candidate starting the following Monday. But Domina coached her through it without having to delay the start date again. Candidate experience is important.
It was a background check issue where apparently the hiring manager kind of didn’t realize or didn’t tell the recruiter I that there was a special background check needed for the role and nobody caught it until late. And so at first it was, I was trying to pinpoint like what exactly happened, like where the miss was and um, and then how to resolve it quickly. So just kind of coached together recruiter on what to do and how it’s not, yeah, negatively impact the candidates experience cause like yeah, you don’t want someone to think they’re starting and then have to delay their start date because you know it’s money and you know, a terrible first impression. So [inaudible] we got through it and I figured it out and the candidates started on time. So all was good.
4:00 PM on most days is when Domina packs up and heads home, but she wanted to circle back with the candidate from earlier who is delayed in her interview loop to smooth things over. She wasn’t done until 5:00 PM so Domina got to knock out some personal errands while she waited among those errands. We’re ordering some cupcakes for her daughter’s birthday. Motherhood has surprisingly forced Amina to have a better work life balance.
It’s interesting. Like I used to be like a total workaholic. It’s forced me to have better work life balance and B just kinda like do more with less time. Yeah. It kind of like your life like blurs together, especially at Microsoft where it’s like it’s more acceptable to have kids and be like a real person for your work life and personal life just intersect a little bit more.
She also prepared a speech on burnout that she was giving that Wednesday at a Toastmasters chapter. She decided to join because she was terrified of public speaking. Domina publicly speaks every day at her job but she wanted to learn how to be better, especially when GMs and SVPs are listening to her.
There was one on campus, it’s super easy. It’s every Wednesday on my lunch break and um, it’s kind of like going to the gym for public speaking where you get to practice it. They do like practice speeches and they do impromptu ones. So [inaudible] it makes you better and they’d probably be judging me right now cause I’m using a ton of filler words. It is super intimidating though. They’ll like look at like did your hand gestures add to what you’re saying or did they distract and what’s the cadence? Do you use volume inflection to emphasize your point or
thank you, stop thinking about like the real nitty gritty 5:00 PM Domina I met with the candidate from earlier, apologized about the hiccup and chatted about how her day went. She wanted to know if she was excited about the role and if she thought it was a good fit, which she did. She actually ended up taking the role. They also spent time on this day talking about kids and cruises to lighten the mood a little bit. This recovery from a hiccup is the best case scenario, but there are scenarios where bad news needs to be broken. You know, we talked a lot today about extending offers and just like negotiating and all that sort of stuff, but how do you go about telling a candidate who’s super stellar that you were, you know, working throughout this whole process with on the interview process. How do you go to that candidate say,
sorry, you didn’t get the job? Is that a tough conversation? Usually to have. I’m sure.
Yeah. It’s kind of the worst part of the role to be honest, is like rejecting people. If it’s a phone screen, I only have so much time. So if they’ve only made it to like the phone screen stage, then I usually do it via email and I’ll kind of give high level like, Hey you know, this is what, while this is what didn’t. So I decided to move forward with another candidate if they came onsite. I try to have it that conversation via phone just cause they’ve invested a lot of time and a lot of times candidates are actually comment on how nice it is to get feedback on what they can work on to land at next time. You know, cause a lot of companies you’ll never hear back, they’ll kind of like ghost to you until you stop responding. Usually they have an idea that they didn’t do that.
Well it’s, it’s, it happens but it’s pretty rare. Somebody like totally bombed an interview and was like all straight, no hires and thought that they got it. But it does happen sometimes. So not a fun part of the job, but I usually I’ll say like, Hey, this went well, this didn’t, if they were close or sometimes there’ll be like a really close silver medalist, I’ll try to find them another role at Microsoft with another team. But if it’s mixed feedback then [inaudible] yeah, harder for another team to pick them up. So I usually just kind of coach him and you know, tell him to try again.
Reach out in the future. And with the interview loops like, and you mentioned like some, some teams could say yes, some teams could say no. Like what’s the ratio or like the amount of yeses and nos you need in order to make that decision on if the offers extended, obviously I would assume all yeses. But is there ever a case where a candidate that was offered a position got a no from one all the time?
Yeah. We’re like one, one round, they’ll get tripped up for whatever reason, but everyone else was as strong, higher. Sometimes people will be on the fence and they’ll put like, no, but then you read this feedback and it’ll be like, Hey, yes, but at a lower level or something like that. So it’s not like black and white where it’s like, Hey, if you get this many nos, you’re out. But you know, a lot of times sometimes we’ll consider him for a lower level or you know, even people that have half, yes, it does sometimes get offers. It just kinda depends on like how strong the no’s were.
6:00 PM Domina is home and the Seahawks game is on. And a super cute tradition in suits.
I have a four year old daughter and my husband has this thing where they do football and nails whenever there’s a game on. And it’s really just so he can watch the game without her like bugging him every two seconds. But he lets her paint his toenails and she’ll do like several layers sometimes. And so she gets really excited for football, football now. So he goes, I’m going to let her paint her nails. So I snuck a for the day in the life.
What today, we covered a lot of topics in this episode, but we want it to end on domain. His favorite part about being an employee at Microsoft, she loves the programs they offer that give back to those that need a little extra help.
We have an autism hiring program and some of those offers have been like the most impactful of my life. So it’s a program where, um, people that are on the spectrum are typically not successful in traditional dev interviews. And so Microsoft created an interview process where we bring them on site for an entire week and they do a lot of projects and they do mock interviews, they get a lot of coaching. Taking some of those candidates who sometimes like I remember one in particular had like a PhD but was working at a smoothie shop because his social skills weren’t, um, you know, that that would get through a traditional dev interview and getting someone like that, a six figure offer. And um, and also they set them up with mentors who either have autism or like a kid with autism to make sure that their long term successful. It just like, it makes you feel so good about working here. Um, same thing about, we have a military program then I’ve had similar experiences with um, or leap, which is a lot of like moms that are we entering the workforce after staying home with having kids. Like those offers are like, what makes you feel good about working here? That they invest the time.
I love that Martin. [inaudible] seriously. I love that. So then if you do your job to the best of your ability, what value does your best work bring to the company, to your team, to the world?
Yeah, great question. You know, I think that especially me hiring, you know, I’m hiring leaders at the company, they are managing teams and you know, some of our highest priority teams. And so making a great hire, it’s like, it’s hard to even quantify like how much value it brings to the company. You know, it’s, um, every single hire matters. But you know, if you think about it, my four years, let’s say I’ve done like probably three or 400 candidates, I’ve probably, I’m close to have, uh, accepted roles. It’s like what have all those people done to make our company better? Probably a lot. So I, I think it’s valuable. I mean, it’s, at the end of the day, we’re trying to hire the best possible talent as quickly as possible so that Microsoft can, you know, build awesome products that make the world a better place.
You just experienced a day in the life of a recruiter at Microsoft. Check out the show notes that has all the pictures and links in everything we discussed in this episode at [inaudible]. Dot. That’s A.D.I.
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