I cooked dinner during my interview- Matt Burrough (Microsoft Engineer)

Adeyemi/ Jobs and Career

Matt Burrough, a Microsoft Engineer, gave this answer to the question: What is the craziest thing you have ever said (or done) at an interview and still got the job?

[bctt tweet=”I cooked dinner during my interview and I took my dog on a walk”]

I cooked dinner during my interview- Matt Burrough (Microsoft Engineer)

I find his answer very funny and very insightful. As at the time of writing this, his response has over 21,000 views and over 100,000 thousand votes on Quora.

And if you are thinking that I made this up, you can read Matt Burrough‘s answer to What is the craziest thing you have ever said (or done) at an interview and still got the job? on Quora

This is exactly what he said on Quora:

“Eight years ago I decided to apply for a job at Microsoft. For those that don’t know, the typical Microsoft application process goes like this – you submit an application, it is reviewed by a recruiter and they’ll contact you and describe the next steps.

Next, if the hiring team shows interest, someone from recruiting/HR will perform a basic technical phone screen. If that goes well, someone from the team that’s hiring will do a more detailed phone interview.

Finally, if both phone calls go well, you’ll be brought in for a series of face-to-face interviews (or panel interviews).

In my case, the hiring team was interested enough in my application that an engineer called me right away for a phone interview, before the initial HR screen.

I happened to be on the metro (subway) on my way home from work when he called. Since it was loud and cell coverage was spotty, I asked him to call me later, and he said sure.

When I got home, I remembered my wife was working late and that I had promised to cook dinner that night, so I started cooking. I got out some pasta, started boiling water, and heating up some sauce.

At that moment, the phone rang. I answered, and it was the engineer calling back.  I felt like I couldn’t ask him to call me back again, so I started answering questions.

He asked me all kinds of questions about OS architecture, networking, and logic. When he got to a question that involved some math, I used the small whiteboard we kept on the fridge for grocery lists to do the calculation.

All the while, I was stirring, seasoning, and straining the pasta and sauce.  My wife got home part way through the call, and I quickly jotted something on top of the math like ‘on phone with MS’.

That call went well, and I was told I’d be getting a call from the recruiter because the basic screen was still required.  A couple of days later, on a Saturday, I took my dog to a park for a long walk.

Part way through the walk, I got another call, this time from the recruiter, which took me by surprise.  I decided to take the call and get it over with.

Luckily the screen was shorter and considerably easier than the first call.

After all that, I was flown in for a half-day of in-person panel interviews, and got the job. I’ve now been at Microsoft for nearly 8 years.”

Would you have done something different if you were in his shoes? Let’s share our thoughts below.

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About Adeyemi

Adeyemi Adetilewa is an entrepreneur who knows about digital marketing in all its forms. Asides from writing, and helping businesses grow, he wants to travel around the world with his family, acoustic guitar, and digital camera.

3 Comments

  1. Hello Adeyemi,
    Sorry, the bunny stopped for some carrots. lol.
    Nice piece you got here. At first, I thought it was a metaphor or something.
    When i read through, all i could say, was wow.

    IT just points to the fact that there is no perfect time. If he had made excuses and didn’t do it, he probably wouldn’t be at the job today.
    We never know the opportunities that come at awkward times. Sieze the day.
    Let me not turn it into a mini post. Hahahaha.
    Cheers.

    1. Thanks a lot Ruth,
      You are absolutely right with every word. There is nothing like a perfect time. We create the perfect time ourselves.

  2. Don’t forget to ask @mattburrough for professional interview tips. I wish you a successful career.

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