I'm finally somewhat alert today after a five-hour nap. I don't sleep well on planes, and when I finally started to doze off during Night At The Museum 2, we hit some ridiculous turbulence for an hour. I'm a pretty mellow flier, but this was disturbing. After three hours in Detroit, I was in the air for 25 minutes more before landing in Cleveland and passing out. I find it easy to travel west, but going back east is always a struggle for me, whether it's from Hawaii, Las Vegas or Seattle.
In any case, I got up at 6 a.m. yesterday, since I was still pretty firmly on Eastern Time. Enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet at the Hilton Bellevue, where Microsoft puts up recruits. I stayed there last time as well. It's about a 10 minute drive to the main campus from there, with traffic. It's a slightly aging hotel but it's well kept, and the rooms are giant. Very comfortable.
My interviews were in buildings 5 and 6, a few blocks east from 42, where I was last year. There's a new garage next door, along with the new 37. Building numbers there are odd. Even though 37 is new, there are buildings with higher numbers, and there is no 7. Apparently that's a hazing ritual, sending new people to building 7.
One other aside, it seems like there's some effort to preserve trees when they build stuff in the Northwest. The MS campus is very green, but so were all of the surrounding areas in Redmond and Bellevue. I like that.
Anyway, my first interview was with one of the guys I did the first phone screen with. We talked mostly about technical stuff around testing, refactoring and some architecture. My second one was along those lines as well. Did a bit of white boarding in both cases. For the most part I felt like I was doing well, although my SQL was a little rusty. At one point, I felt like one of the things I was tasked with was not an ideal architectural decision, and said so. I wasn't sure if I should, because I guess it was based on something existing.
The third interview was with a developer lead. He explained really small developer teams don't have managers or PM's, so they designate someone as a lead. The grill cook in the cafeteria took it upon himself to grill some chicken with particularly hot rubs, not so much because I asked, but because I asked if it was "really spicy." I was nearly crying as we were talking because of the heat. It was kind of funny to me. In any case, we talked about process and playing nice with others, among other things.
Usually they set up a few interviews in the morning, and leave the afternoon open ended. They say it's because they have to firm up further appointments, but really it's because they don't commit unless your first interviews go well. Yeah, last time I was there, I didn't have any afternoon interviews.
After lunch, I met with both the hiring manager and his boss, who was more of a director-level person. Again, these were more personality driven interviews about me and why Microsoft and stuff along those lines. The senior guy was really pitching his group, which seemed unusual to me, and left me feeling optimistic that they were serious about me.
So again, I'm left feeling optimistic, but I can't really know anything for sure until they get back to me. It would obviously be very difficult to not get it, after meeting likable people and enjoying time in town. There are a lot of smart people there, and we simply don't have opportunities like that here in Cleveland.
Crossing everything I can...