SharePoint PFE (Premier Field Engineer) for Microsoft

Yeah, it is true I did get that call from Microsoft to go through the interview for the PFE in SharePoint and you know what the end result I didn’t get selected.

Well, I am definitely disappointed not getting selected but I am not unhappy with what I am doing today, either technically or financially.

let’s walk you through the process how it all happened and how I missed the boat.

A recruiter reached me out on Linkedin sending that one of the emails you get once in a while. Well, I was not looking for anything but when Microsoft is knocking I couldn’t resist and thought of giving it a shot.

Recruiter did a prescreen test, throwing some random questions about SharePoint like let’s say

  • Name three databases that get’s created when SharePoint is installed.
  • How many web application can a content database have
  • What is the default authentication mode SharePoint use
  • Name three service application in SharePoint.
  • Some question related to office 365

So similar kind of trivia questions. Once you are through the recruiter than you will have tour first interview which was a phone screen.  This is the main beef that you have to cross to go to second round and my journey ended right here.

I was interviewed my 2 PFEs from Microsoft who pretty much do what you will be doing if you get hired. The position was for SharePoint PFE for the year 2018. Major of the question they asked me was about SharePoint 2016 and Hybrid.

Honestly, the questions weren’t that difficult but my smartness of not doing enough research failed me miserably.

I am a SharePoint Consultant and been working in SharePoint for almost 10 years now. My last knowledge of SharePoint is until 2013 professionally and some front-end exposure to Office 365. I never got a chance to have my hands on 2016 or hybrid which is a major part of the new PFE role.

I didn’t have SP2016 or Office 365 on my resume so my understanding was I will get to learn about them with the knowledge I have about Sharepoint legacy systems. But it was not the case, the position demands enough expertise at least in the interview.

So, I am writing this just for those candidates who have their interview lined up for PFE in SharePoint. When I searched for myself I didn’t find anything.

So get prepared for SharePoint 2016, what does it have more than 2013. What are hybrid systems? How do you build a hybrid? What can be shared between hybrid systems?; let’s say if there is a managed metadata service application in on-premise can it be consumed by online. What was the biggest challenge while updating 2010 to 2013. With all the usual questions you get in SharePoint 2013, get prepared for more cloud exposure.  So having not seen SP2016 was a big mistake I have done. Also, you can ask the person who sets up your interview about the possible areas that you can prepare.

I kind of rue the chance, trust me the interview will not be that tough if you have worked in SharePoint for a number of years. But do some research on the recent technology being used by Microsoft and get prepared.  I can’t tell you more about the interview process because that’s where I ended. I bet there are more rounds but make sure you go through this. Let me know if you find some other experiences in the comments.

If this helps at least 1 person, I will celebrate the time I took writing this.

Good Luck.



One thought on “SharePoint PFE (Premier Field Engineer) for Microsoft

  1. I found your post after applying for an O365 and Sharepoint PFE role in Switzerland. I got the first interview thanks to a referral from a former colleague.
    The phone screening did not have any tech. question, it was merely about describing the role and checking my salary expectation was in line with what they would offer for this position.

    I had a few days until round 2 interview with one of the PFE that held the role in Switzerland.
    I did use the time I had to read through all the Sharpeoint 2016 microsoft doc with focus on Hybrid (search in particular) as I do not have working expercience with 2016 (just like you). I had followed different online-trainings on Office 365 and sharepoint online so didn’t spend too much time on it.
    During this 2nd interview via Skype she asked me different questions mainly related to business cases, such as :
    – How would you plan a move to Office 365 for a customer with on-premise infrastructure ?
    – What do you know about Slack (didn’t have an answer to this one at the time) ?
    – What would you do if you had a customer complain about degraded performance of their O365 tenant over time ?
    and a few others such as how would you re-assure a customer following a reported security breach in the press nothing going into deep technical stuff but all customer centric questions. I made it through this round as well (to my surprise).

    Final round was the assessment of a business case around external sharing in Office 365 in a 30 min. presentation in microsoft offices in Munich.
    I had about 2 weeks to prepare for this one and spent many hours reading through a lot of different resources related to the business case to prepare this presentation that had to be non-technical.
    D-day, I did present the case in front of 2 Tech. Delivery Leads and 1 People manager connected remotely.
    After a quick introduction I did my presentation. Then came time for feedback and questions. While my presentation
    and recommendations did address the business case using either Sharepoint online or Teams, I did probably not emphasize enough on the latter (I did mention some drawbacks… not a good idea). I figured afterwards Microsoft is pushing very hard for customers to adopt Office 365 Teams against competitor Slack (that MS considered acquiring before developing Teams).
    So while the role is supposed to be a technical one (field engineer…) targeted towards Sharepoint, the questions and feedback weren’t much about technical knowledge and Sharepoint at all, but rather on how to market Teams and force adoption… I did really feel like what they were looking for was a sales rep more than anything else.

    Bottom line, I failed this part. I’m not sure how many candidates they interviewed but the assessent ran for 2 days so I’d assume around 8. I don’t know if they made an offer to any of them.
    Don’t count on “come with what you know and we’ll teach you the rest” as advertised in their job postings. Unless you can sell yourself and the entire Microsoft products line-up, there’s not much they are willing to teach you.


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