Professional basketball player Stephen Curry recently started a video interview series called the State of Inspiration. In the first episode, the guest was none other than Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and one of the richest men in the world, whom Curry interviewed over a video call. At the beginning of the interview itself, Curry posed him some job interview questions for the post of a junior engineer at Microsoft, wishing to know how Gates would answer had he been looking for a job.
Stephen Curry asked Bill Gates this first: “Let’s say you are interviewing for a junior engineer position at Microsoft, sitting in a boardroom or on a video call in 2020…Why should we hire you?”
To which the co-founder of Microsoft replied: “You should look at the code that I’ve written. You know, I’m kind of crazy. I write software programs way beyond any classes that I’ve taken and think I’ve got better over time so take a look at how ambitious I’ve been there. I do think I can work well with people…I might criticise their code a little harshly but overall I like to be on a team. I like ambitious goals. I like thinking through how we can anticipate the future. Software is cool and I wanna be involved.”
The second and third question of Curry’s was: “How would you define your strengths and your weaknesses? How you can, you know, incorporate those into a team kind of aspect?”
To which Gates replied: “Well, I’m not somebody who knows a lot about marketing, you know, I wouldn’t enjoy being a salesman. For a position where you are actually creating the products and thinking through what those features should be, I am fascinated by that. I followed the history of the industry, read about the mistakes that have been made. So, product definitions, product creation…very strong. If you have a team that understands the customers, the sales, the marketing…I’m not gonna bring that but I would enjoy working with them”
The next question was: “What would be your salary expectations for this job?”
Here’s how Bill Gates answered this one: “I hope the option package is good, you know, I’m able to take risk and I think the company has a great future so I’d prefer to get stock options even more than cash compensation. I hear some other companies are paying a lot but treat me fairly and emphasise the options.”
The whole interview can be watched here.