Types of people we look for in marketing and finance

Lately, I've been doing a lot of work to help further define what we are looking for in the marketing and finance spaces. Specifically, I'm working to define the "big buckets" of candidates we try to attract, not the kinds of roles that we hire them into. For example, we hire many strategy consultants. They can go into product strategy roles, business development, operational roles, etc. My work is to find them, wherever they are. Once we know who they are, then we try and match them up. This approach is effective because for any one type of role at Microsoft, a number of different candidate profiles could fit. These will all fluctuate as out business needs change. We have some major profile categories that we feel, together, make up about 80% of what we hire for. We have some smaller buckets that we hire for less, but still think they are significant enough to mention. This is not comprehensive, so it's quite possible that you won't see something here that sounds like you and we would still be interested in speaking with you. Anyway, here are our profiles...


Top profiles:

Management consulting (in a marketing or high tech practice, ideally)

Inbound technology product management in enterprise and/or small/medium space

Outbound technology product marketing in enterprise and/or small/medium space

Partner management and strategy (working with ISVs, SIs, OEMs, other channel partners)

Strategic Alliance (build-buy-license strategy and deal execution)

Consumer marketing (inbound or outbound)


Additional marketing profiles:

Brand                                                      Pricing/Licensing

Public and analyst relations                       Advertising

Packaging                                                Market Research

Events Management                                 Direct/Database/Customer Relationship Marketing

Partner Marketing                                    Consumer packaged goods

Training/eLearning                                    Emerging Markets

Content and editorial                                 Evangelism



Top profiles:

Financial Analysis

Management/strategy/business consulting




Additional Finance Profiles:

Business and Reporting Analysis               Forensic

Treasury                                                   Tax

IT Audit                                                   Risk

Venture Capital/Investment Banking   


I realize that a lot of these profiles cross over. This is just how we are going to be thinking about these profiles as we reach out to people (assuming that many audit people belong to similar professional organizations and are networked for example).

Hopefully this will help answer some of those questions about the types of people we look for. I'll continue to add more detail on some of these profiles over time (and as I learn more about the finance space). If you have questions about the profiles or the kind of hiring we do, feel free to ask!


Comments (17)

  1. Steve Shu says:

    Was curious how Microsoft differentiates partner management or strategy with strategic alliance … Is strategic alliance meant to be more global strategic alliance stuff?

  2. Mark Mullin says:

    Forensic ? uh-oh …… 🙂

    One category you don’t have ( not that I’m an accountant, but you can’t stay in business and not know this stuff <heaves deep sigh>) that I’ve seen more and more of – Sarbanes/Oxley Compliance specialist (uh, not that my pipsqueak of an org needs to worry about this :-D, just some of my clients) Curious as to why you haven’t called this out if you’ve called out forsenic acctg. Do you put it under something else ?

  3. Heather says:

    Yep-under financial analysis

  4. Wayne says:

    Have you ever hired developers (programmers) into product strategy or business development roles? What do you think’s the best way to make that kind of career transition?

  5. Dan says:

    I’ve got an MS in Software Engg and will be graduating in a month with an MBA in Finance. I have one-year full time experience with a German and British firm related to SAP.

    As you can see I am making a switch towards Finance. Keeping in mind the job market what do say, from your experience, my strategy should be to break into the job market? Or in other words which of the above jobs should provide me to utilize my abilities effectively?



  6. Heather says:

    Wayne-many people make that transition by getting an MBA. Very common here. Otherwise, I would encourage tech folks looking to move into marketing to do it gradually. First find a role in the sales/marketing channel that requires technical skills as well. It’s hard to do make the move in one big step, to be honest. We do have some technical product manager roles, but they would definitely require some understanding of and experience with marketing pricipals. But if someone is currently in a tech role at a company where development owns the product roadmap, I would assume that they have some of that marketing exposure. We don’t need pure "marketers" for product strategy role. So a hybrid background works great for us.

    Dan-good question. My advice would be first to absolutely take advantage of any on-campus interviewing opportunities. Most larger companies (with robust finance functions) hire people coming out of b-school via campus interviews. For us, many of our finanace groups like public accounting experience; ideally, someone who has worked in public accounting and then moved into corporate. So, I guess I’d recommend that 1) you check out our MBA recruiting site (www.microsoft.com/mba) to get an idea of what the finance roles look like for new MBAs. The roles that I will be hiring for will typically require more experience than what you see on the MBA site. So I’d definitely recommend focusing on their open roles. I’d be more than happy to forward your resume to our MBA recruiting team if you would like to send it tome : heathham@microsoft.com

  7. Heather says:

    Steve-we kind of use our own taxonomy here in staffing, so the businesses may have different titling around those types of roles or may refer to the functions in different ways. The way we look at it, partner management means working with ISVs, SIs, other strategic partners, managing the relationship and the partnering strategy. When we talk about Strategic Alliance (here in staffing), we are taling about the people that do the strategy around the build/buy/license decisions. They identify compatible technologies relative to functionality needs, handle due diligence, business modeling, work with finanace and legal to execute deals. So basically, the Partner management roles are more channel focused, the strategic alliance roles are more aligned with the product group itself. Hope that makes sense.

  8. Mark Mullin says:

    oh boy oh boy – can I take a shot at Dan’s question ????!!!


    Right now, companies often capitalize new development costs and expense all changes to production systems because of the complexities in this area – a finance guy who could help separate capital from expense in ongoing revisions of production systems is worth their weight in gold. A masters in CS and a finance MBA would make you highly qualified in this area. Right now, companies often abandon investments in existing systems due to these complexities.

    Heather, one of my sometime clients is an F500 company that’s one of msft’s leading enterprise accounts (one of the first into .net in a big way) I know they have this problem, and I’ve seen it bite em. Such a skill available on consulting basis would most likely be a big interest to them. Contact me if you want their name, that alone should give you everything else you need.

  9. Heather says:

    Mark-interesting perspective! That just shows me how much I have to learn to get ramped back up on the finance world! (Dan, if I was you, I’d also send your resume to Mark or at least get a contact name at this company he is referring to).

  10. I am wondering why this position at Microsoft included a salary? In my experience, this is not the way you guys operate, and highly unusual…Is this an incorrect posting?


    Base Pay: $95,000.00 – $105,000.00/Year

    Bonus: $12,000.00

  11. Heather says:

    Biz wizz-the person that posted that is not a Microsoft employee as far as I can tell. And you are right, we don’t publish salaries and there’s not such thing as a set bonus about so it’s just erroneous. Thanks for bringing this to my attention though. I am going to check into it.

  12. CarlaC says:

    Heather, in one of Gretchen’s post [Technical Recruiting Blog] she wrote:

    <<We often launch targeted employee referral campaigns. We find our employees are the best recruiters out there. Not only are they good at identifying great talent but they also know how to create buzz around our opportunities.>>

    This comment caught me by surprise! Of the dozen or more people I know that work at Microsoft, none have ever expressed that referral opportunity, even when I’ve asked for "networking" advice. More so, they indicate that a) they know nothing about recruiting in field x which is outside of their group/technology, (b) they wouldn’t know who to refer you to and (c) everyone has to adhere to the same protocol/process (ie: It’s not allowed).

    Could you elaborate on how to channel such referrals? Thanks!

  13. Heather says:

    Carla-I can’t really speak for those other people (or for Gretchen). If you were to give them your resume, they could forward it to any recruiter they know to get it into the system. They could also enter it at an employee referral website. What I believe Gretchen was referring to is recruiters going out and soliciting referrals from employees. There’s no protocol violation there. Just good recruiting.

    Most Microsoft employees probably wouldn’t offer to help unless they knew you were looking though or expressed some interest in working at Microsoft. Sometimes you pretty much have to come out and ask them to refer you or just send them your resume. As far as the a,b and c, you mention here, you should probably take that up with the individuals that said it. Maybe they don’t know you well enough to refer you? You might want to ask them.

  14. Dan says:

    Thanks folks you have been a great help.

    Mark – yes if you could refer me to a company / or refer me a company / or if you had a specific company in mind? just let me know.

    Heather – Thanks for the offer.

    Your advice is really useful. I could use more of it.




  15. The pageman says:

    does this system work for southeast asia/central asia/middle east recruitments as well?



  16. Heather says:

    Pageman-My responsibility is for headquarters and US subsidiary. Our overseas subsidiaries each have their own HR/staffing departments. So unfortunately, I’m not clear onthe specific roles they are working on. I can tell you that the recruiting teams in these offices actively review resumes that are submitted against specific jobs. So if you apply via the international page off of our carrers site, someone would definitely review your resume.

  17. Jimmie says:

    I would like know what training you may need to get  this job beside a MBA?

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