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RAND Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Apr 9, 2014

Getting an Interview  


Interview Experience  


Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
11 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
Relevance Date Difficulty

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Project Associate Interview

Project Associate

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at RAND.

Interview Details – The process was long and scattered. But I was able to do the phone and site visit after 2.5 months of application. The position description does not match the actual role. So make sure you ask in details. When I learned about the actual role on site, I was not as interested because it wasn't a good match. The project director asked why my cover letter was so short, and seemed to doubt the decisions I made in my career paths. Her questions also seemed to test and challenge me in an unfriendly way. The peer interview was very casual and cordial. I enjoyed it.

Interview Question – what would you do on your starting day in this role?
what do you think about surveys?
why you want to leave your current job?
  Answer Question

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Easy Interview

Sociologist Interview

New York, NY

I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at RAND.

Interview Details – The interview was held in the ASA conference. I was interviewed by a senior researcher. Interview questions are not difficult and within my expectation. He asked about my Ph.D. research, what kind of dataset I use. He also talked about what it is like working in RAND as well as the potential career path.

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Contracts Administrator Interview

Contracts Administrator

Interviewed at RAND

Interview Details – First contacted by a phone interviewer. Basic questions; describe your past experience, why are you the best candidate for this position? etc. I then received an e mail about a day later and invited me back for an in-person interview. I first met with a human resources representative, Again, same basic questions and she also went over the benefits and the rest of the interview process. Then meet with the Associate Director of Contracts. More detailed questions, not really about my experience or skills but more scenario based. Next people I met with were to co-workers, who I would be working directly with. One person was leaving to another position in the company and the other was taking her position. So, I imagined that I would be filling the open position. More of a friendly interview, some of my favorite hobbies and my negotiation skills and computer skills. Last person I met with was the Director of Contracts. The shortest interview of them all and very similar to the interview with the Associate Director. They informed me that they had another week of interviews left but I would definitely be contacted if I was offered the job or that they were no longer pursuing my candidacy. I didn't receive any correspondence for 3 weeks and even sent a follow up with the Associate Director. I then received a phone call from a human resource rep and she said that they were no longer pursuing my candidacy. They even mentioned that they didn't hire any candidates from the interviews and were going to do another round of interviews which I wouldn't be invited back to.

Interview Question – Most of the unexpected questions came from the other contract administrators, which they had mentioned the found off the internet. One example is, What is your idealistic job and what is your realistic job?   Answer Question

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No Offer

Negative Experience

Very Easy Interview

Telephone Interviewer Interview

Telephone Interviewer
Santa Monica, CA

I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at RAND in September 2013.

Interview Details – Apply on line, then received telephone interview, then in person group interview with computer test. Don't spend a lot of time reviewing the area of research you are being hired for. This was a position for Medicare Research and they really did not care to much if you knew anything. I was friendly and outgoing as that is my personality after being in the counseling field for 30 plus years. I think it worked against me. The phone interview was like talking to a robot. The group interview had a panel of 3 people. The supervisor for the Telephone interview area was unfriendly, made no eye contact, uninterested in people, he made no comments and only asked his share of questions. It was apparent the three had split up what to ask. He was slouching in his chair and uninterested in the process at all. I may be wrong but he wanted people who ask survey question, type in data fast and nothing else. Interview lasted 1 1/2 hours. They did not tell you at the end how you would be notified of results but the training started the next week. I emailed the HR contact and she was nice enough to tell me that those who were hired had been call already. MORE than a week after the training started they sent an email stating I was not qualified!!! What I don't get is why tell me I am qualified for the group interview but then use lack of qualifications for the excuse of no hire. Awful people with NO people skills. Make you go through through all this for a low paying job.

Interview Question – None were difficult.   Answer Question

No Offer

Negative Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Proposal Position - Santa Monica Interview

Proposal Position - Santa Monica
Santa Monica, CA

I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at RAND in July 2009.

Interview Details – This is a review for a position from several years ago - approximately 2009. I received a phone interview for a proposal position for which I fit hand in glove. Not only did I have the proposal experience, I had education in science and political science (graduate degree), and experience in medicine - all which were related to the types of proposals I would be working. The head of the proposal department called and obviously had only briefly scanned my resume. When he asked if I had any experience in anything other than MS Word and any desktop publishing or graphics experience, I said I did. He clearly expected a "no" and was taken aback then stated I didn't need such experience. (?) I stated he just asked me and the job description also required it. He then began to actually read my resume and I could tell that he was going to do whatever to block me from working at RAND. He was seeking someone lesser than what the position description actually required. Clearly, he was one of those people who ensure no one too skilled is in his line of subordinates. To guarantee I didn't walk through the door for an interview where someone may have said "hire this person," he ended the conversation swiftly by selecting the least skilled item in my resume (desktop publishing) and stated that is who I really was and - get this - stated that made me unqualified for the position. When I pointed out that my resume did not reflect that, he began screeching at me to end it right there.

1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Web Producer Interview

Web Producer
Pittsburgh, PA

The process took a day - interviewed at RAND in December 2010.

Interview Details – I applied for the RAND Web Producer position by answering an online ad. Over a month later, I was contacted by their HR manager to schedule an in-person interview. She was very personable and helpful in letting me know where the office was and what I needed to do to get signed in and registered.

I wore business formal (suit) to the interview, which was appropriate for this interview. The employees were dressed in "nice" casual and informal business casual. The HR manager got me prepared in the conference room and gave me a packet about their benefits, and then we went through the interview process. It took about two hours. I had several conference calls with managers in Santa Monica (corporate headquarters), as well as a panel interview, 1:1 interviews, and a chat with the HR person in California.

Most of the interview questions were easy. However, there were several I found difficult to answer. They kept asking why I voluntarily changed duties at my current job, and seemed concerned that I was at a higher management level than the position required. The man who interviewed me also chose to ask many questions that were more fitting of a stress interview. He seemed to also feel the position was a bit low-level for me. He questioned several times whether I was able to work independently, since I was so used to being a manager.

The job didn't sound appealing in the end. It had a strict 8:30-5:30 or 9-6 schedule, with an hour for lunch. The duties were also not in my area of interest. I was in a creative position at that time, and the described job duties were very heavy on analytics gathering and reporting, which don't interest me. I also didn't appreciate the inflexibility of the role, or how quiet and sterile the office environment seemed. There wasn't a lot of room for growth or upward mobility, and the youngest employee there was around 35. (This may be a Pittsburgh thing more than a RAND thing, though.)

For the last interview, which was a private conference call with the HR lady in Santa Monica, they left me alone in the room. I could see my college apartment from the conference room window, and halfway through our call, I realized I was straying far from my major and from my career goals in taking this job. At this point I realized the job was not for me, but I finished out the interview to be polite. No one remembered I was in there, so I had to come out and find people to conclude the interview and show me out.

I wrote a series of thank-you notes the next day, in which I announced I was withdrawing my application. A month later, they sent me a rejection form letter by e-mail.

Interview Question – Describe a conflict you had with a co-worker and how you solved it. Please be specific.   Answer Question

1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Associate Economist Interview

Associate Economist

I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at RAND.

Interview Details – 30-40 min interviews/ challenging questions about research

Interview Question – a variety of questions beyond my research   Answer Question

2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Research Programmer Interview

Research Programmer

I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at RAND in June 2011.

Interview Details – Had a phone interview, a lunch interview and an all-day interview with over a dozen people. Very cool and very smart people, and seems like a good culture there. I didn't get an offer, but would definitely work there if I did.

Interview Question – Why do you want to work for RAND   Answer Question

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Research Interview


The process took a day - interviewed at RAND in January 2009.

Interview Details – I was contacted by the department head and interviewed by two within the department

Interview Question – Why I wanted to move to that specific city   View Answer

2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Researcher Interview


I applied through a recruiter and the process took a day - interviewed at RAND in December 2009.

Interview Details – Professional acquaintance called and pitched the position to me, invited me to send a resume and writing sample. I did so. I was invited to fly out for day-long interview (standard in my field) with seminar and several interviews including a lunch interview. Just a minor complaint: for a coast-to-coast flyout they should have offered to take me to dinner too but did not.

Unique to this organization is participation in teleconferences with offices in other locations. Teleconference equipment was state of the art and very effective, almost like being there.

All the travel arrangements and logistics were smooth and professional.

Interviewees should mainly do their homework on the organization and the position, like with any job.

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