Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
Interviews for Top Jobs at Sandia
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- Declined OfferPositive ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied in-person. The process took 3+ months – interviewed at Sandia (Livermore, CA).
The interview process took quite a long time. I applied online, and got a phone screen from a hiring manager within a week. After the phone screen, he decided that he wanted to bring me in for an in-person interview. By the time I finally got the in-person interview roughly 6 weeks passed.
As part of the in-person interview I was told that I needed to do a 30-45 minute technical presentation. I decided on doing one from grad school rather than one from work since I didn't have to worry about potentially revealing proprietary information about work. The day started around 8:30am and lasted until about 3pm. It consisted of 1:1 interviews with the hiring manager, as well as other hiring managers who also expressed interest in possibly hiring me. The people were quite friendly and professional the entire time.
After the interview, I was offered a position about 1 month later from a different hiring manager than the one that brought me in. Unfortunately, it was not the compensation that I was looking for so I decided to turn it down. I tried to negotiate with the hiring manager but the salary was a set number.
All in all, my experience with Sandia was positive. There are some really nice people there and if the numbers worked out, I would've been a part of it. Eventually, I could see myself possibly re-connecting down the line with some of the people there.
- Describe your work experiences and what you've accomplished so far. Answer Question
Helpful (3)Accepted OfferPositive ExperienceDifficult Interview
I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2 days – interviewed at Sandia (Albuquerque, NM).
Interview process usually starts with a technical presentation such as PhD or Master's research projects, followed by interviews with several members of your technical group. At least one of these is usually from outside your research area and will ask you about broader themes such as the research community, research processes, conferences etc. The interviews are usually very relaxed with the emphasis on you explaining ideas or research areas you are familiar with rather than question-based driving toward a single "correct answer." My experience was that staff were really trying to explore you thoughts and ideas. Knowledge of current research questions and themes helped considerably at this gave the interviewer and me something concrete to discuss. There was ample opportunity to ask the interviewers questions about the laboratories, the culture, the area (New Mexico) and research at the laboratory. I never felt that anyway was being hidden and I was encouraged to be open about what things I wanted to ask etc.
- What area did I think the laboratory did not perform well in or an area where the laboratory could improve. This is difficult because of the obvious problem of being too critical. My experience here was to be open, explain that there are on-going challenges which require continuous improvements and explain how you could help there or what interests you bring to extend this in novel ways. The interviewer seemed very receptive to this conversation and was very supportive in exploring them. Answer Question
Did not negotiate, felt the laboratory offered a good benefits package up front with opportunities for promotion in the future.
Helpful (1)Accepted OfferPositive ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied online. The process took 3+ months – interviewed at Sandia (Albuquerque, NM) in October 2014.
Timeline: the hiring process took almost three months. I was contacted for a phone interview two weeks after applying to the position online through Sandia's career website. The onsite interview was confirmed one week later, and took place four weeks after the phone interview. A verbal offer was extended seven weeks after the onsite interview. This longer than usual timeline was due to the holiday season and vacation. Communication and feedback were excellent throughout.
Phone interview: this was with an engineer with experience in the position and lasted about 30 minutes. It was very straightforward and casual: we discussed my interest in the position, qualifications, experience, biggest challange(s) and success(es) in my Ph.D. work, some details about how the group is composed, and life in Albuquerque.
Onsite interview: this was a full day, lasting from 8:30 - 4:30. First was an hour-long HR briefing with a few other interviewees at Sandia that day. I was then escorted to the group's building and gave a one hour seminar (50 minutes presentation, 10 minutes Q&A) on my Ph.D. research. This was surprisingly well attended by about 15 Sandians, about half of whom were not interviewing me later on but were just interested (this seems to reflect the atmosphere of the lab - learning and growth are definitely parts of the culture). The rest of the day consisted of a 30 minute 1:1, a 2 hour lunch with managers, two 1 hour 1:1s, and a 1 hour 8:1 group interview. Overall there was great balance between personal, technical, and behavioral discussions. I was given opportunities to show my expertise, sell my character and skills, and ask questions. All of the interviewers were positive and eager to both hear and talk about my fit within the group. I felt like they were selling Sandia to me as much as I was selling myself to them (what a relief this was!). The group interview was the toughest part, but that was expected: thinking out loud is hard for me in front of a group of people, but they understand it is stressful and helped me through parts where I struggled.
Overall: the entire process was a great experience. Logistical details were handled well and travel was easy.
- Most questions were about my research and I felt comfortable answering them after spending 5 years doing just that. There were a few unpredictable off the wall questions, the kind where sharing them does no good because they are random problems designed to see how you think. Answer Question
Salary offer was higher than anticipated. I accepted without negotiating.
- No OfferNegative ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied online. The process took 2+ months – interviewed at Sandia (Livermore, CA) in October 2014.
I had a phone interview but when they found out my undergraduate GPA from 20 years ago was less than 3.2 they didn't want to go further with the interview process, even though my graduate GPA was 4.0!
- What do you know about Sandia, do you think we are as impressive as we think we are? Answer Question
- Accepted OfferPositive ExperienceDifficult Interview
I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2+ months – interviewed at Sandia (Kirtland AFB, NM) in October 2014.
First off, I cheated. I have been a contractor at SNL for a few years. I had already developed a reputation and several professional contacts within Sandia before I applied.
1) Search for the job on Sandia's website.
2) Apply for the job via Sandia's website.
3) Discuss application with manager filling the position.
4) Wait patiently for official email response from Sandia's hiring group.
Once I received the official email inviting me to an interview, I had a great deal of background paperwork to fill out. Most of this was easy, as I already carry a security clearance and had filled out similar paperwork two years before. Be prepared to detail everything about the last 10 years of your life.
I was also invited to a benefits meeting, where an HR rep detailed the benefits that Sandia offers.
Two weeks after the interview, I was given an official verbal job offer. Two days after that I received the official offer letter.
IMPORTANT POINT: The interview took place in the Limited Area. Do no take any personal electronics with you - no cell phones, mp3 players, cameras, etc. You will need to stay close to your escort the entire time you are in the Limited Area.
- Why do you want to leave your current position as a contract employee? 1 Answer
The hiring manager knew my current wage since I was a contract employee. This actually took a lot of the uncertainty out of the process. I was able to ensure a 13% increase in pay through casual conversation. This put me at just about the mid-point in the pay scale I was being hired into.
Helpful (1)Accepted Offer
I applied online – interviewed at Sandia.
I talked to someone at a Career Fair who directed me to apply online. I then received a call about 3 months later and got an interview. I got an offer about a week later and started about a month after that.
Interview wasn't too complicated but did last all day. I was taken on a tour of the labs and spoke with different managers that I would interface with. Only about 1 hour of the day was an actual interview.
Helpful (1)Accepted Offer
I applied online. The process took 2 days – interviewed at Sandia.
Just like any high level scientific position. You give a talk about past work. A talk about future plans. And then meet with ~10-15 current staff scientists to discuss both their endeavors and your plans.
- What's one thing in your life you regret? Answer Question
I asked for a sign on bonus and got one added.
- Accepted Offer
Was straightforward, I applied online and got a call from the hiring manager. I conducted a phone interview with her and then went in for an onsite interview. Gave a 30 min presentation on my work and then completed some behavioral/technical interviews, and was hired within one month of applying.
- What is your biggest weakness? Answer Question
- Accepted OfferNegative ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied through an employee referral. The process took 8+ months – interviewed at Sandia (Albuquerque, NM) in February 2013.
It takes forever. HR briefing. Multiple interviews with technical staff. A "technical" presentation. Why do yo have a 50 word min Glassdoor?! bla bla bla bla bla bla
Helpful (3)Accepted Offer
I applied through other source. The process took 3 days – interviewed at Sandia.
Was an intern here so interview was mainly a formality. HR did their usual speech about what a wonderful place to work it is, but couldn't be helpful beyond that. Their moving package is handled by a third party contractor who has horrible web security, my personally identifiable information (SSN etc) was exposed by them which led to identity theft. The moving contractor employee I worked with went on vacation and never came back.
- What was your worst course in college? 1 Answer
No negotiation allowed. HR will low ball you and it's up to the hiring manager to reject it before he makes the offer to you, once your get the offer there is no negotiation allowed even if you have multiple offers. I had competing offers from LLNL and LANL and SNL wouldn't negotiate even though LANL's was higher.
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