Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

  www.gatesfoundation.org
  www.gatesfoundation.org
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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Interview Questions

Updated Aug 3, 2014
Updated Aug 3, 2014
42 Interview Reviews

Interview Experience

Interview Experience

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Getting an Interview

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Candidate Interview Reviews

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  1. 14 people found this helpful  

    Associate Program Officer Global Health Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    The process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in February 2010.

    Interview Details

    Initial phone screen by HR, then a phone screen by the hiring manager, then a long day 8+ hours of 1:1 interviews. It was exhausting.

    The foundation tends to hire on skills rather than issue knowledge, at least for the Policy and Advocacy Groups. If you can tell compelling stories that demonstrate those skills while peppering in some Global Health or Global Development knowledge, you will be better served than trying to play up yourself as a subject matter expert.

    Interview Questions
    • Tell me about a time when you were able to change someone's mind on a particular issue.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    I attempted to negotiate salary, but was not able to.

    At the foundation it's difficult to negotiate salaries for any title Program Officer and below. This would also include Associate Program Officer, Program Coordinator, and Program Assistant.

    With titles like Senior Program Officer, Deputy Director, and Director, there's much more ability to negotiate.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  2. 13 people found this helpful  

    Deputy Director Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    The process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2011.

    Interview Details

    * Contacted by a recruiter.
    * 1:1 phone interview with recruiter.
    *1:1 interview with Gates HR recruiter.
    *1:1 phone interview with Director.
    * Series of in person interviews with 6 staff members.
    The campus is absolutely awesome. It is LEED certified gold. The work space is open and only the higher levels have closed office space. However, there are a lot of Focus Rooms where you can go to work. They have a great cafe in a beautiful atrium. There is a coffee bar and a great selection of food. All food is organic. However it's not particularly cheap.
    The people, hit or miss. Seems like the average age is 28-38. There are a ton of folks who were at Starbucks or Microsoft.

    Interview Questions
    • What can you offer our team, which is already staffed with experts?   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    The relocation package was stellar, but they increased the signing bonus after reconsidering the impact on our family.
    * Relocation includes:
    - corporate housing (domestic location usually includes 30 days; international relocation varies. also your level of hire impacts if you eceive relocation coverate)
    - signing bonus (amount varies and seems to be negotiable)
    - reimbursement
    - moving (packing and unpacking, as well as 30 days storage)
    - week long trip with the family to Seattle (includes airfare, hotel stay, costs during stay)
    - school consultant (if you have children to relocate) and reloaction agent (real estate agent)
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  3. 4 people found this helpful  

    Grants Administrator Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    The process took a day - interviewed at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in October 2011.

    Interview Details

    I received an email advising a request for a phone interview. On the phone interview the recruiter immediately set my expectations that they are reviewing several candidates and that any information would not be relayed to me for a few weeks. The interview lasted about 45 minutes and consisted of general resume questions and scenario questions.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Research Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    The process took a day - interviewed at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in May 2010.

    Interview Details

    I responded to an internal university posting for a graduate research assistantship at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The announcement asked for a resume, cover letter, and a list of references. Two weeks after the closing date of the announcement, I was contacted by phone to schedule an interview. The HR representative disclosed that it would be a panel of three interviewers, and that the interview should take approximately one hour. I wore a suit and brought copies of my resume, along with a pad of paper and a writing utensil. The questions were scripted, with some room for follow-up questions, as necessary. As anticipated, the interview took about one hour. I was contacted one week later, being informed that I did not receive the position.

    Interview Questions
    • Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    IT Support Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    The process took 6 weeks - interviewed at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in July 2011.

    Interview Details

    Applied directly on the Gates Foundation website. One week later I received an email from HR to schedule a phone interview with a senior HR person. All my interactions with the Gates Foundation during the interview process, was professional friendly and helpful, even when telling you you didn't make the cut they were friendly. The only issues I had I was the waiting 6 weeks to find out I didn't make the cut to move on the next level.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  7. 9 people found this helpful  

    Program Coordinator Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 6+ weeks - interviewed at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2011.

    Interview Details

    I first heard from a recruiter about two weeks after applying online. I emailed a contact I have there as soon as I applied, and I think the referral I got from her helped me to get through the resume screening process (the recruiter later told me they had hundreds of applicants for the position). The recruiter set up a time to talk to me and told me to plan for about a 45-minute call. We ended up talking for less than half an hour, and it was all very basic (i.e. questions about my resume and background and lots of time for me to ask questions). She told me I would hear back the next week and the following week I got an email to set up a time to talk to the hiring manager. This conversation was around 45 minutes and was more questions about my resume and experience. A few days after that I heard from a different recruiter who set up a time for me to come in, and I spent four hours at the Foundation the following week (this is now a month after the initial contact). I spoke to the people I will be working with as well as higher-level people and the recruiter. Most of the questions were again about my background, and everyone I spoke to gave me time to ask questions as well. This is not an interview where anyone will try to trick you, and it's much more about making sure the person they hire is a good fit and is dedicated to the mission of the organization. It was overall a good experience and I would recommend focusing on why you are qualified and what you can bring to the position.

    Interview Questions
    Negotiation Details
    Keep in mind that the benefits here add a LOT to the offer. The extraordinarily generous retirement contributions and top-notch health coverage mean you end up with more money in your pocket, and the support they give their employees can make a slightly lower salary worth it.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Program Officer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in January 2009.

    Interview Details

    One phone call interview from HR. 4 1:1 interviews in a very McKinsey style. Now interview process consist of many more 1:1 interviews. They can be very repetitive.

    Interview Questions
    • Some questions seem a little silly, but they are designed to observe your logical thinking.   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    I was told that these were standard scales and there was no negotiation. But it is possible to negotiate!
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
  9. 7 people found this helpful  

    Program Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2011.

    Interview Details

    I received a phone interview from applying online. The phone interview went well and the Recruiter even mentioned that she as going to pass my information along to a Hiring Manager and asked why I hadn't applied sooner. I felt that it was very positive. However, I was not contacted and didn't received a response to any of my follow up emails for three weeks.

    Interview Questions
    • They questions were very basic. Please go over you resume ith me in detail and elaborate on your experiences. Why do you want to work for the Gates Foundation? What are you hoping to get out of our conversation?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  10. 5 people found this helpful  

    IT - Business Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2 months - interviewed at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in December 2010.

    Interview Details

    I was pleasantly surprised at how well I was treated during the interview process. They were very gracious in all e-mail to me, thanking me for considering employment there. Given the recent economy and some people still not working, they treated me like I was considering them more than the other way around.

    I had a recruiter phone interview first. Very nice woman and we had a good conversation. (Now that I'm with the company, we still keep in touch.) We discussed my past experience and qualifications. Normal first interview type of questions. At the end of that call, she discussed the salary and the benefits. That was helpful. I had been working at a for-profit for 14 years and thought I would be offered less money. I was very surprised to find that I would be making at least as much, if not more at the Gates Foundation. Plus, the benefits are amaziningly better and there's a pension contribution that is given (not based on tenure or job level).

    Next, I was set up for all day interviews. I was actually being considered for 2 different jobs. I interviewed with 6 people that day in a conference room. They very nicely had me pre-order lunch but I was in the conference room all day w/ no breaks. Even my lunch was an interview. I didn't eat much as it is awkward to interview and eat (plus, I would have no doubt gotten something stuck in my teeth and that was not the impression I wanted to leave w/ anyone!).

    I knew my chances were very good after that series of interviews. I rec'd good feedback and thought I had a good showing. However, I did go back for 2 more interviews late on a Friday afternoon. It was to meet the director of the dept and a person who would be my co-worker (who wasn't available during the first round).

    Again, things went well and I thought I might hear next steps the following week. I was blown away when the recruiter called my cell phone before I had even arrived home. I called her back and she verbally gave me the job offer on a Friday night at 6:30pm! Throughout my experiences, everyone was really great, respectful, and complimentary.

    The only thing that gave me pause was what I was hearing through my background research (I knew people who had contracted with the Foundation) and even existing employees mentioned this during the interview. That is, that it can be a hard place to work and to get things done. The reasons mentioned were that it is still a young company, working on process and organizational maturity. I see that is true now that I'm here. However, it's also exciting to be part of that building process. It has a bit of a start-up feel. People are really passionate and want to make a difference. Both in the world through the Foundation's mission, but also at the company. If you'd like to join a company where you can be part of the creative input to the processes, systems, and culture, you may like it here!

    Interview Questions
    • Pretty basic interview questions for my role. How would I handle this situation or give me an example of a time when you worked on...   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    The offer was good. I didn't negotiate.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  11. 5 people found this helpful  

    Program Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in February 2009.

    Interview Details

    I was surprised that I had to be brought in three separate times to interview. Each time the recruiters were scrambling to find individuals to interview me (due to original people being out sick). I was also surprised that during the interviews the people interviewing me were late, or not even sure of what they were asking/looking for in an assistant.

    To be fair, 2 of the 4 people who interviewed me are no longer with the foundation (due to their own decision), and it was these two who were the least prepared.

    Interview Questions
    • "If person A asks you to schedule meetings, but then person B asks you to make travel arrangements, and then person C tells you to drop everything and do their tasks - what would you do and how would you prioritize?"   View Answer
    • "Have you ever created secure portals on a SharePoint site, and if you have explain how you did it"   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    There was no negotiating; I felt that the offer given to me was fair albeit much lower than what I was making at a for-profit corporation ($12,000 less!).
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

See What Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Employees Are Saying

3 people found this helpful

 Former Program Coordinator in Seattle, WA

Pros: “Everyone can agree that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation does world changing work. I have worked there in two different capacities two different times in the last 9 years and the…” Full Review

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