California LAO

California LAO Interview Questions

Updated Sep 28, 2014
Updated Sep 28, 2014
4 Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Internship Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online – interviewed at California LAO.

    Interview Details

    After emailing a resume and cover letter, the first interview is through Skype. Then, if you move forward you will have to fly to Sacramento and go through a day process of multiple interviews.

    Interview Questions
    • In the initial interview, you will be asked to list the three most important policy issues of any state you choose. Then, one of the issues will be asked about more in detail. For example, if a state proposed an increased tax on cigarettes you should be able to answer why legislature would propose this.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Difficult Interview
  2.  

    Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Sacramento, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Sacramento, CA
    Application Details

    The process took a dayinterviewed at California LAO in December 2011.

    Interview Details

    I was contacted initially via email to schedule a phone screening interview three weeks after submitting my application. I then invited to Sacramento for the 2nd round about a week or two later. LAO covered my travel expenses. That interview was scheduled to last 5.5 hours. It consisted of 4 one-on-one interviews, lunch with a junior analyst, and a written portion. Each interviewer in the one-on-one interviews had a different approach to asking questions, so it wasn't as redundant at it could have been. I believe they usually do a panel interview, instead of the 4th one-on-one. Useful prep for the interview would include the usual research about the LAO and some time thinking about current policy issues in the state.

    Everyone I spoke with was nice, and it was helpful to have a more casual conversation with a newer analyst to learn more about the office culture.

    They let me know their hiring decision later the same week. I appreciated their promptness.

    Interview Questions
    • What do you think are the four most pressing policy issues facing California today?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    General Fiscal and Policy Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Sacramento, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Sacramento, CA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took a dayinterviewed at California LAO in February 2011.

    Interview Details

    I was contacted by phone with a short screening conversation and invitation to come and interview in person (I was living across the country at the time). I was coming out to CA on other business, so the LAO contributed a portion of my expenses to get to Sacramento. The HR manager was very professional through the entire process.

    The interview process took the better part of a day, starting with an loosely structured one-on-one interview with the Legislative Analyst, the head of the organization. He asked challenging and thoughtful questions geared toward understanding the way a person analyzes a problem and expresses thoughts. The only thing I regreted in this interview was that I had to say that I simply didn't have an answer to a certain analytical opinion he asked of me. Other than that, I feel I performed well, although I lacked a feeling that I "connected" with him. I can't know for sure, but this may have been a critical factor in their decision to not hire me.

    After this interview, I interviewed one-on-one with two senior-level directors/managers in charge of a given subject area (local government and higher education). I felt these interviews went extremely well, and had fairly deep conversations with both of them. I felt there was an insightful exchange of ideas and exploration of some of the more theoretical underpinnings of the problems in these sectors.

    At this point, I believe I went to lunch with a junior or mid-level analyst. He was cordial, but seemed disinterested. We talked about the nature of the workplace, what he likes about his job, and the work he is involved in. It was at this point that I questioned whether this was a place I would want to work. His subdued and unenthusiastic demeanor made me question how much he actually enjoyed his job.

    After lunch, I had a two-person panel interview with two mid to high level managers. Up until this point, the entire process had been very professional. However, these individuals were nearly constantly looking down at their cell phones unless they were asking a question, and it was highly distracting and made me feel that I was not being seriously considered.

    After the panel interview, the HR manager showed me to a vacant office where I performed a fairly basic quantitative analysis of some data and a written summary of the findings. I was very confident that I performed well on this exercise.

    After the exercise, I was free to go. A few days later I sent thank you emails to everyone I met with, and received a reply from only one person. I received a declination letter a couple weeks after that. In general, I would agree with another one of the posters here that it was difficult to discern exactly what they were looking for in a candidate. I was very disappointed in the lack of professionalism exhibited by the two panelists. For background purposes, I was not a recent graduate when I interviewed. At the time, I had approximately 4 years of experience in consulting and at the time, was working for the Department of Defense.

    Interview Questions
    • If he started from scratch in this policy area, what would you do?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
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  5.  

    General Fiscal and Policy Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Sacramento, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Sacramento, CA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took a dayinterviewed at California LAO in October 2010.

    Interview Details

    First round interview is a fairly basic phone screen. Questions are asked on background, interest in the office, and quantitative skills/examples of your experiences with them.

    Second round interview consists of three 1:1 interviews with senior analysts, a panel interview with two additional analysts, and a written assessment that consists of a very basic Excel spreadsheet exercise. Lunch is also provided at a local restaurant and serves as an opportunity to ask questions of an analyst, but is not considered part of the interview. The entire process takes approximately 5-5.5 hours.

    Questions asked in the second round interview were fairly straightforward, with content ranging from inquiries about quantitative experience, motivation to work in the office, opinions on state policies, and a chance to explain your qualifications in more detail. Be prepared to answer the same questions multiple times throughout the day.

    The staff was fairly friendly and I was given a response within two weeks. My only complaint would be that the office gave a rather generalist description of the desired candidate (who isn't looking for quantitative skills couple with excellent communication skills?) and made it difficult to focus responses in a way that "sold" myself as a candidate.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

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