Institute for Defense Analyses Interview Questions

Updated Jul 3, 2015
19 Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Research Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 5 weeks. I interviewed at Institute for Defense Analyses in June 2015.

    Interview

    Contacted by email about 2 weeks after submitting application. HR coordinated with me to set up half-day interview (ended up being 3-4 weeks later). Contacted by chair prior to in-person interview to hear more about the position over the phone. The company paid for all expenses to come to the interview and to stay overnight in order to be there in the morning. I met about 6 people individually, so there was not as much pressure as you get with a panel interview. Everyone was very friendly and informative about the culture and expectations as well as job duties and opportunities with the company. Received a phone call offer 1 week later.

    Interview Questions

    • Why this company? What experience do you have with data collection? Take me through a project you worked on [from start to finish]. What do you want to do in the future? Can you talk about [this theory from writing sample] and how it applies to [discussion item provided]?   1 Answer
  2. Helpful (2)  

    Research Assistant II Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Alexandria, VA
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Institute for Defense Analyses (Alexandria, VA) in April 2015.

    Interview

    After applying online, I was contacted by a secretary stating that IDA would like to set up a phone interview for later that week. They were very clear and detailed in setting up a time and letting me know that it would be about a "20 minute phone interview." My interviewer was very prompt in calling me, however ended the conversation very abruptly once 20 minutes had lapsed. I received an email within a few days from him saying they'd like to have me in for an in-person interview. This interview was an all day affair; from 9:30-4:30. They emailed over a schedule of interviews which consisted of 50-minute interviews with HR, 3 research staff members, followed by a 1-hour research talk I had to give (the room was PACKED! About 20 people just to listen to my job interview talk), then a lunch with fellow RAs. Once returning, I had a technical panel interview which was the hardest part of the process, probably also because I was never told it would be a "technical" panel, so some of the specifics of the questions threw me for a loop. After this, you meet with the program director who explains that there is very little room for advancement at IDA and after about 3-5 years, they expect you to move on. Aside from the technical panel, the questions they asked were very expected. One interviewer even read from off my resume and asked "tell me about this..." I will say this... from the time I applied to phone interview was a matter of weeks. Once I had the phone interview, the time until my in-person interview was about a week and a half. However, after that, it took a while for IDA to get back to me. They mentioned wanting to have me in to meet with other staff members, however once I mentioned I had another offer on the table, they quickly over-nighted an offer to me.

    Interview Questions

    • Why IDA? If I gave you a large amount of data, what would be the first thing you would do with it? Are you familiar with SAS or SDATA? (I wasn't) Had me write pseudo-code for some of the models I had in my writing sample.   Answer Question
  3.  

    Ra Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Alexandria, VA
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Institute for Defense Analyses (Alexandria, VA) in April 2015.

    Interview

    My interview process seemed rather quick. I was contacted within two weeks of submitting my application online for a phone interview, and scheduled an on-site interview a week after that. The on-site interview process was enjoyable with a blend of meetings with human resources and senior research staff personnel. I gave a talk (~45-60 mins) on previous work for the group of people who would have input on application. Everyone was very friendly and cordial.

    Interview Questions

    • Do you consider yourself a creative person? Provide an example illustrating your answer.   1 Answer
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  5. Helpful (5)  

    Research Staff Member Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Alexandria, VA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Institute for Defense Analyses (Alexandria, VA) in February 2015.

    Interview

    I applied online to a variety of Research Staff Member positions at IDA over several months. Some seemed like better fits than others based on the job description, but I figured that there was no harm in applying. I then got an e-mail about setting up a phone interview for a position for which I had applied roughly a month before. The phone interview lasted a little over an hour, and was very interesting and enjoyable. The interviewer was incredibly friendly and it was clear that he really enjoyed his job. He described in broad strokes the kind of work this particular division performed, and how it fit into the larger Pentagon structure. He then asked me about my work and interests. I got an e-mail about three weeks later inviting me for an on-site interview. It would be an all-day interview, and I would have to give a ~40 minute presentations (total 1 hour with questions) on my research. The e-mail was very detailed about what I could expect, and also had very helpful instructions on what they were looking for in a presentation. This was encouraging, as it was clear they were not trying to trick me, and wanted to see me at my best. They flew me out and put me up in a very nice hotel just a few minutes’ walk from the building. After arriving I met with an HR representative, then two research staff members one after the other, and then gave my talk. Next came lunch at a nearby restaurant with a few of the people who had seen my talk, then I met with a panel of four people, then another one on one interview, and then finally an interview with the division director. Everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming - it’s hard to overemphasize this. I was very impressed with not only how nice they were to me, but how well they got along with each other, most notably during my talk, at lunch, and in the panel interview. These interactions with larger groups were very illuminating about what I could expect if I accepted a job there. The individual interviews were also instructive, and I learned a lot about the kind of work I would be expected to do, which sounded both interesting and challenging. It was easy to see that everyone enjoyed their work. The presentation was actually quite enjoyable. The atmosphere was casual, and people asked questions during the talk as well as at the end. I was impressed with the caliber of the questions. I was given the impression that the presentation was a very important part of the interview, and that it went a long way toward getting me a job offer. I was never asked any hostile or openly adversarial questions in the interviews or in my presentation. Nearly everyone mentioned the strength of the work/life balance at IDA, which various acquaintances of mine there have confirmed. The benefits and salary are competitive. Many of the people I met with had worked there for 10 or 20 years, some even longer. They made it clear that IDA is a very flat organization, and that if I wanted rapid promotion and managerial roles I should look elsewhere. Overall, it was an exhausting day, but I was able to form a very strong and positive impression of the place.

    Interview Questions

  6.  

    Security Guard Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer

    Interview

    The interviewers were the Lead Captain and the Physical Security Manager. They were very professional and courteous. It's a great place to work of you're a researcher if you're a PhD. Folks here tend to work for the company for extended periods. With many retiring.

    Interview Questions

    Negotiation

    A letter arrives in mail, and you call the number provided.

  7.  

    Summer Associate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Institute for Defense Analyses.

    Interview

    Applied online, had a phone interview a few weeks later. Talked to two associates who were very informative. Completely behavioral with some project specific questions. Received an offer the next day.

    Interview Questions

    Negotiation

    No negotiation- summer job

  8. Helpful (1)  

    Research Associate Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    No Offer

    Interview

    I applied online and was asked to come in for an interview about a month later. Everyone was very nice and professional by email. They flew me out and put me up in a hotel. I started with an HR interview, which was pretty basic and the HR person was nice and relaxed. I then had a panel interview. Most of the researchers were very nice, polite and asked good questions. One of the researchers was oddly aggressive and outright rude several times. He repeated questions that had already been asked and seemed very uninterested and annoyed. With the exception of this individual, I did find everyone to be professional and cordial, but it was a red flag and a few comments made by other interviewers along the way led me to suspect there are some tensions within the office. After the interview, I never heard from them again and accepted an offer somewhere else.

    Interview Questions

    • The interviewers asked standard interview questions. Nothing particularly difficult.   Answer Question
  9. Helpful (2)  

    Research Associate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Alexandria, VA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Institute for Defense Analyses (Alexandria, VA).

    Interview

    I got the interview through a personal contact. The interview consisted of multiple one on one interviews with staff members, a "job talk" (i.e. formal presentation of your research), a lunch, a panel discussion with multiple staff members asking you questions, and finally a meeting with the division director. I was at their campus for about 8 hours. Everyone is genuinely nice and extremely professional, but they clearly take HR decisions very seriously and will bore down into your strengths and weaknesses with a high degree of accuracy and candor. I personally think is admirable and reflects an organizational focus on getting the right kind of person, but some may find it intimidating. There was a particular focus on cultural fit and methodological tools. Be prepared to talk about your weaknesses. I received an informal offer a three weeks later and a formal one a week after that. In terms of timeframe, that's definitely slower than the private sector but far faster than government. All in all, a very fair and positive process, and I'm excited to be joining them.

    Interview Questions

    • How would you feel about your work product only being consumed by a few people, as opposed to a wider audience?   Answer Question

    Negotiation

    Very generous offer, and didn't feel the need to negotiate.

  10.  

    Economist Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    No Offer

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Institute for Defense Analyses.

    Interview

    met at annual conference

    Interview Questions

    • Why is your research any different from just comparing averages?   Answer Question
  11. Helpful (2)  

    Research Staff Member Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Alexandria, VA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Institute for Defense Analyses (Alexandria, VA) in May 2012.

    Interview

    The style of this interview followed those for faculty job interviews at research universities. A week after I applied I got an invitation for a full-day interview at the HQs in Alexandria. Everybody there was nice. The interview consisted of about 8 half-hour interviews with other research staff members, a one-hour presentation on my research work, and a lunch. All the interviewees were friendly and just wanted to learn about my research work, no hard questions or anything like that. The presentation atmosphere was a lot like colloquium style at universities.

    Interview Questions

    Negotiation

    Salary offered was generous.

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