Institute for Defense Analyses
3.6 of 5 22 reviews
www.ida.org Alexandria, VA 1000 to 5000 Employees

Institute for Defense Analyses Research Staff Member Interview Questions & Reviews

All Interviews Received Offers

Getting the Interview 

33%
33%
33%

Interview Experience 

50%
50%
0%

Interview Difficulty 

4 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
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1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Research Staff Member Interview

Research Staff Member
Alexandria, VA

The process took a day - interviewed at Institute for Defense Analyses in May 2012.

Interview Details – 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 Details – Salary offered was generous.

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1 person found this helpful

Declined Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Research Staff Member Interview

Research Staff Member
Alexandria, VA

I applied through college or university and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Institute for Defense Analyses in February 2008.

Interview Details – I started with 30 minute on-campus interview following application through the university's career center. This interview was pretty standard and unremarkable.

The site interview followed a few weeks later. The day started with a meeting with an HR/recruiting staff member, and covered general background (mine and theirs) and benefits. The rest of the day was 6-7 short (about 30 minutes) one-on-one interviews with members of the research staff, a long lunch interview with the head of one of the divisions, and a seminar presenting some of my research to members of that division. The short interviews were so brief that I question their utility both to IDA and to myself, as little time was available for getting beyond the standard initial questions.

The staff were generally friendly and seemed like they would be good coworkers. However, the work they were doing in that division did not particularly interest me. Though I specified divisions of interest when I applied, I did not interview with any of those; I'm not sure how the process of circulating applications works, but this is the potential result.

The administrative details of my visit (including reimbursement) were carried out quickly and without fuss. The offer came through about 2-3 weeks later.

Interview Question – Why don't you want to go to Wall Street and make more money?   Answer Question

Reason for Declining – Offer from a peer company in a research area that interested me more.

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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Research Staff Member Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

I applied through an employee referral and the process took a day - interviewed at Institute for Defense Analyses in August 2010.

Interview Details – Interview process was an all-day affair, meeting with various members of the staff prior to meeting with the division director for the final phase discussion. The interviews ranged from the initial staff members who were involved directly in the area of the organization that I would be working with and that I had prior working relationships with due to other projects with my previous employer. The interviews then shifted to a number of staff members who were involved in other areas of research, but were examples of the various specialties doing work within the directorate. Each had a different avenue of questioning to see what my background was, what kind of work I was looking for and to provide details on what it was like to work for the organization from their perspective.
Mid-day of the interview process was taken up by a presentation session where the applicant was to demonstrate briefing skills and analysis of a subject (chosen by the applicant with help from the sponsor.) Briefing was question and answer formatted around a slide presentation of the topic. Duration was about one hour.
Final interview was with the division director and covered the aspects of working for the organization from a personal goals point of view. Interview was steered toward getting the point across that the organization was a fairly flat hierarchy of management, and based mainly on an academic atmosphere of operations. Candidates looking for upward mobility and advancement within the organization would be advised to look for another organization due to the strong possibility that working at IDA may not satisfy those desires and the hired person would eventually leave the organization for another more fitting to their career goals.

Interview Questions

  • Pre-brief: Put together a one-hour presentation on a topic of an analytical nature and brief a panel of 20-30 staff members.   Answer Question
  • Are you looking for opportunity for advancement and management of people here?   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Research Staff Member Interview

Research Staff Member

I applied through other source and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Institute for Defense Analyses in June 2010.

Interview Details – The preliminary phone interview of 30 minutes went well and proceeded like a casual but informed conversation regarding the intersection between academic research, policy, and data needs.

An invitation for an on-site interview soon followed and consisted of a meeting with an HR representative, 7 one-on-one interviews with other RSMs lasting approximately 30 minutes, a presentation of my work, a working lunch with two managers and two staff members, and a final meeting with the division manager. Contrary to another related posting on the website, I found most of these interviews to be extremely informative and helpful in prompting me to accept the offer I eventually received. Some of this difference may be due to personality.

Throughout the course of the day I developed a brief, scripted response to the initial questions we had to work through then worked hard to open up the interaction into one where they could express to me whatever they wanted about IDA (why they chose the job, what they think of the work they do, what their expectations of me would be, and so forth), while I described for them my general approach to research in a policy environment. Many of these conversations exceeded the allotted 30 minutes, which many were fine with.

The presentation had the format of a job-talk but was considerably less hostile than what I have encountered in academic settings (primarily as an audience member). Not to say it was not easy, but it was important to me that there was no one present clearly gunning for my embarrassment and failure. The questions were professional and appropriately probing.

In all, the experience was draining but enjoyable. I can say that with no reservations. In a final note, the another posting on this site describing the IDA interview complained about not being evaluated for the division he or she listed in the online application. This incongruence should have been apparent in the phone interview, so I advise future recruits to take this interview seriously by listening to what the interviewer has to say about the position under consideration.

Interview Question – Why did you take more than 5 years to earn your doctoral degree?   View Answer

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