Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory
2.7 of 5 22 reviews
www.kapl.gov Niskayuna, NY 1000 to 5000 Employees

Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jul 8, 2014
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Getting the Interview 

58%
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Interview Experience 

58%
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16%

Interview Difficulty 

Average Difficulty
14 candidate interviews
Relevance Date Difficulty

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Contracts Professional Interview

Contracts Professional

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in June 2014.

Interview Details – I submitted an application online for the position. About a month I think went by before I was contacted via email to set up an informal phone interview. During this phone interview, one of the hiring managers described the position, asked me to tell him a little about myself, what am I looking for in a job and so forth. At the end he said I would be contacted by HR to set up an onsite interview. He did warn me that this could take a while. About a month went by before I was contacted by HR to arrange an onsite interview. They send you a lot of info via email to read over, fill out and bring with you to the interview. The day of the interview - no cell phones allowed on site as noted by other reviewers. It started with signing in with a few other candidates. From there we were given a 30 min overview of the company and some highlights of the benefits. After we had our electronic finger prints taken. Next you are taken to a room where the interviews began. I had two interviews. The first round with three hiring managers, the second round with two hiring managers. Overall I felt very comfortable, and everyone was extremely pleasant. The questions asked were mainly typical interview questions, a combination of behavioral and skills questions. After these interviews I had an exit interview with HR. She asked what my salary requirements were, how I thought the interview process went, if I was interviewing anywhere else and so forth. I was very pleased with my experience. I thought I would be an excellent fit. ALL of the hiring managers asked if I could live without my cell phone by my side lol. I think it will take some getting used to, but it's not really a big deal. They did mention that they recently were given the ability to check personal email. One thing I really liked about the interview was that there were managers of all age groups, and at least three of them started in the position I was interviewing for. You do not see that as much as you should within companies anymore. They also asked what my working preference and style is. They gave me some examples of work done in each of the hiring managers areas and asked which area I thought I would fit into best. After 2 weeks and 2 days, I received a phone call offering me the position. I am currently awaiting the confirmation email to begin the investigation process! I would highly recommend considering KAPL as a place to work.

Interview Question – How would you deal with a "Sheldon" who won't take no for an answer about buying him something he didn't really need (I paraphrased).   View Answer

Negotiation Details – None

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Nuclear Operation Engineer Interview

Nuclear Operation Engineer
Saratoga Springs, NY

I applied through an employee referral and interviewed at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory.

Interview Details – First, I had a phone interview. It was pretty simple, just a couple typical interview questions. Then I was invited to an all-day interview session in Saratoga with 7 other applicants. There were a few introductory presentations, 2 interviews, a tour of the area, and a change to ask engineers about the job. The interviews consisted of pretty much all behavioral interview questions.

Interview Question – What was a time that you corrected a supervisor?   Answer Question

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1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Mechanical Engineer Interview

Mechanical Engineer
Niskayuna, NY

I applied online and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in February 2014.

Interview Details – I applied online in January to a position that I thought was a great fit for me. Within a week I received an email from HR asking for my salary requirements, transcript, citizenship status, etc. Within a week of responding to the email from HR I was called by a hiring manager who conducted a screening interview on the spot. At the end of the phone call he told me that I would be hearing from HR within the next week to work out the logistics of an onsite interview. two days later HR contacted me and informed me that they would fly me up for in interview in two weeks time and that they were paying for everything but meals up front (though they reimburse you for meals after the fact).

Once I got to KAPL for the onsite interview it took about a half hour to get through security. This wasn't a surprise to me due to the nature of the work at KAPL. I was then given an overview of BMPC, given a schedule for the day, and had my fingerprints taken. I was scheduled for two one hour interviews and lunch. The first interview was a general overview of the position followed by two or three behavioral questions and a few questions about my schoolwork. The second interview was very conversational in nature and focused on my technical skills, interests, and my senior design project. Both interviewers were very friendly which made the interview much easier for me. After the two technical interviews I had a close-out interview with my employment rep and then two other engineers took me out for a very pleasant lunch. When I got back to the airport at around 1:30 I felt very good about the interviews and knew that I would be a very good fit for the position. The next day around noon I got a call from my employment rep informing me that my interviews went very well and that I was being extended an offer. I accepted the job right away, but they ask that you give a response within 5 days of receiving your official offer letter.

Interview Question – For me, behavioral questions are much more difficult than technical questions. I've listed a few of the ones I got below.

1. What is your dream job?
2. What were your favorite and least favorite classes in college?
3. What is a question that you wish we would have asked?
  Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Mechanical Engineer Interview

Mechanical Engineer
Niskayuna, NY

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in February 2014.

Interview Details – I was first contacted by a hiring manager by phone where he explained a little about the position and asked a little background information about what I knew regarding the knowledge of stress analysis. He then proceeded to tell me he wanted to fly me up to the site for an interview. HR contacted me a few days later with the information. They flew me up and put me in a nice hotel. The day started out with HR giving an overview of the company followed by security taking fingerprints. Finally the brought me to the room where I met with the hiring manager, followed by two other interviews with other hiring managers. I suppose since they fly you up. they might as well have all the interested managers interview you. After that, you have an exit interview with HR and the original manager had a few of his engineers take me out to lunch. Now I am waiting to bear back from HR regarding an offer.

Interview Question – Not many questions were asked. The first manager asked questions regarding how did you act at work in this situation, like general interview questions. He also asked about my senior design project as well as my Eagle Scout project. The rest of the interview as well as the two others were more of just an overview of the position as well as friendly conversations.   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

Nuclear Operation Engineer Interview

Nuclear Operation Engineer
Saratoga Springs, NY

I applied online and the process took 11 months - interviewed at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory.

Interview Details – Phone interview at first with HR rep, no surprises, just talking about background. The company then flew me out for an interview. I interviewed in the hotel boardroom with about 7 other applicants. The whole time we had to listen to how bad the company was by the other engineers, no joke. Every person in there was explaining how the job was way harder than anyone ever realizes and the hours are terrible, you never get to see your family, you could make way more money somewhere else, etc. It was really pathetic. There were two sets of one on one interviews, completely behavioral based.

Interview Question – Behavior questions can be difficult unless you expect them. These are the ones I received:
1. Tell me about a time you worked effectively under pressure.
2. Have you ever made a mistake? How did you handle it?
3. Tell me about a time when you suggested an improvement at work. How did it impact the facility?
4. Tell me about a time when you set a particular illy challenging goal for yourself, what were the outcomes?
5. Can you tells about an especially proud accomplishment of yours?
6. Have you get had a disagrees with a coworker? How was the issue resolved and what was the outcome?
7. Have you ever been asked to do anything that you considered unsafe? How did you respond?
  View Answer

Negotiation Details – There was no negotion. A verbal offer was followed by a written offer and an immediate drug test and physical.

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Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Entry-Level Mechanical Engineer Interview

Entry-Level Mechanical Engineer
Niskayuna, NY

I applied online and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in June 2013.

Interview Details – I applied online after reading the qualifications and the skills the position required I was sure that I was a perfect match for the position. A few days after applying I received a phone call from an HR rep. who asked some general questions after which I was informed I would be contacted by the hiring manager for the team in a few days. I ended up missing the call, and then when I called back the manager was out on a business trip. The call ended up catching me completely off guard I was semi-prepared but I was not informed it would be a full fledge phone interview right then and there. I thought I did okay on the phone interview because I was not as prepared as I would have wanted to be. The manager explained the job position, the general workings of the team, what he was looking for and then proceeded to ask how he thought I was a good fit for the position and the team.
I was informed I'd be contacted in a week if I would be chosen for a final on-site interview. Two weeks passed and I was sure I had blown my chance. I decided to call the manager myself to inquire regarding my application status, turned out it had not been determined at the time due to some unexpected work. Of course this gave me renewed hope that I would somehow make the final interview.
Nevertheless a week after, I got contacted by the HR rep. who scheduled an on-site interview for me. Since I live in NYC, I drove out the evening before the interview day and stayed at a close-by hotel for the night (had my interview first thing in the morning around 8 am).
I was greeted by an HR rep, handed a schedule for the day and she proceeded to give me an overview of the company. I was scheduled for two interviews with two different individuals from what the schedule said. So I tightened my shoes and got ready for a tough day. It appeared that I was being interviewed for two positions at the same time. I felt the interview went great judging by the body language of the interviewers. At the end of the day, the HR rep. closed and explained to me with a smile that I impressed one of the managers. I was not offered anything at that point, the HR rep explained to me that I would be hearing a final decision in the next week or so. Turns out the next morning I get a call offering me a job and I gladly accepted because this was my dream entry-level job.

Interview Question – How do you verify your solutions and if you were asked to make a decision without given enough parameters(/without asking help from any mentors) how would you go about making a decision?   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Nuclear Operations Program Engineer Interview

Nuclear Operations Program Engineer
Saratoga Springs, NY

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in June 2012.

Interview Details – HR contacted me asking for my transcripts, GPA, salary requirements and times I was available for a phone screen, which happened a few days later.The phone screen was with one of the senior Bechtel employees in the operations program; he had me confirm that I was a US citizen and my GPA was above 3.0, asked me to explain the grades I'd received below "B-", gave a description of the job and asked if I was still interested. About 2 or 3 weeks later, they had me come out for an in-person interview. I was responsible for my own transportation but they paid for the hotel room and reimbursed me for travel expenses afterwards. The in-person interview was at a Marriott and took about 2 hours over 3 phases: a 1 on 1 interview with a current operations engineer (same guy from the phone screen), a 1-on-2 interview where he and someone from HR alternated asking me questions, and administrative/logistics questions 1 on 1 with the woman from HR. For the first 2 phases I got asked the same questions about my grades and GPA that came up in the phone screen, but the rest of the questions were some variation of "Describe a situation where you did......" or "Describe a situation where you showed.......". The rest of the day had a tour of the region and presentations on the specifics/logistics of the position. The whole thing lasted from about 8AM to 3 or 4 PM.

Interview Question – "Describe a situation where you showed integrity"   Answer Question

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No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Designer, Entry Level, Mechanical Interview

Designer, Entry Level, Mechanical
Niskayuna, NY

I applied online and the process took 4 months - interviewed at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in February 2013.

Interview Details – I applied for this position at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in October 2012 and was first contacted for a phone screen in Mid-February 2013. After clearing the initial phone screen I was contacted to appear for an in-person interview in the last week of February 2013. I live and work approximately 280 miles round trip from the Niskayuna facility which is a long way to go if things don't work out. Needless to say I wasted a lot of time and money in gas, tolls, and wages in order to go to this interview. I arrived at the plant after the two and a half hour drive to be greeted by a guard armed with an AR-15 rifle. This wasn't entirely unexpected considering it is a USDOE facility. After going through two or three rounds of security I finally made it to the actual interview. The process started out with a power point presentation by an HR representative. As usual they were nice but seemed completely clueless about most things. This presentation basically just described KAPL and how they operate and such. After this presentation the real fun started. I was first interviewed by a three person panel of Engineers. They were mixed between Mechanical and Electrical Engineers. This interview session was essentially fifty minutes of three guys reading off of a cookie cutter style questionnaire with about 8 cliche interview questions on it. A couple of times they actually questioned my resume and frankly it was extremely insulting. You could spread the bureaucracy with a butter knife, but I digress. They then proceeded to throw a curve ball at me by having me take a mini-test that involved deciphering GD&T diagrams. After this session I was interview by two more Engineering Department type figureheads who essentially repeated the same process as the first panel interview. I almost forgot to mention that before these interview sessions I was required to give my fingerprints to the company in case I was offered a position so they could expedite the clearance process. I think this is totally unnecessary unless they know they are going to hire you. So, after the two cliche non-creative panel interviews it was time for HR to come in and give me my exit interview. At this point anything they do is essentially pointless because they have likely decided on your fate. They gave me the typical yada-yada we'll let you know in a few days translation we're not hiring you and that was that.

Interview Question – Can you explain why your grade in this more advanced design class was lower than the one you took your freshman year?   View Answer

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Mechanical Engineer Interview

Mechanical Engineer
Albany, NY

I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in December 2010.

Interview Details – The interview process is very unique. The company flies you into Albany International Airport. An airport shuttle will then take you to the Hotel Indigo where you will stay the night. The next morning the interviewees will meet in the lobby and be taken into a conference room where they will be briefed on the day's events. The interviewees will then be directed to individual hotel rooms, where several managers will walk in and conduct an interview. The questions received were pretty standard and each interview lasted between 30-45 minutes. The interviewers asked about my school experience and several behavioral questions. After the interview you are flown back home and notified by phone within two weeks if you are offered a position. Overall I liked the whole interviewing process, it was professional, unique, and the people present were really nice.

Interview Question – I can't remember but just about all the questions were behavioral questions.   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Financial Analyst Interview

Financial Analyst

Interviewed at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory

Interview Details – Phone interview then a face to face interview with the manager and 2 staff personnel.

Interview Question – What makes you the correct person for the job   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – No negotiation

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