Lawrence Berkeley Lab

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Lawrence Berkeley Lab Interview Questions & Reviews in San Francisco, CA

Updated Jun 7, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting an Interview  

43%
41%
5%

Interview Experience  

78%
15%
5%

Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
19 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
Relevance Date Difficulty

Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Easy Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer
Berkeley, CA

I applied online and the process took 5 weeks - interviewed at Lawrence Berkeley Lab in February 2014.

Interview Details – My interview was unconventional. I had a telephone interview where they asked only HR-type questions, "weakest quality", "what would you do if you saw a co-worker violate safety", that sort of thing. When I arrived to the in-person, still no technical questions, just a few more HR questions. They asked me to prepare a 5-10 minute presentation of my work, and although the media was set up, they never asked to see it during the course of the interview. It seemed they were just going through the motions to satisfy HR. They do a background check, but I'm not sure who conducts it, I think it was the hiring manager, so you need professional references who have time to answer 10--15 standardized HR questions. There are general training and safety "courses" to take online before you can start work or receive a badge, after hire there are more online safety courses to take within the first 10-30 days of employment. The first day at work is at least 50% hiring intensive. There's an orientation where they make sure you've filled out all mandatory pre-employment paperwork. There's an orientation, then a long picture/badge ordeal. The orientation class started at 9am, and didn't get to my office until after 1pm.

Interview Question – There were no difficult or unexpected questions. These were very standardized, scenario based, questions.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – No negotiation, I told them what I was looking for and they paid it. They actually have a pay structure for positions buried in their online HR services, but it's wide and entirely at the discretion of your direct supervisor.


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Easy Interview

Graduate Student Researcher Interview

Graduate Student Researcher
Berkeley, CA

I applied through other source and the process took a day - interviewed at Lawrence Berkeley Lab in August 2010.

Interview Details – There is no formal interview or hiring process if you a grad student at UC Berkeley and your scientific adviser has a shared employment with UC Berkeley and the lab. It is often up to your adviser and the funding sources to put you on a campus or LBNL payroll. There is no differences in salaries. The salary information for this position is public and the salaries at LBNL for graduate student researchers are matched to the salaries of corresponding departments on campus.

Interview Question – There are no questions asked if you are already working with an adviser on UC Berkeley campus.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – There is no real negotiation phase.


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Senior Laborer Interview

Senior Laborer
Berkeley, CA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Lawrence Berkeley Lab in October 2010.

Interview Details – Panel Interview - they ask you questions pertaining to the job. Tool knowledge is a plus. Situational experience necessary. Be yourself. Emphasis on learning and contributions. Safety oriented and reliable.

Interview Question – Situational questions regarding roadwork and proper execution.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Non negotiable- temporary probation period.


1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Staff Scientist Interview

Staff Scientist
Berkeley, CA

I applied in-person and the process took 6 months - interviewed at Lawrence Berkeley Lab.

Interview Details – Vero long and elaborate application process: required 5(!) reference letters, one phone screening, then you make it to the big dance. The F2F interview was a full day event. Had to give a seminar in front of a committee, followed by one hour of questioning by them. The questions were pre-planned, with members taking turn asking them to you. Very rigid format. Then I had to come back twice to talk with two deputy division directors to make sure they are ok. By the I knew I was the anointed one, so I was just making sure I don't screw it up.

Interview Question – I don't think these questions were difficult for anyone who had been through many interviews before. They are typical: how do you deal with a difficult colleague, etc. you just need to put yourself in their shoes and say what they want to hear.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Very tortuous. The HR person is a pro. She basically draw a red line for salary, so I just steered myself to just under the number. That was all unofficial. Then after that, it took them another month to prepare the official offer letter. Everything takes a long time. Be patient.


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Post Doc Interview

Post Doc
Berkeley, CA

I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Lawrence Berkeley Lab in June 2011.

Interview Details – Sent in resume and cover letter first. Waited for about three back to hear back from the HR. After a quick phone call with the hiring manager, I was offered the job.

Interview Question – What do you see yourself five years from now?   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Research Associate Interview

Research Associate
Berkeley, CA

I applied through other source and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Lawrence Berkeley Lab in May 2010.

Interview Details – Simple and straight forward. Based on scientific merit.


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Software Developer Interview

Software Developer
Berkeley, CA

I applied through other source and the process took 3 days - interviewed at Lawrence Berkeley Lab in May 2012.

Interview Details – Interviewing process was moderately easy and quick

Interview Question – come up with a database design for a real-world problem   Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Computer Systems Engineer Interview

Computer Systems Engineer
Berkeley, CA

I applied through other source and the process took 6+ weeks - interviewed at Lawrence Berkeley Lab in March 2010.

Interview Details – Had 3 rounds of phone interview followed by on site interview. On site interview was 5 hours long. First 2 hours consisted of presentation and technical questions from the panel. A group lunch with the team followed by 1:1 with team manager and general manager.

Interview Question – Algorithms   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Easy Interview

Research Assistant Interview

Research Assistant
Berkeley, CA

I applied through college or university and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Lawrence Berkeley Lab.

Interview Details – Interview process was very smooth and fast. It was onsite 1:1 discussion style interview. Overall people who work in the lab are very intellectual and yet down to earth.

Interview Question – My Principal Investigator asked me about my experiences with different chemical analytical equipments.   Answer Question


3 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Web Developer II Interview

Web Developer II
Berkeley, CA

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Lawrence Berkeley Lab in February 2013.

Interview Details – Applied online. Got a call for a telephone interview with two people, one was technical one was admin. The questions were standard designed HR type questions. I was invited to interview for a panel of five, two were from the telephone interview.

I was asked to give a 5-10 minute presentation about myself and my work background. They had all the AV equipment to do anything. They had no questions. It was very casual, and the bulk of the interview was more of those standard designed HR type questions which they all have on a form, and write your answers in the space provided.

They asked for scenarios like: What would you do if one of your co-workers were an obstacle instead of a resource. Nothing out of the ordinary, but having scenarios prepared would be helpful.

I would say that 95% of the interview was behavioral, and maybe 5% superficial technical, but not in the form of questions, more in the form of, "tell us what you've worked with".

The interview was very positive, ended with a tour of the work space, and no second interview was necessary.

Then my hiring package was handed off to HR, who had me fill out more online forms to facilitate a rather superficial background check. They wanted to talk to 3 peers or supervisors as references. As far as I can tell, they did not contact former employers to verify any employment information provided on the application.

After they extend an offer letter (email), they give you a few days to think about it, and you accept the offer via the HR portal online. Then you give consent for them to check your credit and criminal history.

Working with HR has been friendly, although impersonal. Once the final background checks are complete, you get a congratulatory email stating your employment status and asking for a start date. You can choose your start date, and they were very flexible about that. Once the start date is determined, they send you the New Hire Orientation letter (email), which tells you what to do on your first day.

Interview Question – "Why did you apply for this position." It seems like a no-brainer, but they asked it anyway!   View Answer

Negotiation Details – Acceptance did not come easily for me due to some pre-employment interactions with a specific non-HR employee and the experiences my references had with this person. A little throw of the dice, and I accepted.

During the first in-person interview, we talked about salary expectations, and they warned me that they do not pay like private industry, but the offer they made was nearer the high end of my general expectations, so I didn't negotiate.

The peripheral terms of employment with the UC are incredibly high, no negotiation took place.

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