Mathematica Policy Research
Mathematica Policy Research Interview Questions & Reviews
Getting an Interview
- Popular Job Titles:
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- Field Interviewer (3)
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- Research Assistant Programmer (2)
- Health Research Programmer (1)
- Survey Position (1)
- Health Research Analyst (1)
- Survey Researcher II (1)
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- Policy Researcher (1)
- Survey Researcher (1)
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- Health Policy Analyst (1)
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- Entry Level (1)
- Research Analyst I (1)
Very Easy Interview
Field Interviewer Interview (Positive Experience; Very Easy Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Mathematica Policy Research in July 2014.
Interview Details – I sent in my resume using their email and after a week, I receive a phone call from them. The phone screening asked me questions about my education and previous work experience. After the phone screening, I was then invited for a group interview that lasted about 2 hours. The group interview had 12 other candidates, including me. The interview consisted of two employees delivering a presentation about the company and about the position we all applied for. We then went around the room and all of the candidates were asked to tell a little about ourselves and anything else we thought was relevant. We then did a sample phone interview with the employee. Afterwards, we filled out an application with our availability and which days we were free to come in for training. After a few more days, I received a phone call asking me to come in to take a data entry test. The employee on the phone said that my qualifications might be a good match for another position within the company. The data entry test consisted of entering as much data into the computer within ten minutes. The employee then told me a little bit more about the data entry position.
Interview Question – There were no difficult questions. We were only asked one question, which was to tell a little bit about ourselves. The data entry test was self-explanatory. Answer Question
Research Assistant/Programmer Interview (Neutral Experience)
I applied online and interviewed at Mathematica Policy Research.
Interview Details – Had two phone interviews: first one was an informal interview where the company rep basically talked about Mathematica Policy Research and asked me about my interests. The second interview had me send in a code sample and explain it to two other reps. I didn't make it to the third stage, but was told it would consist of flying out to their headquarters and doing in-person interviews.
Health Research Analyst Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Mathematica Policy Research in May 2014.
Interview Details – A couple of weeks after applying to the position online, I was called for an initial phone screen with the HR person and the hiring manager. This was pretty standard, except for the fact that it was with two people rather than one. They seemed most concerned with confirming my genuine interest in the position, although they did ask me a number of questions about my past work experiences to assess my "fit" for the position. It was obvious that the hiring manager had done her homework -- she asked specific questions about my writing sample, and asked a number of thoughtful questions about my resume.
I was called back within a week to schedule and on-site interview. This was INTENSE. I met with about 7 different people over the course of 5-6 hours. I will say that although the sheer number of individual interviews was exhausting, the questions I was asked were relatively painless. Some minor technical questions here and there (which weren't tricky, as long as you generally know what you're own research has been about, ha.) but otherwise most of the interviewers seemed intent on determining whether or not I'd be a fit there, in terms of company culture and work style. The interviews were relaxed and relatively informal, even the ones with upper-level managers.
HR kept in touch with me over the following weeks and were very responsive to my questions.
Interview Question – There weren't any real "surprise" questions, but every interviewing wanted me to ask them questions. View Answer
Survey Researcher I Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and interviewed at Mathematica Policy Research.
Interview Details – You start with an HR interview of about 20 mins (all the basics, like why you're interested in the company and your background), you progress to a 15 min interview with your hiring manager (to see if its worth bringing you in to the office for an in-person interview). The in-person or final interview is a day-long series of 50 minute interviews with a series of people (some individually, some in pairs, and some remotely by phone or skype) plus a research presentation at a brownbag. The day starts with your hiring manager, progresses to speaking with potential colleagues and senior colleagues, includes a lunch with junior colleagues, and ends with the senior manager of your division, usually a VP. Questions are routine - they feel you out, they like when you ask questions, it's best when it's a conversation, you should demonstrate your knowledge of the broader field.
Interview Question – None - they're typical questions. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – I didn't negotiate aggressively.
Field Interviewer Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter - interviewed at Mathematica Policy Research in December 2012.
Interview Details – Telephone interview. Very professional
Interview Question – How do you think you would be an addition to our interviewer staff and why. Name six skills and character traits that support your answer Answer Question
Negotiation Details – There were none. My hourly rate defined per study.
Policy Researcher Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online - interviewed at Mathematica Policy Research in March 2014.
Interview Details – Submitted resume. sample publishable papers, along with recommendations from faculty. Received a response from HR representative, who kept me appraised of interview process. Phone interview with 3 researchers was the next step, followed by all day interview on-site that included informal meetings with several small pairings of senior researchers and a job talk. Finally, they have an intensive technical interview with relatively junior staff who are experts in the area of your research. This is nice because it really is about a topic you should be expert in yourself.
At all stages, the interviewers cared about evidence of deep knowledge of statistical methods and assumptions, particularly related to causal inference. A methods-intensive paper was likely a must. Faculty references from respected methods experts also important. The interviews discussed methods of the papers in depth. Also they wanted to know you wanted to work there - had interest in their research topic areas and felt that their approach was the right balance of autonomy and independence.
Their approach is analyst researchers having choices of interesting topics to work on as part of a team that does rigorous analytical research. The lower level researcher is less involved in fundraising than a professor would be, instead can be more of an enactor of interesting research, with few publications resulting. The research selection is democratic, though, with the organization picking topics of interest to employees. That said, the culture is strongly bent towards team-oriented work and methods intensive work where their business model can shine. Folks are really smart and was a pleasure to speak with many of them but it was also clear there was a bit of a pecking order around methodology expertise. Probably a great place to stay up to date and learn about methods, but also a place where you'll advance fastest if you come in with good knowledge of technical language and jargon. They are less interested - ultimately - in their impact on policy or practice. They are looking for someone who will fit into that. They do allow some independent side-projects as well to entice folks who want to do more theoretical work.
Interview Question – Detailed technical questions about my research related to measurement error, standard errors, assumptions embedded in instrumental variables analysis. Nothing too surprising, but the kind of interview you want to come prepared and brush up on your technical terms and understanding. Answer Question
SAS Programmer Interview (Neutral Experience)
I applied online and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Mathematica Policy Research.
Interview Details – send code and phone interview
Research Assistant Programmer Interview (Positive Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied online and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Mathematica Policy Research in March 2014.
Interview Details – submit online, get a phone screening the next week.
Interview Question – just some background questions. Answer Question
Program Analyst Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through college or university and interviewed at Mathematica Policy Research.
Interview Details – phone screen interview followed by invitation into their headquarter office. the in person interview lasted all day with 30 to 60 minutes per person. all interviewers were senior level in the division that I applied to and I had five different people that day.
Interview Question – pretty standard behavioral + personal experience questions Answer Question
Very Easy Interview
Call Center Representative Interview (Positive Experience; Very Easy Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Mathematica Policy Research in March 2014.
Interview Details – Emailed resume to the Call Center email. Got a call back the next day. Had a phone interview that involved them asking about the typical work history questions. Phone Interview lasted about 30+mins. HR would review my resume and call me back. Received a call back 2 days later. Was given a Group Interview date. During interview, Interviewers gave details about Mathematica and their employees, they asked about past work history and where we found this position. (I was referred by a current employee.) We did a quick exercise and then i was told i would receive a call back within a month. 3 days later got a call letting me know i was hired. Pretty straightforward.
Interview Question – None. No unexpected questions. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – No negotiation.
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