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NSA Interview Questions

Updated Dec 1, 2014
Updated Dec 1, 2014
15 Interview Reviews

Interview Experience

Interview Experience

69%
15%
15%

Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview

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17%

Interview Difficulty

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Average

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Candidate Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Budget Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    The interview took about an hour long. Mostly information about the team and position. A standard behavioral interview process. With top security, it was intimidating at first getting onto the premise. Overall pretty brief and easy interview. Heard back within a week for an conditional offer.

    Interview Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    GLOBAL NETWORK VULNERABILITY ANALYST Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Linthicum, MD
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Linthicum, MD
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took a dayinterviewed at NSA.

    Interview Details

    A lot of paperwork to make sure you aren't a criminal or drug addict. A few weeks later, a scheduled 1 on 1/face to face interviews with different hiring managers. The hiring managers all had different styles of interviewing. From hypothetical questions, to just plain old conversations.

    Interview Questions
    • This wasn't really difficult, just different than some of the other questions: You have a black box with no distinguishing marks on it. The only input/output is an ethernet port. How would you determine what is running on the box?   Answer Question
    Reasons for Declining

    Not enough money. Told that since I was coming from another DoD agency, they could not pay me more than what I was making as to curb "poaching".

    Declined Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  3.  

    Language Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 6+ monthsinterviewed at NSA.

    Interview Details

    I was recruited due to language skills during a summer language program. In hindsight, it was an amazingly easy process, and the organization accommodated me easily in bringing me to Maryland for interviews and tests.

    Interview Questions
    • None. I was given a newspaper editorial to translate on the spot, which I did.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    Asked to accept a GS-7 starting grade, I asked for GS-9, and received it.
    Accepted Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview
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  5.  

    Operations Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    You visit the NSA website, look for a vacancy, apply for the vacancy announcement. You need upload your resume, answer questions, and provide any additional or supplemental documents to support your qualifications for the vacancy announcement.

    Interview Questions
    • Questions can vary. You will need to have a security clearance and pass a polygraph.   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    Easy. You receive an offer and either accept or decline the offer.
    Accepted Offer
  6.  

    Budget Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    I was contacted once for a pre screening and then to set up an interview.

    Interview Questions
    • When did you have to give bad news to someone? And how did you handle the situation?   Answer Question
    No Offer
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Consulting Psychologist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Fort Meade, MD
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Fort Meade, MD
    Application Details

    I applied online – interviewed at NSA in March 2013.

    Interview Details

    Program director called me on the telephone for an impromptu interview. Asked a few questions related to my background, then asked me competency-based questions & how I would apply each response. He reviewed the organization, hiring process, and next steps. Told me I should hear from a recruiter within the next month.

    Interview Questions
    • Discussing specific details regarding the job. I applied for a different job than one he felt I may be more qualified for, one which was not yet posted. therefore I was unable to speak to speak to specific job requirements.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    Received a job offer, but after several months of investigation my federal clearance was denied
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  8.  

    Signals Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Fort Meade, MD
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Fort Meade, MD
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took a dayinterviewed at NSA in December 2011.

    Interview Details

    The job title of this position is SIGINT Informaticist, which apparently is a type of Signals Analyst. The hiring process is quite slow and takes one or more months to cross every step. Other past interview postings will provide you the basics and I won't repeat them here. The 1:1 interview lasted about 45 minutes. I was not asked for transcripts, recommendations, or letters of recommendation. I'll list below the questions that you can expect to be asked for this position. During the interview, you can be misled into thinking that they are interested in you, but unless they give you explicit and immediate feedback to this effect, I would assume otherwise. My impression is that it is quite competitive.

    Flex hours and a casual dress code were mentioned. After two years of work, you have some freedom of alternating time with education, though I wouldn't risk asking about this particular possibility. This is because they might like for you to stay on the job rather than take paid time off for further education.

    For your own safety, you want to assume that all your telephone calls are carefully monitored while you are undergoing job processing. There is no hard evidence that I have to indicate that this actually happens, but it would be foolish to assume the opposite.

    Interview Questions
    • How would you approach the problem of detecting anomalous data from say 1000 data points that are either (A) audio files, or (B) natural language text, or (C) any given data format/source.   Answer Question
    • Indicate your experience with scalability technologies, including Hadoop / MapReduce.   View Answer
    • Which programming language are you best skilled in? How do you feel about software engineering?   View Answer
    • In the various projects that you have worked on, what size teams have you worked with?   Answer Question
    • What are the sizes of some large datasets that you have worked with?   View Answer
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Software Developer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Fort Meade, MD
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Fort Meade, MD
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took a dayinterviewed at NSA in October 2011.

    Interview Details

    I first had a phone interview. Within two to three weeks, I was contacted to schedule an on-site interview. The phone interview lasted about 30 minutes. The on-site interview lasted about 45 minutes. The easiness of the interview may give the appearance that the position is not very competitive, but don't let this fool you. The interviewer was a lady.

    Before the on-site interview, I was asked in an email by another non-HR NSA employee to provide my transcripts and two recent letters of recommendation indicating my technical skills - within about a month. Note that many NSA employees cannot receive external non-NSA email for security reasons, so the only reliable way to get the transcripts and letters to them is by postal mail at the mailing address provided to you.

    For your own safety, you want to assume that all your telephone calls are carefully monitored while you are undergoing job processing. There is no hard evidence that I have to indicate that this actually happens, but it would be foolish to assume otherwise.

    Interview Questions
    • Which programming language are you most comfortable with? Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 with regard to your skills in Java, C++, and any other programming languages you like.   View Answer
    • How would you deal with a person in a team who is not producing the necessary work? What size teams have you worked in?   Answer Question
    • Write the algorithm for Fizzbuzz in your programming language of choice. (Google it.) (The detailed problem definition was worded differently. You always want to read it carefully to ensure the stated problem definition matches Fizzbuzz.) You will be provided one side of a letter-sized paper on which to write the solution.   View Answer
    • Explain how you dealt with a technical disagreement on the job.   View Answer
    • How much time would it take for a cannonball to fall to the depth of the Mariana trench? Write your answer with your reasoning on the provided paper. Do not make extensive use of physics equations.   View Answer
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Software Developer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Fort Meade, MD
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Fort Meade, MD
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at NSA in May 2011.

    Interview Details

    You will be contacted by email to arrange a screening interview, Just to see if you have the minimum qualifications to get a TS. Completely nontechnical, use common sense when answer and tell the truth. Then you generally will get flow out to there friendship annex for your operational interview, which is a hour long and completely depends on the person interview you. But generally if you are a decent CS or CE you should do fine. The hard part really is the getting your clearance.

    Interview Questions
    • In one of the operational interviews, a devloper asked me to write a well known program called FIZZBUZZ. You can google it and it should come up.   Answer Question
    Declined Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview
  11.  

    Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 12+ monthsinterviewed at NSA in January 2010.

    Interview Details

    Outstanding opportunity- I wish I didn't have to move to take it.

    Reasons for Declining

    Move impossible under the circumstances

    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

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