National Renewable Energy Lab
3.6 of 5 54 reviews
www.nrel.gov Golden, CO 1000 to 5000 Employees

National Renewable Energy Lab Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jul 8, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting the Interview 

75%
24%

Interview Experience 

87%
6%
6%

Interview Difficulty 

Average Difficulty
17 candidate interviews
Relevance Date Difficulty
in

No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Research Analyst Interview

Research Analyst
Denver, CO

I applied online and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at National Renewable Energy Lab in July 2012.

Interview Details – First was a telephone interview conducted by HR. On-site interview started at 11:00 am. First was a presentation with the topic that was closely related to the job responsibility. All team members attended the presentation. There was a lunch break after the presentation. After that, I talked to 4 team members one by one. Finally, I was arranged to talk to the HR manager.

Interview Question – Telephone interview asked common questions about study and work experience based on resume. HR asked me about the reason why my RA terminated.   Answer Question

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Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Research Technician Interview

Research Technician
Golden, CO

I applied online and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at National Renewable Energy Lab in January 2014.

Interview Details – Applied online, was contacted by HR to set up a phone interview and I chatted with two of the senior managers. Was contacted a week later by HR who schedueld an on-site visit and a more formal interview.

Interview Question – Very general questions about background and experience. One tricky questions about equipment danger and lab safety was asked.   Answer Question

Reason for Declining – Better job offer elsewhere with better pay

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Process Engineer Intern Interview

Process Engineer Intern
Golden, CO

I applied online and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at National Renewable Energy Lab.

Interview Details – Applied online, recruiter contacted me within 2 days! Scheduled an interview next week.
Recruiter asked basic questions about me and my interests. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Tell me about your experiences and how they fit with this position. Second interview was with the hiring manager, asked more technical/detailed questions about my resume.

Interview Question – They want to know if you're truly an expert or if you're "winging" it.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – No negotiation.

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1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Energy Analyst III Interview

Energy Analyst III
Golden, CO

I applied online and the process took 4 months - interviewed at National Renewable Energy Lab in November 2010.

Interview Details – The hiring process is, unfortunately, very slow. I was called for an interview 3.5 months after I applied (and this is not uncommon). Initially you are contacted by a recruiter type person in the hiring office (not the person you would actually be working for). After a short and "easy" phone interview, the next step is answer questions over email (again pretty easy). After that they set up an in-person interview. For my position this meant a 2-hour meeting, with several 30 minute meetings (including with the person who was my manager as well as with peers). Other positions at NREL require a 30 minute presentation as part of the process. It took another 3 weeks or so before I found out I was hired. Then there was another 4 week window before they could schedule my start date (it had to coincide with various new-hire meetings/presentations, etc.). However, I think that was unusual, and typically people can coordinate a start date that works for them.

Interview Question – In all honesty, there were not any unexpected questions or difficult questions. Everyone was nice, and seemed to really just want to get a genuine sense of my background, experience, skills, and personality. It felt very productive and effective.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – There was very little negotiation; they offered me what I asked fo.

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Intern Interview

Intern
Golden, CO

I applied online and interviewed at National Renewable Energy Lab.

Interview Details – They didn't tell me who I'd be interviewing with, and it ended up being a whole team, including the team leader.

Interview Question – The recruiter kept saying they wanted people passionate about the environment, but the interviewer asked if I could be more unbiased and measured about the subject, which surprised me.   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Graduate Student Researcher Interview

Graduate Student Researcher
Golden, CO

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 3 days - interviewed at National Renewable Energy Lab in June 2012.

Interview Details – Interview at Qdoba with my project manager and my technical consultant. Talked about experiences and school. Was asked if I wanted to position about two days afterwards.

Interview Question – No difficult tricky question; simply asked what experiences I had in a variety of different disciplines   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – No negotiation

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Postdoctoral Researcher Interview

Postdoctoral Researcher
Golden, CO

I applied online and the process took 2+ months - interviewed at National Renewable Energy Lab in September 2011.

Interview Details – I didn't hear about this position for a few months. Then they called scheduled an in-person interview. A 1 hour talk and 3 panel interviews w/ 3-4 people asking standardized questions to assess what motivates your research, your technical accomplishments/troubleshooting, and interpersonal skills.

Interview Question – It was pretty standard hybrid between an academic and a regular job interview. I don't remember any particularly hard questions   View Answer

Negotiation Details – They made an offer, but had to wait for HR to give a number for salary. The salary wasn't negotiable.

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Scientist II Interview

Scientist II

I applied online and the process took 4 months - interviewed at National Renewable Energy Lab.

Interview Details – 1) Phone interview with HR specialist/recruiter to screen for final candidates
2) Final candidates are invited on-site for presentation and panel interview
3) 1-day interview begins with a presentation on previous experience/relevant research, followed by panel interviews, and lab tours to see working environment.
4)HR will contact with offer
5)negotiate/discuss offer
6)relocation stipend is provided for out-of-town hires

Interview Question – This is a very long team interview that lasts a full 8-hour workday. Requires a ~30 minute presentation on past research experience to the entire team.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Yes, ALWAYS negotiate and ask for a bit more than the initial offer. They will most likely meet you at least partway if you are a good fit for the position.

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Engineer II Interview

Engineer II

I applied online and the process took 5 months - interviewed at National Renewable Energy Lab in January 2013.

Interview Details – Submitted online application, about 6 weeks later was contacted for an over the phone screening interview. Very easy, basic questions i.e. "walk me through your resume". About 4 weeks later was invited to come to Golden for an in-person interview. The in-person interview was 3 hours-- 1 hour of presenting my thesis topic, and 3 consecutive 45 minute interviews. The first two interviews were more about technical expertise, and the third was about working style. About 2.5 weeks after the in-person interview I was offered the position

Interview Question – How would you frame [this research question] as an optimization problem and what would be the methods you would use?   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – I was able to negotiate a very small increase in pay and a small signing bonus.

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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Senior Engineer I Interview

Senior Engineer I
Golden, CO

The process took 2 months - interviewed at National Renewable Energy Lab in October 2009.

Interview Details – I initially applied for the position on the company web site in Aug 2009. In early September I received an e-mail from their HR department stating that they were interested in bringing me in to interview for the positions.

The on-site interview took place in October 2009. I was interviewed by 5 members of the group, including the hiring manager and the director above him. It seemed as though each interviewer was probing different skill sets, and the questions were fairly open ended. I had lunch with recent hire in the group, and we discussed the hiring process he went through, as well as how he adjusted to working in the group. I gave a presentation of my research, received a plant tour, and was interviewed in a group setting.

The group interview was the most challenging part of the day. I felt like the limits of my experience were really being probed, and being the end of the day, I was exhausted.

I was very impressed with group and the facilities. The group was very focused on their tasks, and all of the members appeared to have a high level of enthusiasm. I left the interview with a very positive impression of the organization, and a good feeling with regards to my chances of receiving a job offer.

After the interview I sent thank you cards to the people I met with and followed up with Human Resources every two weeks. At one point I was told that I was one of three candidates still under consideration, and the funding for the position was in question. The consequence of this, I was told, is that the hiring decision will likely be based on the level of funding that is granted. In December, two months after the on-site interview, I was told I would not be offered the job. Sometime later I learned that the job was filled at an entry level position, rather than a senior position.

Interview Question – Please describe how you use mathmatical models in your research.   Answer Question

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