Oak Ridge National Laboratory
3.7 of 5 76 reviews
www.ornl.gov Oak Ridge, TN 1000 to 5000 Employees

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jul 2, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting the Interview 

66%
16%
16%

Interview Experience 

75%
25%
0%

Interview Difficulty 

Average Difficulty
14 candidate interviews
Relevance Date Difficulty
in

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Group Leader Interview

Group Leader
Oak Ridge, TN

I applied through an employee referral and the process took a day - interviewed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Interview Details – Well-planned, easy, straightforward. Spent a day with various people up and down the management chain and with HR. Offer was presented very quickly. Everything was arranged, so visit was easy. Wife spent the day with friends.

Interview Question – Don't recall anything particularly difficult.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Straightforward. No games.

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2 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Postdoctoral Research Associate Interview

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Oak Ridge, TN

I applied online and the process took 3+ weeks - interviewed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in May 2012.

Interview Details – Wanted to learn neutron-scattering, and then saw advertisement for position in Linked-in on post-doctoral fellowship on neutron sciences. Found that the head of the division was a co-worker with my boss at IBM Research. I always wanted to work under somebody like this, hence I emailed him directly (got ID from the Linked-in website). He replied, and we set up a time for a telephonic "chat". The chat went simple, he asked me about my background, simple science questions on my PhD project. He also briefed me about how it is different to work in a National Laboratory and an University. It was rather friendly. At the end of it, he gave me guidelines to fill up the application online, stressing me to keep it 'to-the-point' and short (and not write long essays which no-one will read).

The second interviews were on-site. After badging and security clearance at gate, I had to report with an HR personnel in the morning, followed by 3 morning interviews, and 5 evening interviews with various groups (associated with different instruments at the Spallation Neutron Source). They were all very enthusiastic in describing their research, rather than listening to mine, and the best stance for me was to listen carefully and offer useful and promising suggestions. Finally, there was a tour of HFIR and SNS, before I was released for the day. The entire interview focused on how working with neutrons is different from working in other fields, and whether I am a good personality match for the same. Very little science questions were asked, although a lot of science that is done in the laboratory (and in USA in general) was discussed in a friendly manner.

Interview Question – How would you cope into a National Laboratory in the middle of no-where after coming from a vibrant city like Chicago? Remember, post-doctoral people have complained about feeling dejected at work because of a lack-lustre social life.   View Answer

Negotiation Details – I was informed of the offer over telephone, and I was told a salary. which is at par my expectations from this laboratory, and slightly higher than what the average entry-level post-doctoral fellow in my field make here. They recruited me as a "Material Science Post-Doc" rather than a "Physics post-doc" since it allows higher pay-package according to ORNL rules. I was happy about this change that they made (even before they contacted me with the offer). I took a month to compare this offer to my other offers, before I accepted.

The background check that followed was. however, painful. It took them 3.5 months to go through it, since apparently my country of citizenship is considered 'sensitive to national security'. It was eventually cleared.

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Network Administrator Interview

Network Administrator

I applied online and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in July 2011.

Interview Details – Initial communication only took a few days after submitting resume. 1 hour phone interview and lots of technical questions.

Interview Question – Most difficult questions were questions about hardware that is seldom used in the industry.   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

R&D Staff Interview

R&D Staff
Oak Ridge, TN

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in December 2009.

Interview Details – The interview process is commonly described by candidates as "intense". It generally begins at 9am, and consists of the candidate presenting an hour long seminar on a research topic of their choice (relavant to the position), followed by a series of interviews. The interviews will be a mix of one-on-one interviews and groups of 5-20 people in the peer group for the position under consideration. While there can be long delays between the opening of a position and the start of interviews, hiring decisions usually follow the interview of the top 5 candidates fairly quickly. Drug test and background check are required.

Salaries, number of weeks of vacation, start date, moving expenses, and temporary remote work arrangements among other things are negotiable for senior R&D positions.

Interview Question – The peer group interviews will test the limits of your knowledge in those areas where you claim expertise in either your seminar or your resume. Candidates who cannot back up their claims generally do not stand any chance.   View Answer

Negotiation Details – Negotiation is typical for R&D staff positions. Salary, vacation days, moving expenses, temporary remote work arrangements, start date, etc. are negotiable.

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Staff Scientist Interview

Staff Scientist
Oak Ridge, TN

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Interview Details – Got hired after invited to give a seminar. Talked with other staff members very informally.

Interview Question – None   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – I was not able to negotiate.

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Electrical Engineer Interview

Electrical Engineer
Oak Ridge, TN

I applied through other source and the process took a day - interviewed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in January 2011.

Interview Details – I spoke with each department head I would be directly working with. I was asked about my background and my area of expertise.

Interview Questions

Negotiation Details – Fail and balanced I got what I was asking for.

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Postdoctoral Interview

Postdoctoral
Oak Ridge, TN

I applied through other source and the process took a day - interviewed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in November 2011.

Interview Details – Good communicatoin during interview process.

Interview Question – All basic questions   Answer Question

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1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Research Associate Interview

Research Associate
Knoxville, TN

The process took 2 days - interviewed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in March 2008.

Interview Details – I interviewed for two days by giving presentation and talking to the people who work in the group I was interviewing for. The presentation ended with in-depth questioning on the research topic of the presentation. One on one interviews were targeted towards evaluating my interpersonal skills as well as technical qualification.

Interview Question – What research direction you want to go?   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Software Developer II Interview

Software Developer II
Oak Ridge, TN

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in March 2009.

Interview Details – I received a call from the supervisor, scheduled an interview, talked to the three group members about the position and my skills/experience, the average work day, and my interests as far as a career. The group members were dressed casually in jeans, tennis shoes/boots, and had a relaxed demeanor. They have been this way for the past year I worked here and only dress up for conferences and media events. They maintain a professional attitude most of the time and rarely speak badly about each other. Good atmosphere to work in.

Interview Question – I don't remember any questions aside from What is your experience? Have you used "x" skill? etc.   View Answer

Negotiation Details – There was basically no negotiating.

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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Easy Interview

Postdoctoral Fellow Interview

Postdoctoral Fellow
Oak Ridge, TN

I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in May 2010.

Interview Details – I first received an e-mail saying that I was invited to interview. During the on-site interview, I had an hour-long one on one interview with the principal investigator of the project I would be working on, a thirty-minute interview with two HR representatives, a site tour, lunch, gave my presentation, ending with a lengthy Q&A with the selection committee about my presentation and other general questions related to the position. Seemed like a friendly work atmosphere.

Interview Question – How will your background in a different scientific area help you succeed in this project?   Answer Question

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