Oak Ridge National Laboratory Interview Questions

Updated Sep 7, 2014
Updated Sep 7, 2014
16 Interview Reviews

Interview Experience

Interview Experience

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Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview

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Candidate Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Group Leader Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Oak Ridge, TN
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Oak Ridge, TN
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took a dayinterviewed 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 Questions
    Negotiation Details
    Straightforward. No games.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  2.  

    Staff Scientist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Oak Ridge, TN
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Oak Ridge, TN
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

    Interview Details

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

    Interview Questions
    Negotiation Details
    I was not able to negotiate.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  3.  

    IT Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 6 weeksinterviewed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in August 2012.

    Interview Details

    Had a phone interview followed up with an on-site meeting with multiple teams. The process was very professional and detailed. I felt very comfortable and was excited at the opportunity to take the position. The work/life balance they offer was very enticing combined with a great benefits package. The negotiations with pay took the longest time and were unable to meet my expectations to leave my current job.

    Interview Questions
    • Nothing too hard, did a good job letting me explain my professional skill set and asking questions based on my experience.   Answer Question
    Reasons for Declining

    Could not meet my expectations on pay to leave my current job.

    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Postdoctoral Research Associate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Oak Ridge, TN
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Oak Ridge, TN
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3+ weeksinterviewed 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 Questions
    • 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.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
  6.  

    Postdoctoral Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Oak Ridge, TN
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Oak Ridge, TN
    Application Details

    I applied through other source. The process took a dayinterviewed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in November 2011.

    Interview Details

    Good communicatoin during interview process.

    Interview Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  7.  

    Senior Research and Development Staff Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Oak Ridge, TN
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Oak Ridge, TN
    Application Details

    I applied online – interviewed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in September 2011.

    Interview Details

    I am interview twice this location as similar position. The process is slow as it has to get many government clearances. But the opportunity is great. The interview process is wonderful buth they need background chck before interview also. The time duration for interview is for the whole day.

    Interview Questions
    • Funding questions are more difficult as we do not know how govt to govt funding works   Answer Question
    Reasons for Declining

    Pay was lesser

    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  8.  

    Network Administrator Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took a weekinterviewed 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 Questions
    • Most difficult questions were questions about hardware that is seldom used in the industry.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  9.  

    Electrical Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Oak Ridge, TN
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Oak Ridge, TN
    Application Details

    I applied through other source. The process took a dayinterviewed 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.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Postdoctoral Fellow Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Oak Ridge, TN
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Oak Ridge, TN
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took a dayinterviewed 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 Questions
    • How will your background in a different scientific area help you succeed in this project?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Easy Interview
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    R&D Staff Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Oak Ridge, TN
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Oak Ridge, TN
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed 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 Questions
    • 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.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

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