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RAND Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jun 7, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting an Interview  


Interview Experience  


Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
28 candidate interviews
Relevance Date Difficulty

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Research Assistant Interview

Research Assistant
Washington, DC

I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at RAND in April 2014.

Interview Details – The hiring process was very straightforward. I applied online, was contacted within three weeks about coming to DC for an interview, and interviewed the next month for the position. The interview was conducted over the course of one day, with 8 30-minute one-on-one interviews with research directors, as well as a lunch with individuals who had the position for which I applied. I was very impressed by everyone who interviewed me and found the process smooth and enjoyable.

Interview Question – I was asked by several interviews to name specific projects/reports published by RAND and analyze their content, as well as provide my own opinion on the research.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – There wasn't really room for negotiation, but the offer was very fair.

3 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Associate Policy Researcher Interview

Associate Policy Researcher
Santa Monica, CA

I applied online and the process took 8 weeks - interviewed at RAND in March 2014.

Interview Details – RAND impressed me by actually reading their online applications. They read my materials (papers), resume, cover letter, and recommendation letters and felt that my work was a good fit with their current need. Throughout the process, I felt that idiosyncractic fit -- the folks hiring me liked my work and found it interesting and relevant to their work and that made all the difference. If I'd been similarly skilled but hadn't done work of this type, I doubt any part of the process would've been as smooth.

First round interview was via phone with someone who found my work interesting. Partially the interview tried to sell me on the job. But in terms of hard questions, they asked me to detail my research work that I had submitted (papers). First, to describe each succintly and it's contribution and policy-relevance. Second, to describe my thought process and steps in doing the work and collaborating with partners, to ensure both that it was my own thinking/work and to show that I had been really independent in how I initiated and completed the project.

Second round of interviews was full day interviews - individual 30 min meetings with potential peers and 1 job talk. Because they are an unstructured group I found their individual interviews fairly disorganized and unpredictable. Each person interviewed you largely independently. So some people like you and want to answer your question about the job. Others are more critical and want to test your abilities to independently come up with research ideas. Others want to assess whether youd' be willing to chip in on projects outside of your area of interest but where there is funding.

RAND is a place where you need to be very independent at pursuing funding and research opportunities. The whole place is a loose network of researchers so it's all about first being independent enough to find and create projects with them, and second be able in the long run to build a niche of grant-generation for yourself and your type of projects. Methods matter but ideas and independence matter too. And the desire to spend alot of time pursuing opportunities and to branch out into whatever topic areas might have more funding at any given time.

Interview Question – If you could research any topic at all - no limitations - what would the study look like? This kind of question is far easier to prep intelligently in advance.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – I researched salary. Timing was poor for negotiation and I was content with my initial offer. It slightly exceeded my demanded salary they required me to provide earlier in the process, but I had a decent sense of what was typical.

You could negotiate salary, but also various details related to how supported you would be in terms of material and compensation for trips, etc... as an employee.

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Project Associate Interview

Project Associate

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at RAND.

Interview Details – The process was long and scattered. But I was able to do the phone and site visit after 2.5 months of application. The position description does not match the actual role. So make sure you ask in details. When I learned about the actual role on site, I was not as interested because it wasn't a good match. The project director asked why my cover letter was so short, and seemed to doubt the decisions I made in my career paths. Her questions also seemed to test and challenge me in an unfriendly way. The peer interview was very casual and cordial. I enjoyed it.

Interview Question – what would you do on your starting day in this role?
what do you think about surveys?
why you want to leave your current job?
  Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Easy Interview

Sociologist Interview

New York, NY

I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at RAND.

Interview Details – The interview was held in the ASA conference. I was interviewed by a senior researcher. Interview questions are not difficult and within my expectation. He asked about my Ph.D. research, what kind of dataset I use. He also talked about what it is like working in RAND as well as the potential career path.

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Administrative Assistant Interview

Administrative Assistant
Arlington, VA

I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at RAND in August 2010.

Interview Details – One primary interview, followed by three with researchers

Negotiation Details – Unable to negotiate

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Contracts Administrator Interview

Contracts Administrator

Interviewed at RAND

Interview Details – First contacted by a phone interviewer. Basic questions; describe your past experience, why are you the best candidate for this position? etc. I then received an e mail about a day later and invited me back for an in-person interview. I first met with a human resources representative, Again, same basic questions and she also went over the benefits and the rest of the interview process. Then meet with the Associate Director of Contracts. More detailed questions, not really about my experience or skills but more scenario based. Next people I met with were to co-workers, who I would be working directly with. One person was leaving to another position in the company and the other was taking her position. So, I imagined that I would be filling the open position. More of a friendly interview, some of my favorite hobbies and my negotiation skills and computer skills. Last person I met with was the Director of Contracts. The shortest interview of them all and very similar to the interview with the Associate Director. They informed me that they had another week of interviews left but I would definitely be contacted if I was offered the job or that they were no longer pursuing my candidacy. I didn't receive any correspondence for 3 weeks and even sent a follow up with the Associate Director. I then received a phone call from a human resource rep and she said that they were no longer pursuing my candidacy. They even mentioned that they didn't hire any candidates from the interviews and were going to do another round of interviews which I wouldn't be invited back to.

Interview Question – Most of the unexpected questions came from the other contract administrators, which they had mentioned the found off the internet. One example is, What is your idealistic job and what is your realistic job?   Answer Question

Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Network Engineer Interview

Network Engineer
Santa Monica, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4 months - interviewed at RAND in August 2011.

Interview Details – More to feel out whether you will give anything to the company regardless of what you past experience tells you otherwise.

Interview Question – How do you feel about filling out forms all day instead of actually fixing a problem.   Answer Question

1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Project Manager Interview

Project Manager
Santa Monica, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at RAND in December 2013.

Interview Details – Wow, they are interviewing like mad, and hiring great people. The interviews are intense. All day affairs, typically 7 to 9 interviews with lots of people at all levels of the organization. Top level manners get engaged in the process.

Interview Question – I think the most difficult aspect is the number of interviewers and they cover everything about a candidate, from technical, to behavior, to cultural fit. You really are asked a lot of questions from a lot of perspectives, but super professional.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Simple. They made a fair offer. I didn't feel a need to negotiate and they wanted me to start right away.

No Offer

Negative Experience

Very Easy Interview

Telephone Interviewer Interview

Telephone Interviewer
Santa Monica, CA

I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at RAND in September 2013.

Interview Details – Apply on line, then received telephone interview, then in person group interview with computer test. Don't spend a lot of time reviewing the area of research you are being hired for. This was a position for Medicare Research and they really did not care to much if you knew anything. I was friendly and outgoing as that is my personality after being in the counseling field for 30 plus years. I think it worked against me. The phone interview was like talking to a robot. The group interview had a panel of 3 people. The supervisor for the Telephone interview area was unfriendly, made no eye contact, uninterested in people, he made no comments and only asked his share of questions. It was apparent the three had split up what to ask. He was slouching in his chair and uninterested in the process at all. I may be wrong but he wanted people who ask survey question, type in data fast and nothing else. Interview lasted 1 1/2 hours. They did not tell you at the end how you would be notified of results but the training started the next week. I emailed the HR contact and she was nice enough to tell me that those who were hired had been call already. MORE than a week after the training started they sent an email stating I was not qualified!!! What I don't get is why tell me I am qualified for the group interview but then use lack of qualifications for the excuse of no hire. Awful people with NO people skills. Make you go through through all this for a low paying job.

Interview Question – None were difficult.   Answer Question

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Executive Administrative Assistant Interview

Executive Administrative Assistant
Santa Monica, CA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 months - interviewed at RAND in February 2011.

Interview Details – I was called for interview a few months after I applied. I had interview with about 4 or 5 people. Everyone seemed very friendly, and it wasn't intimidating. Previous to that there were a number of pretty challenging tests on Excel and other Microsoft Office software, and also comparisons of columns of numbers to see which ones were incorrect.

Interview Question – I'm sorry, I really don't remember - most of the questions seemed pretty normal. It was important to have done my homework on the company and the area and people I would be working with.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – There was none. I was happy with the offer made.

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