RAND Interview Questions

Updated Jun 29, 2015
35 Interview Reviews

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Candidate Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Santa Monica, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2 daysinterviewed at RAND (Santa Monica, CA) in April 2011.

    Interview

    more like academic than corporate (the organization is sort of in between). part was like a PhD job talk. part was one-on-ones with potential peers. and screening with hiring manager

    Interview Questions

    • why i wanted to be there (vs industry, government, or university)   1 Answer

    Negotiation

    straightforward; they made an offer, I countered, they were surprised what i was making at current employer but responded to JUST get it over the line.

  2.  

    Administrative Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Santa Monica, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3+ weeksinterviewed at RAND (Santa Monica, CA) in June 2015.

    Interview

    Difficult to coordinate everyone you need to interview with which can draw out the process. You speak with the hiring manager first and then he/she will coordinate interviews with everyone you will work. The interviews will be on separate days and many can be via the phone. Everyone I met with was extremely nice, despite being a high paced company everyone took their time with the interviews.

    Interview Questions

    • Typical questions you are asked for this type of position   Answer Question
  3.  

    Project Associate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Santa Monica, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at RAND (Santa Monica, CA) in April 2013.

    Interview

    I had a phone interview first, which seemed to go well. A little while later, I heard back that they wanted to fly me out to Santa Monica for a full day interview. The all day interview with various people in 30 minute intervals. Some are by phone or by video conference with people who work in other RAND offices or even work completely remotely.

    Interview Questions

    • They asked a bit about the research interests I had, as well as what methodological skills I had. They seemed less interested in software expertise.   Answer Question
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  5. Helpful (2)  

    Solutions Architect Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took a weekinterviewed at RAND (Santa Monica, CA) in April 2015.

    Interview

    First I had a phone screen. Then, a few days later, I went in for a face-to-face interview with the hiring manager, three of his colleagues, and finally, a brief stop to an HR person. On the face of it, I seemed to be a perfect fit for their stated requirements. The manager said they were looking for someone eager to learn new technologies, explain them, and demo them to various parties. Well, no-one loves to learn new technology and can explain them better than I can! They were a bit behind the times, just starting to move to AWS, for instance. Also, they were just starting to look at using Hadoop, which seemed a little behind the times for a research organization that analyzed data. The manager explained to me that the old CIO had allowed deep attrition during the whole sequestration debacle within the government. Now they were looking to expand staffing again. The interviews did not press me or place me under any kind of stress. They had expressed some concern to the staffing recruiter that I had a consulting background, and perhaps they were afraid I wouldn't stay there in their organization for the long term. They "deliberated" about the interview for two days, so they must have struggled with some issue. Or perhaps some liked me and others didn't. At any rate, they didn't proceed to the next level, which would have been a second face-to-face, where I met some of the research developers.

    Interview Questions

    • To explain something which I had architected, so they could see the thought process and approach.   1 Answer
  6. Helpful (1)  

    Linux Systems Administrator Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Pittsburgh, PA
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at RAND (Pittsburgh, PA) in October 2014.

    Interview

    First I interviewed with the hiring manager over the phone for about an hour. This was an easy, conversational interview that went well. Following that, I had to do an online exercise to demonstrate my linux administration skills. They send you an email 30 minutes before the exercise telling you how to login to the exercise and giving basic facts about the administration problem your will solve. It is moderately difficult and you won't do well unless you know your way around a Linux system. I apparently did well enough to get an in-person interview at the Pittsburgh location. The interview was a panel type, with the first interviews with technical folks and then an HR person. Then I had an hour with the IT director followed by a couple more interviews with technical folks who were probing to determine my sysadmin chops. The whole thing was about 4 hours.

    Interview Questions

  7. Helpful (4)  

    Research Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at RAND in July 2014.

    Interview

    I was contacted about 2 months after I applied online. When I went to RAND, I spoke with a series of research scientists and was asked to discuss my thesis, the writing sample I had submitted, and talk through my research experience. Everyone was very friendly, it wasn't a normal behavioral interview at all. I had a lot of friendly conversations about my interests and experience. I also had lunch with current employees in the position I was applying for. It was a very nice experience all-around; I was disappointed not to receive the offer a month later.

    Interview Questions

    • I was asked to explain why I chose specific statistical analyses in the data analysis section of my thesis. I wrote it and spent a lot of time on it, so I didn't struggle responding. The research scientist asked detailed follow up questions about specific analyses I mentioned.   Answer Question
  8.  

    Project Associate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at RAND in February 2010.

    Interview

    Interviews done with 4-6 people, including managers and peer groups. Peer groups are often a lunch interview. Slots are 30 minutes, interviewers ask whatever they want to get a sense of someone's personality fit, particularly whether they can work with RAND's internal labor market.

    Negotiation

    able to negotiate slightly higher salary

  9. Helpful (2)  

    Associate Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at RAND in June 2014.

    Interview

    Following an online application to a posted offer, there was an hour-long scheduled interview. The Interview was by a potential immediate supervisor, who questioned me on things like why RAND interested me, what my research process & methodology is like, if a client were to ask (insert potential research question), how would you go about it, and so on. It was a fairly thorough interview, but also refreshing to talk technical specifics. Following that, there was an invitation to go to one of the regional offices for a full-day Values panel. This part is pending. Will update when I'm done.

    Interview Questions

    • I noticed you applied for analyst positions in 3 different departments, why?   Answer Question
  10. Helpful (5)  

    Research Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at RAND (Washington, DC) in April 2014.

    Interview

    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 Questions

    • 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

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

  11. Helpful (10)  

    Associate Policy Researcher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Santa Monica, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 8 weeksinterviewed at RAND (Santa Monica, CA) in March 2014.

    Interview

    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 Questions

    • 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

    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.

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