RAND Interview Questions in Santa Monica, CA

Updated Jun 29, 2015
16 Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    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
  2. 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
  3. Helpful (9)  

    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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  5. Helpful (2)  

    Project Manager Interview

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

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at RAND (Santa Monica, CA) in December 2013.

    Interview

    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 Questions

    • 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

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

  6. Helpful (2)  

    Telephone Interviewer Interview

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

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at RAND (Santa Monica, CA) in September 2013.

    Interview

    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 Questions

  7.  

    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
  8.  

    Computer Ops Specialist Interview

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

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at RAND (Santa Monica, CA).

    Interview

    Three people interview, nice but awkward intellectual type people, low stress questions.

    Interview Questions

    • How does your previous experience translate to this position?   Answer Question
  9. Helpful (1)  

    Librarian Interview

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

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 6+ weeksinterviewed at RAND (Santa Monica, CA).

    Interview

    Had first round interview via phone. Second round interview was in person. Met most of the staff I would be working with, had lunch and various round table sessions. Gave me a chance to get to know most of the staff I would be working with, ask questions and be asked questions. Appreciated getting to spend most of the day with them so that I could get a sense of the culture and who I would be working with.

    Interview Questions

    • Nothing unusual was asked during the interview process. Very professional and typical questions were asked.   Answer Question

    Negotiation

    Pretty straight forward. I was given an offer, I gave a counter offer and we met somewhere in the middle.

  10. Helpful (5)  

    Associate Physical Scientist Interview

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

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at RAND (Santa Monica, CA) in May 2012.

    Interview

    Submitted application online in February. 6 weeks later I had a phone interview. 2 weeks after that I had another phone interview (with a second researcher). Both phone interviews went well.

    About three weeks later I received a job offer from a different institution. I e-mailed my RAND point-of-contact and told them I'd love to be able to consider RAND when making the decision. They called me back and said they would "rush" the scheduling to bring me out for an interview. I interviewed about a week later (3 months after I originally submitted the online application).

    The interview was all day, from 8 am to ~4:30 pm. It involved about 7 one-on-one discussions with RAND researchers, a discussion with two researchers over a nice lunch, and my seminar on my postdoctoral research. My seminar was given in a conference room with ~6 attendees from the local office (Santa Monica), and about 3 or so attendees from other offices (Pittsburgh, Washington D.C.) via telecon and sharing my powerpoint screen over the web. 1.5 hours was allotted for my seminar. The attendees asked some good questions, but I was well prepared since the topic was my research of the past 3 years. (This type of all-day interview with a seminar presentation is typical in my field.)

    The day ended with a discussion with HR about benefits and salary expectations. About 2 weeks later I received a phone call and a verbal offer. I asked for 2 days to consider, then called them back and accepted the offer. This was 3.5 months after my initial online application.

    I'm not sure how long the process would have taken if I had not called them to notify them that I had another offer.

    Interview Questions

    • The questions about my research were well-thought out, but none of them were too challenging because they were questions I had answered before. Most of the interview questions seemed to be focused on assessing how amenable I would be to working in policy research, given that my background was more technical data analysis and physics research. So there was recognition that I would be making a bit of change in my career by coming to RAND, and most people seemed to be trying to assess how I felt about that. It was more gauging my interests and attitude than my technical expertise, I think.   Answer Question

    Negotiation

    I didn't negotiate. The offer was a good one, so I took it.

  11. Helpful (1)  

    Applications/Systems Analyst Interview

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

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took a weekinterviewed at RAND (Santa Monica, CA) in August 2011.

    Interview

    I was contacted by a technology recruiting firm for contract position. I was interviewed first by the recruiting company and twice over the phone with 2 of RAND's employees. I was hired within the week and started the following Monday.

    Interview Questions

    • There were no unexpected questions. All questions were aimed at my skill set and experience with IS applications and resolving issues and understanding of delivering specific projects.   1 Answer

    Negotiation

    The negotiation I had was with the recruiting 3rd party and my usual rate as a contractor was accepted.

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