RAND
3.9 of 5 79 reviews
www.rand.org Santa Monica, CA 1000 to 5000 Employees

RAND Interview Questions & Reviews in Santa Monica, CA

Updated May 4, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting the Interview 

77%
13%
9%

Interview Experience 

76%
7%
15%

Interview Difficulty 

Average Difficulty
13 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
Relevance Date Difficulty
in
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.

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response

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

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response

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.

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response

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

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response

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.

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Applications/Systems Analyst Interview

Applications/Systems Analyst
Santa Monica, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 1 week - interviewed at RAND in August 2011.

Interview Details – 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 Question – 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.   View Answer

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

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response

1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Associate Physical Scientist Interview

Associate Physical Scientist
Santa Monica, CA

I applied online and the process took 3+ months - interviewed at RAND in May 2012.

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

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Computer Ops Specialist Interview

Computer Ops Specialist
Santa Monica, CA

I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at RAND.

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

Interview Question – How does your previous experience translate to this position?   Answer Question

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response

No Offer

Negative Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Proposal Position - Santa Monica Interview

Proposal Position - Santa Monica
Santa Monica, CA

I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at RAND in July 2009.

Interview Details – This is a review for a position from several years ago - approximately 2009. I received a phone interview for a proposal position for which I fit hand in glove. Not only did I have the proposal experience, I had education in science and political science (graduate degree), and experience in medicine - all which were related to the types of proposals I would be working. The head of the proposal department called and obviously had only briefly scanned my resume. When he asked if I had any experience in anything other than MS Word and any desktop publishing or graphics experience, I said I did. He clearly expected a "no" and was taken aback then stated I didn't need such experience. (?) I stated he just asked me and the job description also required it. He then began to actually read my resume and I could tell that he was going to do whatever to block me from working at RAND. He was seeking someone lesser than what the position description actually required. Clearly, he was one of those people who ensure no one too skilled is in his line of subordinates. To guarantee I didn't walk through the door for an interview where someone may have said "hire this person," he ended the conversation swiftly by selecting the least skilled item in my resume (desktop publishing) and stated that is who I really was and - get this - stated that made me unqualified for the position. When I pointed out that my resume did not reflect that, he began screeching at me to end it right there.

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response

1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Librarian Interview

Librarian
Santa Monica, CA

I applied online and the process took 6+ weeks - interviewed at RAND.

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

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

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response
RSS Feed Embed

Worked for RAND? Contribute to the Community!

The difficulty rating is the average interview difficulty rating across all interview candidates.

The interview experience is the percentage of all interview candidates that said their interview experience was positive, neutral, or negative.

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.

Glassdoor is your free inside look at RAND interview questions and advice in Santa Monica, CA. All 13 interview reviews posted anonymously by RAND employees and interview candidates.