Sandia Interview Questions in Albuquerque, NM

Updated Mar 1, 2015
Updated Mar 1, 2015
28 Interview Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Mechanical Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Albuquerque, NM
    Anonymous Employee in Albuquerque, NM
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Sandia in February 2015.

    Interview Details

    First had two phone interviews with different hiring managers in related departments. The in person interview was about 6 to 7 hours long. The first part was an interview with a hiring manager outside the department I was interviewing with. Then I gave an hour long presentation on my graduate research. Then a 1 hour panel with about 4 interviewers and a bunch of 1:1 interviews, a short tour of the department's lab, and a lunch interview. Overall, the interview was pretty standard for engineers just getting out of graduate school and applying to national laboratories. The rejection phone call came within the time period they projected. I was disappointed that the hiring manager stated he was unable to give feedback to me because of some corporate policy.

    Interview Questions
    • What was one major problem or hurdle you had to overcome in graduate school? They also asked about teamwork and leadership experience.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Senior Member of Technical Staff Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Albuquerque, NM
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Albuquerque, NM
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2 daysinterviewed at Sandia.

    Interview Details

    Interview process usually starts with a technical presentation such as PhD or Master's research projects, followed by interviews with several members of your technical group. At least one of these is usually from outside your research area and will ask you about broader themes such as the research community, research processes, conferences etc. The interviews are usually very relaxed with the emphasis on you explaining ideas or research areas you are familiar with rather than question-based driving toward a single "correct answer." My experience was that staff were really trying to explore you thoughts and ideas. Knowledge of current research questions and themes helped considerably at this gave the interviewer and me something concrete to discuss. There was ample opportunity to ask the interviewers questions about the laboratories, the culture, the area (New Mexico) and research at the laboratory. I never felt that anyway was being hidden and I was encouraged to be open about what things I wanted to ask etc.

    Interview Questions
    • What area did I think the laboratory did not perform well in or an area where the laboratory could improve. This is difficult because of the obvious problem of being too critical. My experience here was to be open, explain that there are on-going challenges which require continuous improvements and explain how you could help there or what interests you bring to extend this in novel ways. The interviewer seemed very receptive to this conversation and was very supportive in exploring them.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    Did not negotiate, felt the laboratory offered a good benefits package up front with opportunities for promotion in the future.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Senior Member of Technical Staff Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Albuquerque, NM
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Albuquerque, NM
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Sandia in October 2014.

    Interview Details

    Timeline: the hiring process took almost three months. I was contacted for a phone interview two weeks after applying to the position online through Sandia's career website. The onsite interview was confirmed one week later, and took place four weeks after the phone interview. A verbal offer was extended seven weeks after the onsite interview. This longer than usual timeline was due to the holiday season and vacation. Communication and feedback were excellent throughout.

    Phone interview: this was with an engineer with experience in the position and lasted about 30 minutes. It was very straightforward and casual: we discussed my interest in the position, qualifications, experience, biggest challange(s) and success(es) in my Ph.D. work, some details about how the group is composed, and life in Albuquerque.

    Onsite interview: this was a full day, lasting from 8:30 - 4:30. First was an hour-long HR briefing with a few other interviewees at Sandia that day. I was then escorted to the group's building and gave a one hour seminar (50 minutes presentation, 10 minutes Q&A) on my Ph.D. research. This was surprisingly well attended by about 15 Sandians, about half of whom were not interviewing me later on but were just interested (this seems to reflect the atmosphere of the lab - learning and growth are definitely parts of the culture). The rest of the day consisted of a 30 minute 1:1, a 2 hour lunch with managers, two 1 hour 1:1s, and a 1 hour 8:1 group interview. Overall there was great balance between personal, technical, and behavioral discussions. I was given opportunities to show my expertise, sell my character and skills, and ask questions. All of the interviewers were positive and eager to both hear and talk about my fit within the group. I felt like they were selling Sandia to me as much as I was selling myself to them (what a relief this was!). The group interview was the toughest part, but that was expected: thinking out loud is hard for me in front of a group of people, but they understand it is stressful and helped me through parts where I struggled.

    Overall: the entire process was a great experience. Logistical details were handled well and travel was easy.

    Interview Questions
    • Most questions were about my research and I felt comfortable answering them after spending 5 years doing just that. There were a few unpredictable off the wall questions, the kind where sharing them does no good because they are random problems designed to see how you think.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    Salary offer was higher than anticipated. I accepted without negotiating.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
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  5.  

    Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Albuquerque, NM
    Anonymous Employee in Albuquerque, NM
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at Sandia in July 2014.

    Interview Details

    Interview day began with an HR briefing. Was picked up by group admin. assistant and taken to site for interview. Later, there was a team interview that included a person from outside the hiring group or its principle customers. The intent was to ensure the candidate could fit in well in other areas and was a cultural fit. There were five behavior-based questions.

    Interview Questions
    • Tell us about a time when you had a customer with an impossible request or need. How did you handle it.   View Answer
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Recruiting Specialist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Albuquerque, NM
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Albuquerque, NM
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 5+ monthsinterviewed at Sandia.

    Interview Details

    Applied and wasn't contacted for over a month. I was then called in for an interview which was all day. It consisted of briefings on benefits, meeting the team, interview., and lunch.

    Interview Questions
    • It was definitely more of a conversation. I did not feel stumped on any questions   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    I told them the salary I had at my current position and they raised the initial offer by $7000
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Embedded Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Albuquerque, NM
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Albuquerque, NM
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took a dayinterviewed at Sandia.

    Interview Details

    There was a phone interview first and then an in-person interview with the manager of the department. It was pretty easy. They just asked some technical questions to gauge whether I had enough knowledge to perform the job and explained what types of projects their department generally worked on. The interviewer was very friendly and not at all stressful.

    Interview Questions
    • There wasn't really anything too difficult. I applied for a job that I knew I would excel in so there weren't any problems.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    The offer was generous. No negotiation required.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
  8.  

    Computer Science Intern Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Albuquerque, NM
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Albuquerque, NM
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeksinterviewed at Sandia.

    Interview Details

    It was just a behavioral interview. Asked questions about my resume and my interests. Not hard at all. If they choose to hire you the paper work is a nightmare because they have to do an in depth background check.

    Interview Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
  9.  

    Internship Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Albuquerque, NM
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Albuquerque, NM
    Application Details

    I applied in-person. The process took 5+ monthsinterviewed at Sandia in December 2013.

    Interview Details

    I applied online after speaking with a representative at a University fair. They contacted me with a questionnaire regarding basic skills a couple of months later. I returned the questionnaire. About a month later I interviewed. I was told that I would hear back in a couple weeks and when I didn't I assumed I wouldn't get an offer. I didn't hear back until mid-February when I was offered a position.

    Interview Questions
    Negotiation Details
    No negotiation
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
  10.  

    Research Scientist Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Albuquerque, NM
    Anonymous Employee in Albuquerque, NM
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 4 weeksinterviewed at Sandia in September 2013.

    Interview Details

    Applied for position in August 2013. Received a phone call about 3 weeks later, and was interviewed on-site in September 2013.

    I was interviewed by 3 panels of 2 people each. First was the hiring manager and a manager from another department. The hiring manager was a young guy, and came across very immature. I answered the questions honestly and with enthusiasm, which they responded positively.

    The next panel was a pair of interviewers who recent joined the group. One of the people was someone I had actually gone to school with. The other individual simply stared at me with a odd look for the entire hour. Aside from that, it went okay.

    The last panel was a pair of interviewers who had been at Sandia for 10+ years each. They were pretty nice, but kept trying to emphasize they weren't government employees and there was no way they could be furloughed.

    The following week, a government shutdown occurred, and I was informed by the HR contact that they HAD been furloughed. One week later they emailed me saying I was a fantastic candidate, but had decided to cancel the position. I contacted the hiring manager several times when the government shutdown ended, and did not get a response.

    Interview Questions
    • So....you applied online? You must have been the only person to do so. (I should have realized at that point they either were just fishing for resumes or already had an internal candidate in mind)   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    Research Scientist Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Albuquerque, NM
    Anonymous Employee in Albuquerque, NM
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 4+ monthsinterviewed at Sandia in April 2013.

    Interview Details

    Initial communication took place at a career fair on a university campus; a former colleague of mine was actually there working the career fair and helped me to get my foot in the door. I was called back for a one hour behavioral interview on campus the next day. A few weeks later, I received a phone call from a manager who was interested in bringing me out to interview on site. I had to fill out an application for a specific position there, which is sort of a formality, but legally necessary. I don't remember if it was before or after the on site interview, but I also had to fill out paperwork for a background check and provide contact information for both personal and professional references; they did contact everybody that I listed and asked questions about my qualifications and character. For the on site interview, Sandia paid to fly me out to Albuquerque and paid all travel/lodging expenses while I was there. The on site interview process involved me giving a one hour open seminar on my area of research and then interviewing with at least 15 individuals from several departments at various levels of authority over the course of two days (there was no standard test of my skills in my field, but the interviews were clearly meant to evaluate that, among other things); they also had me meet with HR to go over the benefits package that their employees receive. For two days straight, I was constantly in meetings, being shuffled from person to person, giving presentations, explaining my work, asking them questions, going on tours, and being shoved into impromptu rushed social situations with my potential future peers. The on site interview process was mentally and physically exhausting (after the first day, I returned to my hotel room, sat down in a chair, and instantly fell asleep right there with my suit still on and everything). About a week later, I received a phone call saying they were interested in extending an offer to me. My GPA was below their minimum for hiring, but I had medical reasons for my temporary poor performance, a former colleague working there who could vouch for me, and now a department interested in hiring me, so they decided to try to make an exception. Their GPA requirements are very real, and getting an exception is not a simple process; they actually had to appeal to somebody several rungs up the ladder to approve making me a hiring offer. I was lucky to have a connection in the right place to help initially get my foot in the door and an acceptable reason for some anomalous grades, and I made a good impression, so they were willing to go through this process for me; however, in most cases, they just won't bother if you don't meet the numbers. It's not them being discriminatory elitists; it's just a hassle and a gamble to pursue somebody who doesn't meet the numbers that are in their rule book due to the bureaucracy of the place. Once they got approval to extend an offer to me, I was sent a job offer / hiring package in the mail. It included instructions for getting a drug test done (necessary if accepting the job) and starting the security clearance application process.

    Interview Questions
    • During the behavioral interview, they just asked the standard questions you can find on google and wanted the STAR-type answers. My interviews on site were tailored specifically to my background, so the details of those questions wouldn't really help anybody else. The most difficult question I was faced with, though, was, "What was the most important thing you learned in grad school?"   View Answer
    • Another good question to be prepared for is, "Why do you want to work here?"   View Answer
    Reasons for Declining

    I honestly would have loved to accept the offer (it was a dream job with a great salary), but I had to decline for personal/family reasons. It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make. If circumstances had been different, I definitely would have accepted.

    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

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