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Sandia Interview Questions

Updated Jan 11, 2015
Updated Jan 11, 2015
70 Interview Reviews

Interview Experience

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Getting an Interview

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Candidate Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Engineering Project and Program Lead Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Application Details

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

    Interview Details

    Applied online, received an invitation to a lunch interview shortly after. Hiring manager and several managers from related departments attended. Informal questions, some background questions. The position and associated training were explained. Follow-up phone call two weeks later to discuss travel requirements and other duties. Decided not to pursue the position.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
  2. 2 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.  

    Project Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Sandia in November 2014.

    Interview Details

    Hiring process was a little slow. I was told that they were desperately seeking someone to fill a hole, but then they had a lot of hoops to jump through to get someone. That being said, I understood their predicament. While Sandia is not a government agency, it is a federally funded national lab and the employees are sort of like federal employees in the DOE and have to go through lots of background checks and security clearances. They even needed transcripts from college and grad school even though I've been working as a project manager for years.

    Process was like any other place. Phone screening with recruiter/HR. Telephone interview with hiring manager. Then group interview with the team. I had questions that were behavioral in nature, so setting up the answer in the form of STAR helped a lot.

    All in all, everyone was nice. HR recruiters walked me through the benefits packages, and I got to talk to people in the labs, see the campus, and check out the city too.

    Interview Questions
    • How do you handle difficult and unreasonable expectations from customers?   View Answer
    Reasons for Declining

    It was a good salary offer at ~$115K, but I felt it was not competitive for the Bay Area.

    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
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  5. 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
  6.  

    Senior Member of Technical Staff Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Kirtland AFB, NM
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Kirtland AFB, NM
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at Sandia in October 2014.

    Interview Details

    First off, I cheated. I have been a contractor at SNL for a few years. I had already developed a reputation and several professional contacts within Sandia before I applied.

    1) Search for the job on Sandia's website.
    2) Apply for the job via Sandia's website.
    3) Discuss application with manager filling the position.
    4) Wait patiently for official email response from Sandia's hiring group.

    Once I received the official email inviting me to an interview, I had a great deal of background paperwork to fill out. Most of this was easy, as I already carry a security clearance and had filled out similar paperwork two years before. Be prepared to detail everything about the last 10 years of your life.

    I was also invited to a benefits meeting, where an HR rep detailed the benefits that Sandia offers.

    Two weeks after the interview, I was given an official verbal job offer. Two days after that I received the official offer letter.

    IMPORTANT POINT: The interview took place in the Limited Area. Do no take any personal electronics with you - no cell phones, mp3 players, cameras, etc. You will need to stay close to your escort the entire time you are in the Limited Area.

    Interview Questions
    • Why do you want to leave your current position as a contract employee?   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    The hiring manager knew my current wage since I was a contract employee. This actually took a lot of the uncertainty out of the process. I was able to ensure a 13% increase in pay through casual conversation. This put me at just about the mid-point in the pay scale I was being hired into.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  7.  

    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
  8.  

    Graduate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 3 daysinterviewed at Sandia.

    Interview Details

    The process started with a phone interview with the supervisor I will be working with. It was very casual and revolved around discussions about my skill set, the various projects that were available and how I would fit into their current research agenda and what my contributions could be.

    Interview Questions
    • There weren't any unexpected questions - most of them revolved around my current research, and my interests in what I would like to do in the future.   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Human Resources Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 8 weeksinterviewed at Sandia in June 2014.

    Interview Details

    The interview process was fairly quick. Had a ten minute conversation on the phone with just basic questions. The in-person interview was a little daunting at first because it was a huge room with three people form the team but everyone was super nice and none of the questions were hard at all. I did have prior experience and did a few internships before applying here.

    Interview Questions
    • No question was difficult or unexpected. They mostly asked about how you stay organized, do you know how to use microsoft applications, what your future goals are etc.   Answer Question
    Reasons for Declining

    I did not feel like I would benefit much from the position. It seemed very administrative and like I already had the qualities that the previous intern learned from the position. I think this would be a great start for a recent high school graduate but since I had previous internships it just was not enough for me.

    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
  10.  

    Senior Member of Laboratory Staff Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

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

    Interview Details

    Easy process - I was selected to interview with a panel in Albuquerque. I was flown down and given standard questions. The interview is more about determining if you fit with the culture and are a likeable person.

    Interview Questions
    • Provide a situation where you solved a problem in a creative, unorthodox manner?   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    None - you take what they give
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  11. 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

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