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Sandia Postdoctoral Appointee Interview Questions & Reviews in Albuquerque, NM

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Postdoctoral Appointee Interview

Postdoctoral Appointee
Albuquerque, NM

I applied through other source and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Sandia in November 2010.

Interview Details – First of all, Sandia takes a while, but it is well worth it in the end! At least, I think so... I was originally contacted by a Technical Staff Member regarding the position via email. He was having a difficult time filling it (about a year search) and had seen my resume on a conference website. He also knew of my graduate advisor's reputation and had already invited him out for a talk that was to be a few weeks later. I spoke with the staff member on the phone the next day. I must have passed the initial screening because I was automatically moved to "interview status". Two weeks after the initial contact, the position was reposted by HR online. I applied and let the staff member know. I received an email about setting up the flight, etc. a little over 3 weeks after applying online. Though, I knew what day I would be going out there right after I applied since I had already been in contact with the person interviewing me. One week before the interview, which was 6 weeks after initial contact, I spoke with the hiring manager on the phone and submitted an abstract/biosketch for my interviewee presentation. I flew out the day before the interview and had dinner with the staff member that night. I was very comfortable the whole time, and we had great conversation about my work, work I would be doing, work he had done, Sandia in general, etc. In the morning, I was picked up and taken to get a badge; you are escorted the whole time since you do not have clearance yet. My day consisted of: chatting with the staff member I would be working with and touring the lab plus meeting the staff in that lab (~1.5 hr), a 45 minute presentation + 15 min questions, lunch with 4 staff members, 8 1:1 interviews (30-45 min each), and dinner with 2 staff members I would be working with plus the hiring manager. The presentation should be pretty average in difficulty if you are prepared for technical questions directly related to your work and also questions that make you think about where your research could be applied at Sandia. The 1:1 interviews were roughly half about the interviewer's research and half about you, and most people have already heard about your research at the presentation. I really enjoyed hearing about all of the different things people have done and the ways in which I would be able to collaborate with them. It seems like each interviewer is selected for a reason, which I enjoyed. The staff cannot offer you the position until after everyone you met with files official paperwork, which can take some time. References will be called (professional and personal) early on in this process, too. It took just under two weeks to find out that things were moving in the forward directly; note this was because of the Thanksgiving holiday and people being out of town. I received the verbal offer just under 4 weeks after the interview, and I was actually moved up in the queque of people to be contacted by HR. They are currently trying to hire a bunch of folks, and HR is very busy. Just be patient. Also, I knew the offer was on the way two weeks prior, which made waiting for the official verbal offer much more bearable. The papers to be signed came 4 weeks after the interview (12 weeks after initial contact) and just a few days after I received the verbal offer. The offer package was nicely organized, too. If you do accept the offer, you still have some hoops to jump through before you qualify to hire (DOE clearance, drug test, etc.). Overall, I thought the people were great, and I thought the research was very interesting and challenging. It was also nice knowing what the exact position I would be hired for was and who I would be working with. (Some places do not do this!!!) My best advice would be to be yourself. If you think about it, you do not want to be hired for a job that does not fit you, and you will not be happy taking one that does not fit you. So, just be yourself. And... Ask good questions! Everyone is willing to help you out and answer your questions. Take advantage of that! [I realize this is long, but I hope it was helpful.]

Interview Questions

  • What would you do with 1 million dollars? [regarding furthering your research]   View Answer
  • Be prepared for technical questions about your research during the presentation.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Postdoctoral appointees have a set salary.


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Postdoctoral Appointee Interview

Postdoctoral Appointee
Albuquerque, NM

I applied through an employee referral and the process took a day - interviewed at Sandia in January 2008.

Interview Details – Sent application after discussing potential for post doc position with staff scientist. Staff scientist submitted the position to HR, and I applied for the position online when it showed up. There was some background check paperwork to fill out. I accepted the offer to come out and interview. It consisted of a sit down with HR to talk about benefits and requirements. Then a presentation to scientists in the department, and then 1:1 interviews with various scientists in the department and lab tours, as usual. I went to lunch with some researchers and then to dinner with the staff scientist offering the position.

Interview Question – Only question that took me off guard was "If you had money to run whatever research program you wanted, what would you study?"   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Standard offer, controlled by corporation.

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