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Sandia Postdoctoral Appointee Interview Questions

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Postdoctoral Appointee Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Anonymous Interview Candidate
Application Details

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

Interview Details

I applied online and was asked to interview in person a few months after submitting my cv online. So I recommend applying early. For a postdoctoral position or anyone with an advanced degree giving a talk on your research is expected.

Interview Questions
  • The interview was just following my seminar which included technical questions first, and then more general questions about your general approach to problem solving and working in teams/individually.   Answer Question
Accepted Offer

Other Interview Reviews for Sandia

  1. 4 people found this helpful  

    Postdoctoral Appointee Interview

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

    I applied through other source. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed 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
  2. 5 people found this helpful  

    Postdoctoral Appointee Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Livermore, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Livermore, CA
    Application Details

    The process took a dayinterviewed at Sandia in March 2010.

    Interview Details

    Interviews: After applying to an advertised post and having a few phone conversations with my future group leader, I was invited for a site visit. Most candidates interview in a full day of 30-min one-on-one interviews with the hiring manager, staff in the hiring department, and staff and managers in other departments you'll be working with. I think the idea is for as many people as possible to provide their impressions of the candidate, the interest level of the candidate, and his/her fit with the group. You're interviewing with the technical staff you'll be working with, so the interviews were more conversational and focused on the technical work to be done on the job than your typical formal screening interview. The day includes lunch and dinner with staff, so be prepared for a long day! I've heard there is the option to break it up between 2 days, though.

    I found all the staff I met with to be open and honest about what they do and don't like about working at the lab, although you can pretty much guess what those things will be (government lab, so funding and research programs are at the mercy of congress, but you have a good work-life balance, etc).

    Job talk: Candidates also make a 45-min presentation to staff, including those who will be interviewing you. This is a good opportunity to persuade them that you can communicate a technical topic to an audience of technical people who may not be experts on your subject. It doesn't matter if it's different from the field you are interviewing for. I think the point is to show that you can assess a technical problem, propose a solution based on sound principles, and tell them what you found - and more importantly, what it means!

    Be aware that this is a national security lab and most positions involve various security screening. Ask your HR contact and the hiring manager to check into the security requirements for the specific position you're interviewing for. Do you need a security clearance (not everyone does)? Do you need to be a US citizen (not everyone does)? What if you have a dual nationality? It's their job to interpret the rules, after all!

    After: My future group leader and manager were up-front with their interest and keen to know my interest right away. They kept in contact with me all throughout the post-interview process of getting the offer through HR, checking references and education, etc.

    Interview Questions
    • One manager wanted to confirm that I would not have a problem with my work supporting the engineering of nuclear weapons.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    No negotiation possible for the postdoc position - the salary and benefits are same for all. Maybe staff candidates can negotiate within the pay bands.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  3.  

    Postdoctoral Appointee Interview

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

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took a dayinterviewed 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 Questions
    • 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.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
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  5.  

    Postdoctoral Appointee Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Sandia in October 2009.

    Interview Details

    I was contacted by the manager's assistant for an on site interview. The interview consisted of one on one interview, research presentation, panel interview, lab tour, and a complementary lunch.
    The people are nice, and the setting of presentation is informal. They didn't put a lot of pressure on me or asked tough question. However, the overall hiring process (including background check) took too much time. I waited about one month to know that I got an offered and then waited for another two and a half months to actually start the work.

    Interview Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

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