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Sandia Senior Member of Technical Staff Interview Questions

Updated Dec 13, 2014
Updated Dec 13, 2014
8 Interview Reviews

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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 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

Other Interview Reviews for Sandia

  1.  

    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
  2.  

    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
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Senior Member of Technical Staff Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2 daysinterviewed at Sandia.

    Interview Details

    Just like any high level scientific position. You give a talk about past work. A talk about future plans. And then meet with ~10-15 current staff scientists to discuss both their endeavors and your plans.

    Interview Questions
    Negotiation Details
    I asked for a sign on bonus and got one added.
    Accepted Offer
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  5.  

    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 8+ monthsinterviewed at Sandia in February 2013.

    Interview Details

    It takes forever. HR briefing. Multiple interviews with technical staff. A "technical" presentation. Why do yo have a 50 word min Glassdoor?! bla bla bla bla bla bla

    Negotiation Details
    Painfully slow.
    Accepted Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Senior Member of Technical Staff Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through other source. The process took 3 daysinterviewed at Sandia.

    Interview Details

    Was an intern here so interview was mainly a formality. HR did their usual speech about what a wonderful place to work it is, but couldn't be helpful beyond that. Their moving package is handled by a third party contractor who has horrible web security, my personally identifiable information (SSN etc) was exposed by them which led to identity theft. The moving contractor employee I worked with went on vacation and never came back.

    Interview Questions
    • What was your worst course in college?   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    No negotiation allowed. HR will low ball you and it's up to the hiring manager to reject it before he makes the offer to you, once your get the offer there is no negotiation allowed even if you have multiple offers. I had competing offers from LLNL and LANL and SNL wouldn't negotiate even though LANL's was higher.
    Accepted Offer
  7. 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 through a recruiter. The process took 10+ monthsinterviewed at Sandia.

    Interview Details

    First off your education accomplishments are highly regarded at Sandia. Even if you have many years of experience your grades will matter when you are hired. You also have to pass a very extensive background check which actually requires investigators to personally contact people you know. I was given a tour of the facility and shown several impressive technical achievements designed and built at Sandia. Then I was interviewed by 4 different managers to see where I fit best.

    Interview Questions
    • There were some very personal questions that I didn't expect. Technically the interview process was quite benign.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    I tried to negotiate but was turned down.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
  8. 4 people found this helpful  

    Senior Member of Technical Staff Interview

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

    I applied online. The process took 5 daysinterviewed at Sandia in April 2011.

    Interview Details

    Applied online, was contacted by the hiring manager to schedule a phone interview. Phone interview was fairly brief, mostly looking at the fit between my experience at the position. After that, was contacted by HR to schedule on-site interview. They paid for the flight, the hotel room, and the car rental (nothing out of pocket except meals/taxi to airport from home which were reimbursed). After getting to California, drove myself to the hotel, had dinner with some of the staff members that evening. Seemed like a very congenial crowd. Next day started at 7:30am, drove to the lab, was badged in under 20 minutes, and then went to HR. Very informal HR interview, mostly telling me about the benefits I would receive if hired. Some behavioral interview questions but very easy.

    Technical part of the interview started next. Was met by my prospective boss's secretary and followed him in my car back to the lab. They had to escort me everywhere as I did not have security clearance. I had sent them my presentation beforehand (personal computers not allowed) and it was setup for me in a smallish conference room. About 8 people attended the seminar. Some general interest questions followed. No one asked any malicious questions, but one person did have to show off how much she knew while asking hers.

    After the seminar, there were a series of 1:1 interviews and a panel interview over lunch. Maybe it wasn't supposed to be a panel interview but it certainly felt like it. I was brought to each person's office and spent 25 minutes talking. The people I talked to represented a variety of levels and careers -- some mid-level managers, some technical peers, some technical direct reports. These interviews lasted roughly five hours. At the end, there was one more dinner with a small group of people (who I would work with closely). Overall, a very standard interview experience.

    Interview Questions
    • For an experimental mechanical engineering position, I did not expect to be asked chemical engineering computational questions. "Speaking generally, how would you model reactor flow in this case? How do you justify the boundary conditions you chose? At this arbitrary point, can you derive the governing equations?"   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    No negotiation allowed by HR
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

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