Urban Institute Interview Questions

Updated Jul 12, 2015
9 Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Research Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Interview

    Applied online, took about a month for them to get back to me. Phone screen was relatively straight forward, mostly asked about resume with a few behavioral questions. One question I remember in particular was to describe how I manage multiple projects at once. Following the phone screen I got asked to resubmit my resume and a writing sample, then to take a brief writing test. The test was not anything too difficult, just analyze and write about a simple bar graph. Following the writing test I was asked to come in for an in person interview. The interview was first with an HR person who asked specifics about my resume and gave me information about the company. Following the HR interview I went to lunch with a person in the position I applied for. I was told that it did not count as part of the interview. After that was a committee interview with people representing the different levels of researchers and then lastly an interview with the center manager. Most of the interviewers asked variations of the same questions, I figured that they were all going to meet and compare answers later. I was told that they would make a decision in the next week or so, but I never ended up hearing back.

    Interview Questions

  2.  

    Research Associate I Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer

    Interview

    Spoke with two members of staff for an initial informal telephone interview who asked probing questions about my academic qualifications, previous research experience, and my quantitative skills as well as my history of supervising research.

    Interview Questions

    • There were no difficult or unexpected questions during this initial formal interview.   1 Answer

    Negotiation

    I accepted a formal interview so there was no negotiation at this phase of the interview process.

  3. Helpful (5)  

    Research Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3+ months. I interviewed at Urban Institute (Washington, DC) in December 2013.

    Interview

    I applied online and was contacted about three weeks later asking for additional information specific to the role. Another few weeks passed, and I was eventually asked to have a 30 minute phone interview. The interview was pretty average in difficulty. Most questions were specific to the role with some behavioral questions mixed in. A month after the phone interview I was invited to an in-person interview. Prior to the interview I had to submit my academic transcript and writing sample. I had four 30-minute interviews with various departments. The questions weren't too difficult but one of the interviews was not very successful since it was conducted by fairly young employees with poor interviewing skills. I thought my interviews were pretty successful and I was looking forward to hearing back about the position. Three weeks went by with no response. I even emailed my HR contact requesting an update about my application. I never received a response. The entire process took over three months and required me to dedicate several hours to submit the necessary application materials and to be interviewed. I thought I at least deserved a courtesy email especially since I reached out to the HR contact. I found their hiring process very slow and unprofessional. I will not be applying to Urban Institute in the future, even after I receive my masters degree. There are more respectful urban research organizations.

    Interview Questions

    • During one of the interviews I was asked about the particulars of a dataset that I worked on three years ago.   Answer Question
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  5.  

    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Urban Institute.

    Interview

    After an initial phone screening in which they went over my resume, I was called in for a final interview. The interview was five hours long and included meeting 6 different researchers at various levels (from senior researchers to others who just joined). The questions were fair and mostly behavioral.

    Interview Questions

  6.  

    Research Associate II Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Urban Institute (Washington, DC).

    Interview

    Starts with a phone interview then to an actual on site interview. Interview consisted of meeting with a number of people with the same position as research assistants and meetings with an HR rep and a senior level associate.

    Interview Questions

    • Writing test. They give you a 45 min writing test where you are to analyze data and then address the potential policy implications of the data   Answer Question
  7.  

    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Urban Institute.

    Interview

    I was scheduled for an interview which was a 5 step process beginning with a 45 minute writing test that asked you to analyze and discuss implications of research data presented in a graph (advice: be prepared for this, perhaps time yourself writing on important issues in the area you are interviewing for ahead of time). Next I was interviewed by a panel of junior staff (3), followed by Senior staff (3), followed by lunch with a staff member (not evaluated), followed by an interview with the director and finally the HR manager. Unfortunately they took about a month, after several email exchanges with HR, to confirm that they had selected someone else for the position.

    Interview Questions

    • Not too many extremely difficult questions. Mostly they consisted of basic behavioral interview questions requesting specific examples of how and when you preformed tasks similar to the job description.   Answer Question
  8. Helpful (1)  

    Research Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Urban Institute in February 2012.

    Interview

    I received an email from an HR employee asking if I was still interested in the position about 4 months after I had applied on their website. They told me to submit a transcript, writing sample, and cover letter for review. I did an in-person interview which took about half a day and involved separate interviews that were 30 minutes each. They said that the people who were chosen to interview me were the people I would be working with if I was hired. I first interviewed with a human resources employee who asked me questions like what did I know about their company as well as some individual questions about my background. I then had to take a 45 minute writing test which involved looking at a graph and writing about policy implications. They told me that the reason for the writing test is because they have hired people in the past who weren't able to do the work. There was a lunch interview after that which I was told was not scored, followed by two more 30 minute panel interviews after that, and then a final interview with the director. Most of the questions were basic entry level questions and there were some about hypothetical situations and how you would handle them. In the interviews I learned that the majority of time in the position you would be working independently. The director indicated that the position had high turnover and RAs usually work for a few years before leaving for graduate school or another job. At the end the director just said they had multiple openings and were still doing interviews, so it seemed like they were not interested. I felt they had very high standards for who they wanted to hire. I ended up never hearing back from them.

    Interview Questions

    • What do you personally do in your free time to manage stress and pressure?   Answer Question
  9.  

    Research Associate II Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1+ week. I interviewed at Urban Institute (Washington, DC) in March 2010.

    Interview

    They ask a lot of questions to understand your analytical aptitude and to see how well you can apply what you've learned into your previous job(s). The better you can show that your past career will help you with the position you are applying to, the more interested they are in you.

    Interview Questions

    • They were all similar. They tested your analytical skills by asking very different questions to think if you can think dynamically.   Answer Question
  10. Helpful (2)  

    Research Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Urban Institute in January 2012.

    Interview

    I Interviewed with a group of research assistants and a group of senior associates in the office. The interview cycle took about half a day. The interview questions were the standard behavioral questions. The interview with the research assistants (peers) was very laid back while the one with senior associates was more like a normal interview. Everyone was very warm, welcoming, and intelligent.

    Interview Questions

    • How do you manage multiple projects with competing deadlines?   Answer Question
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