Research associate Interview Questions
research associate interview questions shared by candidates
Top Interview Questions
How do you influence people who do not report to you? How do you get them to do things even though they don't have to or want to? 2 Answersa) I've never actually had someone refuse to help me when asked, but b) I would try ahead of time to get to know them so that when I need to influence them or need to request assistance, they already have a basic level of comfort with me. I would answer this question by first stating that it is important to get to know how people are motivated on a personal level first. If they do not report to you then you might not have positional authority to ask them for a deliverable. At a company like Microsoft, I'm sure that there are jobs/roles that require people to get help/collaboration from people outside of their positional authority. To do this, you must first know what motivates a person and proactively make personal "deposits" to build some solid connections so that when you need to make a "withdraw" you have invested enough. Deposits can be made by taking an interest in someone, providing them with help when they need it, or maybe buying them lunch/drinks. |
Some of the tasks you'll be required to perform are routine and monotonous. How will you deal with such routine tasks? 2 AnswersMastering routine work allows me to complete tasks effectively in a high throughput manner. Hopefully, this will afford me with free time to learn and master more challenging techniques and better assist the team. Good answer! |
How do you manage your time effectively? 1 AnswerTo do lists, calendars, reminders, prioritizing daily, communicate with team. |
The professor quizzed me on several technical aspects of a journal paper I was a co-author of. Most of them were manageable. He asked me what exactly my contribution was in that paper and why I was not first author on it. 1 AnswerI replied that the project was industry-funded and because I was a student at the time the industry I was working for did not share enough proprietary details with me like they did with my advisor who was the first author on the paper. As a result it was easier and much faster for my advisor to write the paper up and add me on as a second author despite the fact that I did all the experimental work that was featured in it. The rest of the interview was excellent and the Professor collected my references and then e-mailed them separately for recommendations. In ~4 weeks time I was hired. |
What type of software do you know how to use? 1 AnswerFor research assistant jobs they want you to be able to use a statistical software package to manage data (STATA, R, SAS, SPSS, etc). Some projects use REDCap database. |
Market Researcher at McMaster-Carr was asked...
How would you go about doing research on a potential customer? 1 AnswerFind out what the core business is and the statistics surrounding the core. |
What experience have you had with Microsoft Office? 1 AnswerThey're looking for access, excel and word mostly. There is an IT department however so creating access programs isn't necessary as long as you know how to use it once a database is created. |
What research area are you interested in? 1 AnswerDon't be so specific that you could only see yourself working for one prof. Read up on the faculty, pick out several you like and then widen your answer to potentially include any of them. Read up on these subjects beforehand so you can ask some intelligent questions about the research projects and see if it is what you really want. Be sure to talk with the profs at recruitment weekend! |
Research Analyst at Aksia was asked...
If you had a machine that produced $100 dollars for life what would you be willing to pay for it today? 74 AnswersNo more than 100$ for 100$ for life Depends entirely on how fast the machine produces the bills. Current price will be determined by estimated future yield which isn't defined here. I would pay nothing for it. $100 dollars in a life? I can make that in one day... Show More Responses I would not pay anything. Only the Federal Reserve can legally produce $100 dollar bills. I would pay for everyone in my family to get a four year college degree and then their master's degree. I would cover the cost of books, supplies and dorm rooms or apartments near campus. I would buy a new car if they held a GPA over 2.00. I would buy them nice clothes and shoes so that they looked nice while attending class. I would also buy them a new coat to keep warm and an umbrella to keep the rain off of their heads. I would value education more than I can afford to do so now. I already have the machine, why would I pay for it?? Nothing, I already have it. absolutely nothing. $100 dollars for a life time is ridiculous What is "$100 dollars"? That reads as "one hundred dollars dollars." What's a dollar dollar? Is it double value? Say $100 or one hundred dollars; do not say both, in order to avoid being redundant. As much as I could lay my hands on. It could all be repaid instantly I would pay nothing for a machine that produced dollars at a cost of $100 each. What would you offer me to haul the machine away for you? Nothing. Fiat money is either rendered worthless by uncontrollable inflation, or $100 over a lifetime is not worth much. Firstly, if it made $100 for life, it wouldn't be worth anything. Secondly, if it's making money, it's illegal. Show More Responses 10 to 20 years is what I would have to pay for a machine like that, life is only for murder with special circumstances. Does such a machine exist? What? No? Then why are you asking this question ... MORON. No. Not worth it. Why is this considered a top 10 odd interview question? It's a basic accounting question that applies to any applicant at a financial institution. Let's assume the proper phrasing of the question is "If you had a machine that produced a free $100 dollars per year for life, what would you be willing to pay for it today?" Given that Aksia is a financial firm, they're basically asking what is the present value of a perpetuity with a $100 annual payment. PV=pmt/r where: PV=PResent value PMT= payment per period r= discount rate Given current US fed reserve discount rate is 0.75%, the Present value of such a device would be $13,333.33 Answer varies obviously if discount rate changes or if proper phrasing was meant to be $100 for a different time period. Nothing. According to the question, I already have it. I am assuming the question is stated incorrectly. It should read: "$100 per year for life". Let's say I expect to live another 50 years. Then in nominal terms, the machine produces $50,000. My time-preference rate is 4 percent per year and let's suppose that the Federal Reserve does a good job of keeping inflation in their target range and averages 2 percent. Then the total discount rate is 6 percent per year. In present-value terms, the machine produces $100 this year, $94.34 next year [e.g. $100/((1+r)^n) ], $89.00 in two years, etc, for a sum of $1,676.19. This is the present value of the machine and I would pay this much or less to own the machine. Now suppose that the machine actually produces real $100 dollars (so increases the amount according to inflation). In that case the discount rate is 4 percent and I would pay a maximum of $2,248.22. Obviously I'm using a calculator (Excel) to make these calculations, but the idea is the same. What are talking here? $100 per day? Week? Month? Only once in a lifetime? Oh, and does the IRS have to know about this? Be specific. Does it produce $100 every minute of your life or just once in your life? Will it produce enough for me to make bail and hire a lawyer after I'm arrested for counterfeiting? Press NPV button on calculator. 1) As many have stated, this is illegal. But putting that aside, 2) The way the question is presently phrased, technically "you" already have the machine so why would you pay anything? And also, there is a lack of clarity regarding the frequency of the machine's production of $100 - daily, weekly, monthly, etc? The output frequency changes the entire question (because if you only receive $100 once well why bother wasting x% of that $100 by paying for the machine itself?), 3) But assuming this machine provides $100 more than once, does it print a single $100 bill or 100 $1 bills (or other denominations)? Because based on that, what are the operating costs of this machine? How much does the paper cost? How much does the ink cost? How much does it cost to maintain this machine? The interviewer may or may not answer those questions depending on the interview style and format so I'd just go with "It's an illegal practice and I'd never do something so horrific and undermine the honest principles this country was founded upon!" :P Show More Responses Somebody has been watching too much Twilight Zone. Whoever formulated this question does not speak good English. The question has no real discernible meaning. They should be fired and a qualified person should be given the job. I will pay with a blank cheque; the seller puts whatever he/she wants; I just have to print it & deposit to my bank account. I assume I can print the $100 dollars unlimited number of times a day. I would tell the manufacturer that I can't pay for the machine now but I'm willing to pay them $1,000 per day for the rest of my life. That'll come up to just 10 pcs for them each day and I'll print another 100 pcs for myself each day. That'll be $10,000 for me everyday! Please define what $100 dollars is. Is it $100 or 100 dollars? USD? When does it produce this undefined amount? For my life or its? What are its operating and disposal costs? Is that in $ dollars also? Where do you spend $ dollars? There is nothing to base an answer on. Life is worth more than a hundred dollars! If I already have it, to whom would I pay anything and why? Silliness aside, you would need to know at least: Payment frequency Your life expectancy Some discount yield (subjective or otherwise) Then it's a matter of PV annuity, or PV perpetuity (if you are allowed to pass on payments after death) It produces $100 for each life it takes? Probably evil, would avoid. Show More Responses I already have it so I don't need to pay for it. But if I didn't have it and had to buy its details as mentioned above need to be answered such as $100 a day month year number of times u can take it out. But you are basically putting your own money into a machine to give it back to you when you need it, sort of like an atm Nothing, I already have it! The wording makes no sense. Saving money by using a hybrid car, LED bulbs, efficient appliances and HVAC, or solar is easier to calculate and pays way more than, $100 a year. With that 100$, i will buy another such machine. Now i have 2 machines, each of them generates 100$, which is 200$. With these 200$, i will buy another 2 such machines, now i have 4 machines. I will buy another 4 machines, with 400$, so on.. I will multiply so on, until i have enough money to solve everyone's problems of their lifetime !!! I would use it to buy a truckload of English usage manuals and distribute them to people who insist on uninformed mash-ups like "$100 dollars". Are they anything like "ATM machines" or "square acres"? Charity I'd be really worried that if it put out $100 on the first day, I'd be dead the next day. Show More Responses Honestly most people here haven't truly read the question. If I already had a machine that would make $100 bills for the rest of my life, why would I have to pay any money at all to get it? The majority of ppl answering this question, haven't even comprehended the question properly. Seriously. I would pay $6,500 for it. I plan to live to about 85 so I'd set up a payment plan and pay it off with the machine 1 hundred every year i will not pay anything. $100 is the least I could get for free $100. That's all it's worth if it pays that for life. In the first place this is a trick question. It wasn't stated that the machine would produce 100 dollar bills. It stated 100 dollars for life. In the second place it would be counterfeiting so possession of this machine could get you a prison sentence, and no amount of money is worth loosing years of your life. I've noticed most of these questions are trick questions like how many people flew people don't fly plane's and birds do. One dollar. Why? Because I know a value when I see one. My deal, my value. Secure that one and you have it made. Show More Responses Anything less than 100$ I'd want at least a 500% profit so $20 at most. I'd pay someone to stop coming up with these stupid questions. Makes me not want to work for anyone. No wonder so many jobs go unfilled. Who wants to work with or for people that start off our first meeting with stupid head games. Chances are that all the job involves is pushing buttons, referring to manuals, taking calls, reading emails and forwarding and escalating issues to other employees. If I wanted to solve riddles, I'd apply to the Riddle Factory where such questions would be relevant. $100USD Dollars for life Well, if I had the machine, as the question indicates, then I would not have to pay for it if I already owned the machine, which the beginning of the questions indicates. I'd leave the interview with a company that produces such an incredibly poorly-worded question. "$100 dollars?" So "one hundred dollars dollars?" Ok. Also, it doesn't specify any sort of rate at which it produces money. It doesn't say if it produces $100 per day, nor does it say if it produces X amount of dollars per day until it reaches $100 in a lifetime. As it is written, this question makes no sense, and the writer of it should be ashamed. I wouldn't pay anything for it today, or the day I got it. What are "dollars for life" anyway? And why do they cost $100? I want to earn money from my work not from machine Who is life, and why would I want to pay for his/her machine? I would pay up to $50 for it. Make 60,70,80 or $90 then sell it for $50+ Show More Responses Why would I pay for something that I already have? I would ask first the frequency of distribution, if that's daily/weekly/monthly etc. I would say that I have a policy of never buying something without testing it first and then when I was stood in front of the machine I would say how much do you want for it? Money is no object! :) I would first ask how easy is it to reproduce the machine. If it is less than $100 to reproduce the machine, I would just recreate as many machines as possible and earn the difference. Then I will do some math to calculate the optimized price to pay for a desired annual income. And maybe in the future, invest some of the income to reduce production cost, reuse of old machines, etc. I think the question has probably been misquoted . Probably meant "How much would you pay for a machine giving you $100 per year for the rest of your life ". Its basically a PV of future cashflows ; simply if into perpetuity : = coupon / discount rate. The coupon being the $100 . The Discount rate is the rate of the prevailing interest rate - usually take the yield of 30 yr UST here (say 3% for arguments sake) and add in a bit more if you fell there is any risk in holding the machine. (like some fool with a loaded gun trying to steal it of you) ie 100/ 0.03 = $3,333 . This will be the maximum one should pay. I'll pay for another machine which produce money in such an easy way for sure. Nothing. It clearly is a scam Learn to write a coherent question and then get back to me. Show More Responses 1) why would I pay for a machine I already own 2) $100 for life is just a one time payment of $100 One or more comments have been removed. |
3) Poker. 26 red, 26 black. Take one every time, you can choose to guess whether it’s red. You have only one chance. If you are right, you get 1 dollar. What’s the strategy? And what’s the expected earn? 13 Answersexpected earn is 25 cents. 1/2*1/2*1, prob of choosing to guess is 1/2, prob of guessing right is 1/2, and the pay is $1 I would start picking cards without making a decision to reduce the sample size. This is risky because I could just as easily reduce my chances of selecting red by taking more red cards to start, as I could increase my chances of selecting red by picking more black cards first. But I like my chances with 52 cards, that at some point, I will at least get back to 50% if I start off by picking red. Ultimately, I can keep picking cards until there is only 1 red left. But I obviously wouldn't want to find myself in that situation so I would do my best to avoid it, by making a decision earlier rather than later. Best case scenario, I pick more blacks out of the deck right off the bat. My strategy would be to first pick 3 cards without making a decision. If I start off by selecting more than 1 red, and thus the probability of guessing red correctly is below 50%, then I will look to make a decision once I get back to the 50% mark. (The risk here is that I never get back to 50%) However, if I pick more than 1 black card, then I will continue to pick cards without making a choice until I reach 51% - ultimately hoping that I get down to a much smaller sample size, and variance is reduced, while odds are in my favor that I choose correctly. The expected return, in my opinion, all depends on "when" you decide to guess. If you decide to guess when there is a 50% chance of selecting correctly, then your expected return is 50 cents (50% correct wins you $1 ; 50% incorrect wins $0 --- 0.5 + 0 = .5) If you decide to guess when there is a 51% chance of selecting red correctly, then the expected return adjusts to (0.51* $1) + (0.49 * $0) = 51 cents. So, in other words, your expected return would be a direct function of the percentage probability of selecting correctly. i.e. 50% = 50 cents, 51% = 51 cents, 75% equals 75 cents. Thoughts? There is symmetry between red and black. Each time you pull a card it is equally likely to be red or black (assuming you haven't looked at the previous cards you pulled). Thus no matter when you guess you odds are 50% and the expected return should be 50 cents. Show More Responses scheme: guess when the first one is black, p(guess) x p(right) x 1=1/2 x 26/51=13/51 0.5, just turn the first card to see if it's red. I think it's more about trading psychology. If you don't know where the price is going, just get out of the market asap. Don't expect anything. The problem should be random draw card and dont put it back. Every draw you have one chance to guess. So the strategy is after first draw you random guess it's red. If correct you get one dollar, next draw you know there is less red than black. So you guess black on next draw. Else if first guess you are wrong, you guess red on next round. It's all about conditioning on the information you know from the previous drawings This should be similar to the brainteaser about "picking an optimal place in the queue; if you are the first person whose birthday is the same as anyone in front of you, you win a free ticket." So in this case we want to find n such that the probability P(first n cards are black)*P(n+1th card is red | first n cards are black) is maximized, and call the n+1th card? The problem statement is not very clear. What I understand is: you take one card at a time, you can choose to guess, or you can look at it. If you guess, then if it's red, you gain $1. And whatever the result, after the guess, game over. The answer is then $0.5, and under whatever strategy you use. Suppose there is x red y black, if you guess, your chance of winning is x/(x+y). If you don't, and look at the card, and flip the next one, your chance of winning is x/(x+y)*(x-1)/(x+y-1) + y/(x+y)*x/(x+y-1) = x/(x+y), which is the same. A rigorous proof should obviously done by induction and start from x,y=0,1. The answer above is not 100% correct, for second scenario, if you don't guess, and only look, the total probability of getting red is indeed the same. However, the fact that you look at the card means you know if the probability of getting red is x/(x+y)*(x-1)/(x+y-1) or y/(x+y)*x/(x+y-1). Therefore, this argument only holds if you don't get to look at the card, or have any knowledge of what card you passed Doesn't matter what strategy you use. The probability is 1/2. It's a consequence of the Optional Stopping Theorem. The percent of cards that are left in the deck at each time is a martingale. Choosing when to stop and guess red is a stopping time. The expected value of a martingale at a stopping time is equal to the initial value, which is 1/2. My strategy was to always pick that colour, which has been taken less time during the previous picks. Naturally, that colour has a higher probability, because there are more still in the deck. In the model, n = the number of cards which has already been chosen, k = the number of black cards out of n, and m = min(k, n-k) i.e. the number of black cards out of n, if less black cards have been taken and the number of red cards out n if red cards have been taken less times. After n takes, we can face n+1 different situations, i.e. k = 0,1,2, ..., n. To calculate the expected value of the whole game we are interested in the probability that we face the given situation which can be computed with combination and the probability of winning the next pick. Every situation has the probability (n over m)/2^n, since every outcome can happen in (n over m) ways, and the number of all of the possible outcomes is 2^n. Then in that given situation the probability of winning is (26-m)/(52-n), because there are 26-m cards of the chosen colour in the deck which has 52-n cards in it. So combining them [(n over m)/2^n]*[(26-m)/(52-n)]. Then we have to sum over k from 0 to n, and then sum again over n from 0 to 51. (After the 52. pick we don't have to choose therefore we only sum to 51) I hope it's not that messy without proper math signs. After all, this is a bit too much of computation, so I wrote it quickly in Python and got 37.2856419726 which is a significant improvement compared to a basic strategy when you always choose the same colour. dynamic programming, let E(R,B) means the expected gain for R red and B blue remain, and the strategy will be guess whichever is more in the rest. E(0,B)=B for all Bs, E(R,0)=R for all Rs. E(R,B)=[max(R,B)+R*E(R-1,B)+B*E(R,B-1)]/(R+B). I don't know how to estimate E(26,26) quickly. The question, to me, is not clear. Perhaps on purpose. If so, the best answers would involve asking for clarification. |
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