I worked at HRL full-time (More than a year)
Depending on your lab and what projects are available you could either be publishing novel research or programming exotic devices. There's no ping pong tables but checking the surf from your office window more than makes up for it.
Lots of meetings kill productivity.
Advice to Management
Give the engineers a bit more autonomy and purpose and you'll get more results.
I applied in-person. The process took a week. I interviewed at HRL (Malibu, CA) in July 2016.
Phone interview where they went over my resume and asked in-depth questions about one bit of project experience that was data acquisition with MATLAB. Went in for the on-site and got a tour of the facility, as well as met a bunch of engineers in the group. It was very easy overall and the people there were incredibly nice.
Let us know if we're missing any workplace or industry recognition –