Think Tank Interview Questions

My post "How to Apply to a Think Tank Job" reviews some dos and don'ts for think tank applications. In this post, I lay out some of my common interview questions. These are fairly common with other hiring managers, so applicants should prepare for these questions.


  1. Tell me about yourself, your background, experience on defense issues, and why you're interested in this position.
  2. Tell me about this project (from your portfolio).
  3. What do you do for fun? (Closing question)


  1. Tell me about a research project you're particularly proud of. What research question did you ask, what methods did you employ, and what was the result?
  2. What could you have done to improve the project?
  3. Tell me about a time you've worked with a team on a major project.
  4. What is your favorite kind of research? Who do you admire in your/our field of study, and why?


  1. Tell me about your management and administrative experience. Have you managed large budgets?

MDP-specific Quiz Questions

  1. What countries have nuclear weapons?  
  2. What is the nuclear triad?
  3. Can you name a missile defense system?