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NASA Interview
Questions

29 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns
Updated June 15th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Companies     Engineering     Aerospace And Defense    

Question 1 of 29

How do you manage your time?

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Answer Examples

1.

How do you manage your time?

What tools do you use to stay on task and meet deadlines? How do you prioritize when everything demands your attention at once? Think about the ways you manage your projects and daily tasks. Do you keep a calendar? Do you set reminders? Sometimes a to-do list is helpful when organizing your time because it can help you prioritize what needs to happen next. Paying attention to which tasks require the most time and which ones bring the most value are ways you can pick and choose what needs to happen in your schedule. What are some ways you have found work best for you to manage your time at work?

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I will determine which project requires my attention by the number of hours we are behind and then the project size. I am comfortable delegating tasks when needed, but I am also aware that these times will require an additional commitment of hours from me. Never have I under delivered on a deadline."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Time management has been something that I have worked on improving since my time in University. I set goals for myself and attached a time deadline for those goals. Also, I am diligent with the use of my calendar and have a great scheduling app on my phone that I refer to as well."

2.

Rate your communication skills from 1-10 with proper examples backing your given rating.

NASA will require you to have exceptional communication skills. On a scale of 1-10, how skilled are you in communication? Why did you choose that particular rating for yourself?

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I rate my communication skills as a 9/10 as I will, on occasion, have times when I am not as clear as I would like to be. My supervisor and co-workers will attest to my clear and concise communication skills. Because I am an open leader, my team will let me know if I need to clarify anything."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I believe there is always room to improve communication skills so for that reason I will rate myself as an 8/10. I have not received any complaints related to my communication abilities and am quite proud of my oral and written communication skills."

Anonymous Answer

"I'd rate myself a 9. I've had a few of my reports say I'm the best manager they've ever had, but I don't ever believe that I'm a 10, because there is always something to learn."

Rachelle's Answer

You are right - there is always more to learn! It would be great if you could expand on why your reports say that you are the best manager they have ever had.

Was this answer helpful? Yes (2) or No (0)

3.

Would you say you focus more on reasons why change will not work rather than adapting to new changes?

Changes will occur on an hourly basis when you work for an organization as huge and technical as NASA. When a change occurs in the workplace do you view it positively or do you resist the change? Talk to the interviewer about how you adapt to change.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"When a change occurs I initially try to balance the pros and the cons before reacting. Overall I would say that I prefer to focus on why the changes will work. I am a positive person by nature."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Some changes can be tougher to accept immediately than others. Once I understand the motivation or the goal behind the change, I can easily adapt."

4.

How do you define success?

NASA is an incredibly successful organization, and they know that success breeds success. What does success mean to you? Tell the interviewer how you see progress and be sure to tie your answer into the success that you plan to bring to this particular position, should you be offered the role.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I define success by my ability to reach the goals that are set out for me. On a personal level, the things I wish to achieve in my life. On a work level, the targets that are set out for me as well as the professional development that I seek."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Success is the completion of any task you set out to do or any goal that you set for yourself. Success receives interpretation in many different ways but I know I have been successful when I feel that relief and contentment only accomplishment can bring."

5.

Looking at your resume, it seems there are particular skills necessary for this position that do not stand out. How do you think you will be able to compensate for these missing skills?

Most job descriptions will have a long list of requirements. Hiring managers are aware that, to find a candidate that checks ALL of the boxes, can sometimes be impossible. If you are missing some of the 'nice to have' or even the 'must have' skills listed in the job description, do not fret! Be open about your shortcomings and discuss with the interviewer how you plan to compensate for those.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I realize that I may not check off all of the boxes for this position; however, I can assure you that I am a rapid learner. The main experience I am missing is in X-Ray Astrophysics, but I am very well versed in aerospace engineering. I think that I can pick up the required knowledge quickly."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I would be happy to clarify my experience in any skills. Could you tell me which skills you feel I am missing for this position?" (Once the interviewer responds, you can overcome that objection by better highlighting that specific experience, or discussing a related skill that you DO have.)"

6.

Have you progressed in your career as you have expected?

Career progression can be a touchy subject, especially if you feel that your career hasn't progressed as well as you would have liked. Talk to the interviewer about your career progression and what you would like to see in the future. When you work for an organization like NASA, there will be no limit to where you can go!

Rachelle's Answer #1

"Overall, my career has progressed a touch slower than I would have liked. I have held a couple of positions that didn't offer the growth and learning that I was expecting; however, I have bounced back nicely. I feel that this particular position would take my career exactly where it should be."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Yes, I am happy with my career progression. I have always been the type to set out a detailed plan for myself and take the required action steps to get there. This engineerng position with NASA is most definitely in line with my expected career progression."

7.

Many of our industry competitors have their employees under a non-compete contract. Are you bound by any non-compete contract with your current employer?

The interviewer would like to avoid any hurdles during the offer and negotiations stage that would prevent you from being successfully on-boarded. If NASA is a direct competitor to your current or most recent employer, then you should carefully review your employment contract to ensure nothing is hindering you. Be prepared to present the agreement in your late stage interview.

If you are under a non-compete contract: "I am under a non-compete contract with Company ABC; however, it specifically states that I cannot share any trade secrets or recruit any of their current employees. There is nothing in the contract hindering me from joining NASA."

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I am under a non-compete contract with Company ABC; however, it specifically states that I cannot share any trade secrets or recruit any of their current employees. There is nothing in the contract hindering me from joining NASA."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"If you are not under a non-compete contract: "I am free to sign any offer letter that comes my way as there is no such contract with my current employer."

8.

Our goal is to be the top rated organization in aerospace. After researching NASA, what do you think we could improve on?

If the interviewer at NASA asks for your feedback on what they could improve on it is best to keep your answer positive and light. Be sure to start, and finish, your suggestion with a compliment on what they are doing right.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I have conducted a great deal of research on NASA before meeting you today. I like your branding, and your online presence is strong. If I could make a suggestion, it would be to have a confirmation email sent to all online job applicants. I found the career site a bit difficult to navigate and was not sure that my initial application went through successfully. Luckily, the NASA HR department was amazing, and they called me just a few days later for a pre-screen interview."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"If you could improve on anything, I would recommend updating the website a bit more frequently and adding an easier access blog for aerospace enthusiasts. Aerospace and defense is a popular topic for research, and you could gain many website visitors by putting a greater emphasis on your online content."

9.

Are you actively interviewing with other companies, and are you close to offer stage with anyone?

The interviewer is looking for answers to a few points when asking this question.

1. The company wants to know what kind of timeline is present before you are scooped up by another organization.
2. They want to know how discerning you are with your job applications.
3. They want to know the types of roles that interest you.
4. They want to hear that they are your top choice.

You can certainly discuss your search but avoid giving too many details. Give the interviewer enough to satisfy the question without revealing your entire search. Some mystery is okay here.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I recently started my search and had found some interesting job postings related to my degree; however, this role in the Mission Systems Engineering department is the position I am most enthusiastic about."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"If you are not interviewing: "I just started my search, so I am not in final interviews with any other company. I am aggressively seeking; however."

10.

Do you believe it is possible to be a good team member yet disagree with the leader?

The interviewer wants to know that you can be diplomatic in the workplace, even when you may not agree with your leader.

Show the interviewer that it is possible for you to be a good team member, yet disagree with the leader from time to time. Explain that you believe everyone is entitled to their own professional opinion, yet capable of maintaining respect for each other at the same time.

Show that even if you disagree with the final decision they make, you support the direction the team is heading.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I think that it is possible to be a great team member, even when disagreeing with the leader. It's all in how you maintain respect for each other despite the difference in opinion."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Yes, I think it is possible! What makes a great team member is not that they agree with everything but the level of respect and positive thought that goes into the person's communication style. It's okay to disagree; however, you have to communicate your thoughts professionally."

11.

Looking at your resume, I see multiple gaps between employments, what were you doing during those gaps?

There are many reasons for having a gap in your resume, and it's best, to be honest about the intentions.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I had a gap from 2009-2010 while I was on maternity leave and then another for six months in 2015 while I cared for an ailing parent. During that time I was vigilant in keeping up to date on the market so that my knowledge did not become redundant."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"If your employment gap is due to illness: "I took a medical hiatus between 2008 and 2008 under doctor's orders. I am fully recovered and have had zero health concerns since."

12.

What is your current salary?

NASA may base their offer on your current salary; however, they are known for offering generous compensation. You should be transparent about your most recent earnings and be prepared to back up any salary requests.

If you are currently employed: "I am currently earning a base salary of $78,000, plus a car allowance of $900/month, and health benefits. I am looking for a competitive salary in my next position."

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I am currently earning a base salary of $78,000, plus a car allowance of $900/month, and health benefits. I am looking for a competitive salary in my next position."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"If you are currently unemployed: "My most recent position paid me a base salary of $45,000 plus overtime and health benefits. I am looking for a competitive salary in my next position."

13.

How often do you think of innovations that will improve your work performance?

NASA is arguably one of the most innovative organizations on the planet. They want candidates who are creative thinkers. Coming up with ideas to increase productivity, efficiency and save time and energy is a great way to make an impact on your coworkers and the company.

Having the ability to see problems as opportunities is a skill that can make you an essential asset to a company. Think of a time you had a chance to make a difference by making a change in a process or procedure.

Rachelle's Answer #1

" I would say that at least once a month I have an idea, big or small, that I present to my manager. My most recent innovation was (give a detailed example)."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I am always thinking of new ways to increase productivity and improve the methods I use to complete my work."

14.

Your workload will be large at NASA. How do you balance life and work?

It is essential to keep a healthy work/life balance to prevent burnout. Talk to the interviewer about how you can maintain that appropriate balance for yourself.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I find that with the right company, it's pretty simple to balance life and work. When I enjoy what I do, it doesn't feel like a chore. I am always sure that when at home, my family gets my attention first. I take time on the weekends to do things for myself and ensure that I regenerate before the work week begins. I appreciate that you have programs in place to ensure a balance for your employees, as well."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Not every day will be balanced, and I understand that. I find that I can achieve a great work/life balance most days when I take some time to do something for myself. Whether that be a quick workout, or cooking a delicious meal when I get home."

15.

How have you demonstrated leadership ability when you were not in a leadership role?

This question challenges you to think about how you act as a leader in your daily life. Even if you're not leading a team, you can still demonstrate the qualities of a leader! You can give an example of how you coached a coworker who was having difficulty preparing for a big presentation. Maybe you gave them confidence in their strengths by encouraging them, or perhaps you offered some helpful hints. You can be a motivator and a confident communicator in any situation at work! Share how you have positively influenced others through actions you've taken to support and motivate others at work.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I demonstrate leadership qualities every chance that I get! I believe that everyone can be a great leader if given the right environment and opportunity. I appreciate that NASA invests in their employees by giving leadership opportunities whenever they are available."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I naturally take on a leader and mentor-ship type of role with my co-workers. In one instance, I had a new coworker who was having some troubles fitting in. I took her out for lunch and talked to her a bit about the workplace culture and semantics surrounding the various departments. I wanted her to stay and enjoy her employment with us, so I took the responsibility of ensuring she was settling in well. I believe there are always opportunities for leadership - you have to keep your eyes open."

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29 NASA Interview Questions
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Interview Questions

  1. How do you manage your time?
  2. Rate your communication skills from 1-10 with proper examples backing your given rating.
  3. Would you say you focus more on reasons why change will not work rather than adapting to new changes?
  4. How do you define success?
  5. Looking at your resume, it seems there are particular skills necessary for this position that do not stand out. How do you think you will be able to compensate for these missing skills?
  6. Have you progressed in your career as you have expected?
  7. Many of our industry competitors have their employees under a non-compete contract. Are you bound by any non-compete contract with your current employer?
  8. Our goal is to be the top rated organization in aerospace. After researching NASA, what do you think we could improve on?
  9. Are you actively interviewing with other companies, and are you close to offer stage with anyone?
  10. Do you believe it is possible to be a good team member yet disagree with the leader?
  11. Looking at your resume, I see multiple gaps between employments, what were you doing during those gaps?
  12. What is your current salary?
  13. How often do you think of innovations that will improve your work performance?
  14. Your workload will be large at NASA. How do you balance life and work?
  15. How have you demonstrated leadership ability when you were not in a leadership role?
  16. How do you think your early career will help you succeed in this position?
  17. If you were given a choice, which work related task would you leave for last? Why?
  18. How do you like to encourage ideas in others?
  19. Tell me about an achievement you are proud of. What did you find challenging about it?
  20. At NASA we seek to hire only those with aerospace experience. Are you more experienced in the private or public aerospace industry?
  21. Who would you say inspires you?
  22. How do you like to be recognized for your accomplishments?
  23. Confidentiality is of utmost importance to us at NASA. Are you willing to sign a confidentiality agreement, if hired?
  24. We are looking for specific post-secondary education for this role. Tell me about your post-secondary education and how it will help you in this position with NASA.
  25. At NASA we have some strong competitors. In your opinion, what makes us stand out from the others?
  26. Because of the nature of business at NASA we conduct background checks on employees. This includes criminal background, credit, and education verification checks. Are you willing to comply?
  27. There are numerous career avenues you can take with NASA. Which career path interests you the most?
  28. In your opinion, what is the biggest breakthrough in the aerospace and defense industry in the past decade?
  29. The aerospace and defense industry is ever-changing. At NASA we seek to hire individuals with a keen interest in this industry. How do you stay up to date on aerospace related current events?
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