20 Brookings Institution Interview Questions and Answers

Prepare for the types of questions you are likely to be asked when interviewing for a position at Brookings Institution.

When it comes to interviewing for a job at the Brookings Institution, you can expect to be asked questions that are specific to the company and the role you’re applying for.

To help you prepare, we’ve compiled a list of sample questions and answers that you can use to develop your own responses.

From questions about your research experience to inquiries about your policy analysis skills, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate your qualifications and fit for the job.

By preparing for these types of questions, you’ll be one step closer to landing your dream job at the Brookings Institution.

Brookings Institution Interview Process

The interview process at Brookings Institution can vary depending on the position you are applying for. However, most positions will require at least one phone interview and one in-person interview. For some positions, like internships, you may only have one interview. The difficulty of the interviews also varies depending on the position. Some positions, like research assistant, may require a skills test. Overall, the interview process is fairly standard, but can be lengthy depending on the position you are applying for.

Common Brookings Institution Interview Questions

1. Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization that focuses on analyzing public policy issues at the national level. What do you know about us?

This question is an opportunity for you to show the interviewer that you have done your research on their organization. You can use this as a chance to demonstrate your knowledge of the Brookings Institution and how it operates, including its mission statement, values and goals.

Example: “I’ve been following the Brookings Institution since I was in college because I find their work so interesting. I know that they are a nonprofit public policy organization that focuses on analyzing national issues from all sides. They also provide recommendations for policymakers based on their findings.”

2. Why are you interested in working for Brookings Institution?

This question is an opportunity to show your enthusiasm for the position and why you are a good fit. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention specific aspects of the job that interest you or how your skills align with the role.

Example: “I am interested in working at Brookings Institution because I have always been impressed by the organization’s research and analysis on public policy issues. I think my background as a political science major and my experience researching current events would make me a great fit for this role.”

3. How would your previous experience benefit our company?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how they can benefit their company. Before your interview, make a list of the skills you have that are relevant to the position. Explain how these skills will help you succeed in the role.

Example: “I believe my previous experience working for a nonprofit organization would be beneficial to The Brookings Institution. I learned valuable communication skills while working at my last job, which helped me collaborate with other employees and communicate effectively with donors. These skills will help me work well with others on your team and contribute to the success of the organization.”

4. Which area of research are you most passionate about and why?

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer your passion for public policy and how it can benefit their organization. When answering this question, try to highlight a specific area of research that you are passionate about and explain why you chose that field.

Example: “I am most passionate about researching education reform because I believe that every child deserves access to quality education regardless of their socioeconomic status or background. In my last position, I worked with local school districts to develop strategies to improve student performance in math and reading by implementing new curriculum models and teacher training programs.”

5. Do you have any experience with database management or data visualization software?

The Brookings Institution uses data to analyze public policy issues. Your answer should show that you have experience with database management or data visualization software and can use it effectively.

Example: “I’ve used Microsoft Access for several years, which I find very useful for organizing large amounts of data. In my last role as a research analyst at the Department of Education, I was responsible for managing all student records in an online database. This required me to learn how to use SQL queries to sort through the data and create reports on specific students.”

6. Tell me about a time when you were part of an unsuccessful project, how did you handle it?

This question can help the interviewer get a better sense of your problem-solving skills and how you react to challenges. When answering this question, it can be helpful to focus on what you learned from the experience and how you would handle similar situations in the future.

Example: “In my previous role as an analyst for a large corporation, I was part of a team that was tasked with creating a new marketing campaign. We spent several weeks developing our ideas and presenting them to senior management, who ultimately decided not to move forward with any of our proposals. While I was disappointed by the outcome, I took away some valuable lessons from the experience. I realized that while we did everything we could to create successful campaigns, there are many factors beyond our control that influence these decisions.”

7. Describe a time where you had to work on multiple projects for different supervisors. How did you prioritize them?

This question is a great way to show your organizational skills and ability to work under pressure. When answering, it can be helpful to mention how you organized the projects and what steps you took to ensure they were completed on time.

Example: “I had two supervisors at my last job who both wanted their reports turned in by different deadlines. I created an excel spreadsheet that listed all of the tasks I needed to complete for each project. Then, I color-coded them based on when they needed to be completed. This helped me stay organized and ensured I met all of my deadlines.”

8. Provide an example of a time when you had to solve a complex problem. What was the problem and how did you approach it?

The Brookings Institution is looking for candidates who can use their problem-solving skills to analyze public policy issues and come up with solutions. When answering this question, it can be helpful to provide an example of a time you faced a complex problem and how you solved it.

Example: “When I was working as a research assistant at my university, I had to solve a complex problem when one of the professors asked me to find information on a specific topic. At first, I thought that finding the information would be easy, but after searching online, I realized there wasn’t much information available. So, I decided to contact experts in the field and ask them questions about the topic. After speaking with several experts, I found enough information to complete the assignment.”

9. What do you think makes a successful event?

The Brookings Institution hosts a variety of events, including conferences and seminars. These events are often the main way that they share their research with the public. Your answer should show your understanding of how to plan an event and what makes it successful.

Example: “I think a successful event is one where attendees leave feeling inspired or informed about the topic at hand. I always try to make sure there’s a balance between presentations from experts and opportunities for audience members to ask questions. I also like to include some sort of networking opportunity so people can meet others who have similar interests.”

10. In what ways do you think we can improve our events?

The Brookings Institution is a highly respected organization that hosts many events and conferences. The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your event planning skills and how you can help improve their current events. In your answer, try to highlight your organizational and communication skills as well as your ability to work with others.

Example: “I think one way we could improve our events is by making them more inclusive. I’ve noticed at some of the larger events there are only certain people who get to speak or attend. I think it would be beneficial to have more diverse representation at these events so everyone has an opportunity to learn from each other.”

11. What would you say is the biggest issue facing [your field] today?

This question can help the interviewer get a better sense of your knowledge and expertise in your field. It also helps them understand how you approach challenges, which is an important skill for any role at the Brookings Institution. In your answer, try to identify a problem that you would be eager to solve if hired.

Example: “The biggest issue facing my field today is the lack of transparency in government spending. I believe it’s essential that we have access to information about where our tax dollars are going so we can hold our elected officials accountable. At my last job, I worked with a team to create a database that made this information more accessible to the public.”

12. If hired, how would you use social media as a recruitment strategy?

Social media is a popular way to connect with potential candidates. Employers may ask this question to see how you would use social media as part of your job responsibilities. In your answer, explain which platforms you would use and why they are important for the role. You can also mention any specific strategies you have used in the past that were successful.

Example: “I think social media is an excellent recruitment strategy because it allows me to reach out to talented professionals who might not know about our organization. I would create a Facebook page, Twitter account and Instagram profile for the Brookings Institution. Then, I would post regular updates on each platform to highlight current research projects and job openings.”

13. Brookings Institution places a high value on integrity. Give an example of a time when you showed integrity in the workplace.

The Brookings Institution is looking for candidates who are honest and trustworthy. This question helps them determine if you have these qualities. When answering this question, make sure to focus on your integrity rather than the specific actions you took.

Example: “Integrity is one of my most important values in life. I believe that it’s important to be honest with others at all times. In my last position as a research analyst, I was working on a project when I noticed some inconsistencies in the data. Rather than ignore the issue or change the numbers, I brought it up to my supervisor. She appreciated my honesty and we worked together to find an alternative solution.”

14. We want all of our staff members to be able to comfortably communicate with each other and clients. How would you rate your communication skills?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your ability to work with others and collaborate on projects. To answer, you can describe a time when you used your communication skills to help solve a problem or achieve a goal.

Example: “I feel that my communication skills are one of my greatest strengths. I have always been able to clearly explain complex ideas in ways that make them easy for people to understand. In my last role as an economist, I was responsible for presenting the findings from our research to clients. I prepared extensively by researching their company’s goals and objectives so I could tailor my presentation to meet their needs.”

15. At Brookings Institution, we believe that every member of the team has their own strengths. What do you feel like you bring to the table?

This question is a great way to show your interviewer that you understand the culture of the organization and how it operates. When answering this question, make sure to highlight any skills or experiences that are relevant to the position.

Example: “I feel like my greatest strength at Brookings Institution would be my ability to work well with others. I am always looking for ways to collaborate with other team members on projects and find solutions to problems. In my last role as an analyst, I was able to help my supervisor develop new methods of data collection and analysis that helped us better serve our clients.”

16. Can you tell me about a time when you disagreed with a coworker or supervisor? How did you handle the situation?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your conflict resolution skills. This is an opportunity to show that you can be honest with others and work through disagreements in a professional manner.

Example: “In my previous role, I disagreed with one of my coworkers on how we should approach a project. Rather than speaking up right away, I waited until our team meeting to discuss the issue. During the meeting, I presented my ideas and explained why I thought they were better than my coworker’s. My coworker agreed with me and we worked together to create a plan for the project.”

17. Have you worked with people from diverse backgrounds before?

The Brookings Institution is a highly respected organization that values diversity and inclusion. This question helps the interviewer determine if you have experience working with people from different backgrounds, cultures or political views. Showcase your ability to collaborate with others by describing a time when you worked with someone who had a different background than you.

Example: “I’ve worked with many colleagues at my previous job who had diverse backgrounds. For example, I once worked on a project with a colleague who was an expert in blockchain technology. He helped me understand how blockchain could be used for public policy issues like voting security. We were able to work together to create a report that outlined the benefits of using blockchain for these applications.”

18. How do you think that diversity benefits a company?

The Brookings Institution is a diverse organization that values the unique perspectives of its employees. This question helps employers understand your thoughts on diversity and how it can benefit an organization. Use examples from your past experience to show how you value different opinions, backgrounds and experiences.

Example: “I think that diversity benefits organizations because it allows us to see multiple viewpoints on issues. In my last role as a marketing manager, I worked with a team of people who had many different backgrounds and experiences. One day, we were discussing our company’s new logo design when one employee mentioned that she didn’t like the color scheme. Another employee said that he liked the colors but thought they should be brighter. The first employee explained that bright colors hurt her eyes and made her feel nauseous. We then decided to change the colors to ones that would make everyone happy.”

19. How do you make sure that everyone feels welcome in your office environment?

The interviewer may want to know how you plan to create a positive work environment for your new colleagues. Showcase your interpersonal skills and ability to collaborate with others by describing a time when you helped someone feel welcome in the workplace.

Example: “I believe that everyone deserves to be treated with respect, regardless of their background or beliefs. I once had a coworker who was very quiet at first but eventually became one of my closest friends. He told me that he felt nervous about coming out as gay at work because he didn’t know if anyone would accept him. After I talked to him privately, he came out to our entire team and received nothing but support from his coworkers.”

20. An important aspect of this position is being able to maintain confidentiality regarding sensitive information. Are you comfortable with maintaining confidentiality?

This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you understand the importance of confidentiality and are willing to uphold it.

Example: “Yes, I am very comfortable with maintaining confidentiality. In my previous position, I was responsible for handling confidential information on a daily basis. I would never share any sensitive information unless authorized by the client or Brookings Institution.”


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