Comment author: MaxRa 19 April 2018 10:34:30AM 0 points [-]

Is it possible to switch to remote work (in my case in Europe) after working from office in SF e.g. for one year?

Comment author: lukeprog 21 April 2018 02:46:22AM 0 points [-]

Possibly. If a research analyst excels at the job after being hired, and seems likely to continue excel even while remote, we'd certainly consider it.

Comment author: lukeprog 19 April 2018 03:04:58AM *  2 points [-]

Here's a question I received via email, which I'll answer here so others can benefit from the answer.


Would you be able to give examples of how the research has been used for decision making around giving money/grants?


Sure, here are a few examples:

  • Our research on the history of philanthropy helped us decide to be more ambitious: "we are more interested in working on daunting problems over long periods of time after learning about some of philanthropy’s past contributions." This has increased the amount of attention and funding we've spent on daunting challenges that will likely require investment over many years to achieve the impacts we hope for.
  • Our shallow investigations into several different global catastrophic risks enabled us to choose initial priorities in that category. Most importantly, we launched grantmaking focus areas in "biosecurity and pandemic preparedness" and "potential risks from advanced artificial intelligence." Across those two focus areas we've since made more than $80 million in grants.
  • Our research on moral patienthood persuaded us to begin making grants related to fish welfare. Since then, we've made more than $6 million in fish welfare grants.
Comment author: Calvin_Baker 15 April 2018 01:00:23AM 0 points [-]

Is there any room in the application process for applicants to submit samples of original research or academic letters of recommendation?

Thank you!

Comment author: lukeprog 15 April 2018 01:13:08AM 0 points [-]

Yes, you may submit a writing sample by sending it to, as FirstName.LastName.Sample (e.g. John.Smith.Sample.doc or John.Smith.Sample.pdf). If you'd like to submit a letter of recommendation, please include it as a page of your résumé.

Please keep in mind that writing samples and letters of recommendation are entirely optional, so if you don't already have them handy, I don't recommend spending time pulling them together. Our application process puts much more weight on work test performance anyway.

Comment author: KevinWatkinson  (EA Profile) 13 April 2018 06:01:32PM 0 points [-]

How does Open Philanthropy weigh conformity against talent?

Comment author: lukeprog 13 April 2018 09:45:44PM 0 points [-]

What kind of conformity are you asking about? Certainly, some degree of alignment with our mission and values is important to us, and so is talent and "fit" for the work. Our team members are encouraged to focus on optimizing for Open Phil's mission, even when it means pushing back on their manager.

Comment author: Khorton 12 April 2018 11:29:36PM 1 point [-]

What are the stages of the application process? What proportion of applicants do you expect to filter out at each stage?

Comment author: lukeprog 13 April 2018 09:44:31PM 3 points [-]

Because applicants are working through our application process at different speeds, we're still learning what portion of applicants are invited forward at each stage. We are also adjusting the process as we go along. As of today, our application process looks like this:

  1. Initial submission of application + résumé.
  2. 2-question timed test.
  3. A "conversation notes" work test. (compensated via honorarium)
  4. A brief call, to explain the rest of our process and answer the applicant's questions.
  5. An "internal grant write-up" work test. (compensated via honorarium)

To some degree we are still determining next steps after #5, and they depend somewhat on the applicant's availability and preferences, and that's the main thing we discuss with applicants at step #4, on an individual basis.

Comment author: jackva 01 April 2018 02:44:05PM 5 points [-]

Thanks, Holden, for the AMA and everyone for their questions!

When looking at the application form initially, there was a mentioning of an applied task as part of the application -- as far as I can tell this has now been removed.

Could someone confirm this change? Does that mean that the application now only consists of the Google Form plus resume in the first stage?

Thanks in advance!

Comment author: lukeprog 02 April 2018 08:52:09PM *  2 points [-]

Yes, we recently removed a 2-question timed test from the job ad page. We wanted to lower the cost of submitting an initial application, and also we want to filter some applications before we request that applicants take the timed test. However, we are still using this timed test in an early part of our application process, and we still think it is diagnostic of who will be a good fit for our research analyst positions.

(I work for Open Phil.)

Comment author: Milan_Griffes 28 March 2018 06:32:02PM 0 points [-]

Are you saying that Open Phil & GiveWell cultures are different in hard-to-articulate but important ways? Or that the cultures are basically the same in any way that matters?

Comment author: lukeprog 30 March 2018 03:20:16PM 1 point [-]

It's hard to say. To me the cultures seem very similar, but my personal access to GiveWell culture is limited since I work for Open Phil. Perhaps to other people the cultures seems importantly different, but I can't predict what those perceived differences would be.

Comment author: alexflint 27 March 2018 06:27:55PM 1 point [-]

What advice would you give to a potential OpenPhil hire re how to think about the value of joining OpenPhil full time vs starting an organization that OpenPhil would be likely to fund vs joining an organization that has already received funding from OpenPhil?

Comment author: lukeprog 30 March 2018 03:19:49PM 0 points [-]

(I work for Open Phil.)

This is tough to answer in general; see my reply to a similar question here. Probably best to discuss this on an individual basis if/when an applicant reaches the interview stage of our application process.

Comment author: SiebeRozendal 27 March 2018 06:10:56PM 1 point [-]

Is there a standard contract length you will offer RA's if there is no trial period?

Comment author: lukeprog 30 March 2018 03:19:29PM 0 points [-]

(I work for Open Phil.)

For salaried positions there is no "contract length"; employment at Open Philanthropy is at-will, just as it is with most California employers.

Comment author: casebash 28 March 2018 01:56:39PM *  -2 points [-]

Meta: It might be good to announce AMA's in advance so that more people know to be online at that time.

Comment author: lukeprog 28 March 2018 03:54:52PM 2 points [-]

This one was announced here.

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