Recruiter @ Open Philanthropy
77 karmaJoined


Note that the application deadline has now been extended to Monday, November 27th at 11:59pm PST.

Thanks for the questions! Given the quantity of questions you've shared across the different roles, I think our teams might struggle to get to all of them in satisfactory detail, especially since we're past the initial answering window. Would you be able to highlight your highest priority question(s) under each top-level comment, as we'd like to make sure that we're addressing the ones that are most important for your decision-making?


Generally, we try to compensate people in such a way that compensation is neither the main reason to be at Open Phil nor the main reason to consider leaving. We rely on market data to set compensation for each role, aiming to compete with a candidate’s “reasonable alternatives” (e.g., other foundations, universities, or high-end nonprofits; not roles like finance or tech where compensation is the main driving factor in recruiting). Specifically, we default to using a salary survey of other large foundations (Croner), and currently target the 75th percentile, as well as offering modest upwards adjustments on top of the base numbers for staff in SF and DC (where we think there are positive externalities for the org from staff being able to cowork in person, but higher cost of living). I can’t speak to what they’re currently doing, but historically, GiveWell has used the same salary survey; I’d guess that the Senior Research role is benchmarked to Program Officer, which is a more senior role than we’re currently posting for in this GCR round, which explains the higher compensation. I don’t know what BMGF benchmarks you are looking at, but I’d guess you’re looking at more senior positions that typically require more experience and control higher budgets at the higher end.

That said, your point about technical AI Safety researchers at various nonprofit orgs making more than our benchmarks is something that we’ve been reflecting on internally and think does represent a relevant “reasonable alternative” for the kinds of folks that we’re aiming to hire, and so we’re planning to create a new comp ladder for technical AI Safety roles, and in the meantime have moderately increased the posted comp for the open TAIS associate and senior associate roles.

I don’t have specific data on this, but only a minority of our hires apply through referrals or active networking. Our process is set up to avoid favoring people who come via prior connections (e.g. by putting a lot of weight on anonymized work tests), and many of our best hires have joined without any prior connections to OP. However, we do still get a lot of value from people referring candidates to our roles, and would encourage more of this to keep expanding our networks.

We gather data on these topics through post-round candidate surveys, so I can share what candidates actually say rather than speculate! 

On the frustration / annoyance side:

  • The most common thing that comes up is that we don’t share personalized feedback with unsuccessful candidates except for those who make it to the final stage of the process. This is a tricky problem that we’ve discussed a lot, as it’s not feasible for us to do this given the large number of candidates who apply. We’re trying to provide more generalized feedback on our work tests for certain roles as one possible improvement.
  • Another thing that comes up is that our processes can be fairly long (often 2-3 months from when a candidate applies). We try to speed this up where possible but have to trade that off against having a large number of data points from work trials and interviews, which we also see as valuable.

On the ‘OP does that really well’ side:

  • Candidates often praise the transparency of our process and what we’re looking for at each stage.
  • Candidates usually enjoy their interactions with OP staff - we do our best to make most conversations a two-way street, and are less intimidating than I think some people imagine!

This is a hard question to answer, because there are so many different jobs someone could take in the GCR space that might be really impactful. And while we have a good sense of what someone can achieve by working at OP, we can't easily compare that to all the other options someone might have. A comparison like "OP vs. grad school" or "OP vs. pursuing a government career" comes with dozens of different considerations that would play out differently for any specific person.

Ultimately, we hope people will consider jobs we've posted (if they seem like a good fit), and also consider anything else that looks promising to them.