Columbia University

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Columbia University Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jul 24, 2014

Getting an Interview  

64%
35%

Interview Experience  

33%
40%
26%

Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
20 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
Relevance Date Difficulty

No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Assistant Director Interview

Assistant Director
New York, NY

I applied online and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Columbia University.

Interview Details – Columbia's hiring is driven by their website system and it can be hard to get an interview. Look carefully at the job posting date to be sure they are actively recruiting for a role. Some openings seem to be posted, yet inactive. One attraction is that many people I encountered had moved from very different departments. So there is an opportunity to move and get new experiences, while maintaining the same employer.

Interview Question – They asked all of the traditional questions, but did not provide a lot of insights into benefits, work life balance, etc.   Answer Question


2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Various Research Positions Interview

Various Research Positions

Interviewed at Columbia University

Interview Details – I've interviewed for four positions at Columbia in the last year and none of them were particularly great experiences.

Interview #1 - hiring manager asked typical interview questions and was extremely rude (even more so on the phone, I shouldn't have bothered with an in-person interview). Then she introduced me to various team members and they were all very awkward and disengaged. I was never contacted again, but HR website said the position was filled. Then it was relisted a few months later. It sounded like a high turnover job and I wasn't surprised.

Interview #2- an admittedly bad fit. It was just obvious. People were nice though and I received a polite rejection email a week or so later.

Interview #3- met with a very nice departmental administrator and was told second interviews would be conducted in another month. That was 6 months ago and I never heard anything else, although according to HR the position is still open.

Interview #4- met with former person in the position (who was promoted) and departmental administrator. The first person was nice and answered questions and we had a nice conversation. She gave me a good sense of the job. The departmental administrator was a total jerk. He barked at me when I wouldn't answer my salary requirements (I said I was open to hearing their range) and kept asking me in different ways. If he hadn't been so persistent I would have probably just told him, but I found him to be really rude. Then he asked a bunch of extremely negative behavioral questions that were just bizarre. At the end he said he would have a sense within a few weeks what 'direction they would be going in,' and whether they would need to repost the position and get more candidates. Uh… I guess that was my rejection because I never heard from them again.

Interview Question – Negative behavioral questions- i.e. tell me about dealing with difficult people, times you've faced adversity, etc.   Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

Research Analyst Interview

Research Analyst
New York, NY

I applied online - interviewed at Columbia University in October 2013.

Interview Details – First stage: Phone interview with HR, which includes a salary screen. I didn't fit in their range and they told me so and told me what the ceiling for the position is. We agreed to proceed.

Second stage: An interview with HR and the head of the research team (1/2 hr), followed by a 1/2 hr with an associate director. The HR and head of the team created a good impression on me. They asked general questions about my current work and said little about what skills are needed for the position. That made it tough to show them that I have the skills needed.

The associate director was a little strange. He was newly promoted and had no interviewing skills. Appeared unable to describe the company culture and his management style.

The time limits of both parts of the interview were enforced strictly; they actually cut me off to say we are out of time.

There was zero follow-up on their part, although they promised they will be in touch in "a couple of weeks." After a while, the HR person wrote to me that "we are still recruiting." No closure.

Interview Question – Frankly, the most unexpected part was how little they asked me.   Answer Question


No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer

I applied through college or university and the process took 3 days - interviewed at Columbia University.

Interview Details – Applied for part-time developer in CUIT. Sent a email with resume and got replied in 2 business days. Then got a onsite interview with some of their development team. People are nice.

Interview Question – No coding questions. Asked something about projects and some SQL questions.   Answer Question


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

CUIT Part-time Developer Interview

CUIT Part-time Developer

I applied through college or university and interviewed at Columbia University.

Interview Details – I'm a graduate student in Computer Science in Columbia University. I applied the job of CUIT part-time tech developer in 2014. It was an unexpected interview and I was badly prepared for that.
 The interview mainly focus on the past experience for the projects. And something with the database management. So for about the SQL grammar.

Interview Question – Not so many bad questions. Just be prepared.   Answer Question


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

At Teachers College, Support Position Interview

At Teachers College, Support Position

I applied online and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Columbia University.

Interview Details – I had one phone interview, and a promise made to come in-person; then, was asked for references (phone numbers, email)...references were contacted for on phone interviews. Was able to discuss with one of my references what was asked; interviewer kept pressing them to say something negative about me..was then contacted by the interviewer and told they were going with another candidate; then had to tell my references I was not hired...which I'm afraid now makes them wonder why, which may hurt in future job interview situations. Also, the interviewer was puzzled why I wanted to get a more advanced position.

Interview Question – Discussing why I want to change jobs...it seems, if you have a job, it is not understood why you want to leave; if you don't, it is wondered why you do not...   View Answer


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Human Resources Coordinator Interview

Human Resources Coordinator

I applied online and interviewed at Columbia University.

Interview Details – Interviewer was nice, asked basic questions about experiences and education. Followed-up with them after the interview and again a week later as I had not yet heard anything. About a month after I had my interview I checked my status on JAC and noticed that the position had been filled.

Interview Question – What thoughts do you have on the future recruitment for our school?   Answer Question


No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Academic Coordinator Interview

Academic Coordinator
New York, NY

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Columbia University in April 2013.

Interview Details – Phone interview, In Person Interview and In-Person Test to show understanding of specific professor's needs

Interview Question – What do you want to do after this job?   Answer Question


No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Research Programmer Interview

Research Programmer
New York, NY

I applied online - interviewed at Columbia University in April 2013.

Interview Details – I applied myself, and was contacted within 2 days by the professor that was running the research about the dates when I could come for an interview - about a week later. I came in and was interviewed by the same professor - 1 on 1. The interview was done in a very casual manner, there were no highly technical trick questions, but we covered a good bit of scientific terms, ideas, and related technology at a fairly high, but very personal level. He was looking for someone devoted to the field and willing to do it solely for your own interest - the same way that he was doing it himself. He let me know that they would not be able to pay me much. Two weeks later I was told that I was an impressive candidate, but they went with another candidate who worked on exact same type of data/research as they were doing.

Interview Question – None of the questions were unexpected - the interviewer had me talk about the details and goals of my personal research interest, where i saw it going, what I hoped to do with it, what results I have gotten so far, etc.   View Answer


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Graduate Student Interview

Graduate Student

I applied through college or university and interviewed at Columbia University.

Interview Details – I'm new to interview. I interviewed with Microsoft and Google. Microsoft just asked me some basic questions like "tell me your project experience" "what technology you are interested in recently". While google has two phone interview. Mostly about algorithm.

Interview Question – Design a cache   Answer Question

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