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Harvard University Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jun 23, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting an Interview  

60%
15%
13%

Interview Experience  

77%
19%
2%

Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
82 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
Relevance Date Difficulty
in

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Postdoctoral Fellow Interview

Postdoctoral Fellow

I applied in-person and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Harvard University.

Interview Details – One phone interview with the PI. on-site campus visit and gave a 1 hr presentation. During phone interview with PI, we talked about my interests and possible projects which I can work. He also sent me few research papers so I could study them.

Interview Question – Most of the questions were from my previous work; so, I didn't have difficulty answering them.   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Easy Interview

Postdoctoral Fellow Interview

Postdoctoral Fellow
Boston, MA

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Harvard University in February 2013.

Interview Details – This depends on the group you will work and your PI. I had no big issues. The interview was more a chat than an interview, since I brought my own fellowship.

Interview Question – No unexpected questions   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

PhD Student Interview

PhD Student
Cambridge, MA

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Harvard University.

Interview Details – The interview was simple for my department. you just do a skype interview. The professor was very friendly and they just wanted to get to know you better. He asked you questions about your research experiences, why you want to become a PhD student, and why the discipline you've chosen.

Interview Question – None that I can recall   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – No Negotiation Phase


Accepted Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

Assistant to the Director Interview

Assistant to the Director
Cambridge, MA

I applied through a staffing agency and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Harvard University.

Interview Details – I interviewed with the Office Manager and another person to whom I would not be reporting (why?), before interviewing with the Director, who would be my supervisor. During my employment, I found that there were not clear lines of authority, which led to various problems throughout the department, such as jockeying for favor and intense politicking.

Interview Question – I was asked about my religion, which I thought was highly unprofessional and inappropriate.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – The salary and conditions weren't negotiable.


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Postdoctoral Fellow Interview

Postdoctoral Fellow
Cambridge, MA

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Harvard University in June 2013.

Interview Details – It was one day entire day interview process.

First, you will usually have a meeting with PI. Then, you will start to meet with other people in the lab.
They will have a crew of people to have a lunch to talk with you as well.
Then, you will give a presentation about your research. After that, you will meet more people.

Negotiation Details – It is a set format, but vacation time was flexible.


Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Postdoctoral Fellow Interview

Postdoctoral Fellow

I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at Harvard University.

Interview Details – Contacted research group by email. Set up a Skype interview after which requested to come on-site for interview. Gave a seminar on-site and interviewed with group members individually. Long day with meeting a lot of people. Standard academic interview. Nothing special.

Interview Question – Was asked to propose ideas for projects. Not unusual in academia. Had to give them some thought.   View Answer

Negotiation Details – No negotiation.


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Graduate Student Interview

Graduate Student
Cambridge, MA

I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at Harvard University in January 2013.

Interview Details – There is no interview for Harvard Kennedy School, so it is helpful to hire someone to help craft the essays. All the essays should have a common theme and support the reason why you want to attend HKS. Speaking to alumni and professors ahead of time is very useful. I would definitely recommend a school visit.

Interview Question – The essay questions leave a lot of room for creativity, so think out your answers carefully. I recommend hiring a coach to help you craft the essay.   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Program Assistant Interview

Program Assistant
Cambridge, MA

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Harvard University in April 2014.

Interview Details – I applied online back in February and 3 weeks later got a call to arrange a 30 minute preliminary phone interview. The phone interview only lasted 8 minutes and the interviewer asked very generic questions (Why do you want to leave your job, can you work overtime, can you do this related to the job), so I thought I'd be done after that. However, I got a call 4 days later to set up an hour long interview with three directors the following week on Skype due to my distance from Cambridge. This next interview was difficult. It involved a lot of scenario-based questions related to customer service, management and authority and inquiring about my motivation for the job.

I didn't hear back for three weeks after the interview, so I sent a message asking for an update. Another week passed and they emailed back wanting to schedule another interview with another director. This was very similar to the second interview with a lot of scenario-based questions and giving examples of my previous work experience. At this time they requested references and a background check, and another interview with the HR director a week later. Two days after the HR interview, I was called with an offer.

Interview Question – Tell us about a time you managed without authority.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – No negotiation, but they offered me much more than the minimum for the position, so there was no need to negotiate.


1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Staff Assistant II Interview

Staff Assistant II

I applied online and the process took 6 weeks - interviewed at Harvard University in November 2013.

Interview Details – Within a week or so of applying, I received an email with more information about the position. After responding to the email that still expressed my interest, I received a response saying that the office would review applications and get back to me if I was selected for an interview. Within a week, I received another email scheduling a call with the office head, which took place a little more than a week later. This call was mostly informational with a little bit of interview questions, but not really a full out interview. The next week, I received another email for a full phone interview. After that phase, I received an email that the office wanted to have a group interview with the other members of the team. Since I am not from the area and have no connections to the university, we arranged a Skype meeting.

Following the interviews, a little more than a week later, I was called again by the department's director to speak more about the position and requirements. My references were also requested at this time. The next week, I was informed that I was selected for the final round of interviews and given sample assignments to complete and turn in over email. During this time, the director also checked my references. After turning in the sample assignments and waiting another week, I was offered the position.

Interview Question – Having about a week to complete various sample assignments that are actual requirements of the job.   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Postdoctoral Fellow Interview

Postdoctoral Fellow
Cambridge, MA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Harvard University in October 2011.

Interview Details – Hiring for postdocs may formally follow some fair process that involves job postings and interviews, but in practice reputation—of the applicant, of the applicant's school, and advisor, and research--counts for a lot more. So if you're coming from a good place and you've done good work, you're in. But otherwise, it might be a struggle to get noticed.

Interview Question – There weren't any difficult questions--they were trying to convince me to accept the job.   Answer Question

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