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Smithsonian Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Mar 7, 2014

Getting an Interview  


Interview Experience  


Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
5 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
Relevance Date Difficulty
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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Editorial Assistant Interview

Editorial Assistant
Washington, DC

I applied online and the process took 5+ weeks - interviewed at Smithsonian in February 2014.

Interview Details – Sent application via email in late January, interview happened in early February; didn't find out about company decision until early March.

Was told repeatedly that the position was very competitive, many, many applicants received.

Emailed first for a very brief phone interview basically confirming my interest and asking for an in-person interview. Came in for the in-person interview and spoke with two editors. Questions were more casual, personal, not the usual job interview questions. Shown around the office, asked about my background, etc.

I received a personal phone call when I wasn't selected for the position; the interviewer actually apologized and expressed her regret that she couldn't hire me, which I appreciated, even if I was still deeply disappointed. Did not, however, receive feedback as to WHY I wasn't hired.

Interview Question – "If you weren't hired here, what job would you be working?"   View Answer

No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Major Gifts Officer Interview

Major Gifts Officer

I applied online and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Smithsonian in August 2013.

Interview Details – I received a very timely response requesting to meet for an interview. The support, management, and executive staff were all extremely friendly and personable. I met with the hiring director and executive director at once - this was very efficient for them and for me. During our interview, I really felt they'd taken the time out to look at my experience and skill set individually to consider how it would complement the other members of the team and their new goals. The interview felt very much like a team strategy meeting and less like a judge's panel; I found this to be a great way of getting a good send of how we could all work together. This was one of the better interviews I've had - no rapid-fire, cookie-cutter questions were asked in order to check them off a template.

Interview Question – What do you think will be the most difficult challenge to taking on this higher role - the aspect of the job which you have the least amount of experience in and the highest learning curve to achieve the desired results?   Answer Question

No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

New Media Specialist Interview

New Media Specialist
Washington, DC

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Smithsonian in January 2012.

Interview Details – Lesson learned: Be assertive.

Initially, I received an email stating that I did not quality for the position, but since I was close to finishing college, and getting rejected left and right at the time, I really wanted to know why I did not qualify. Someone from the Center called me a few days later, and told me that they realized that they would need more than one candidate for the position, and that if I was still interested, I should come in for an interview. And I did! The interview was conducted by 4 people, whom were all very friendly, and easy to talk to. I think the biggest thing is to be confident, even if you may not have the best answer, be as confident as you can be because it can make up for other things.

They asked about all my work experience, had written all over a copy of my resume ready to be asked, they asked about my different work situations, how I handled school and work, etc.

In the end, no offer, but they did say that they loved talking to me and that I was an excellent candidate.

Interview Question – What is your greatest weakness? This was expected, but I hate answering this question. And I don't think I gave the best reply.   Answer Question

No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Development Intern Interview

Development Intern

I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Smithsonian.

Interview Details – I had a phone interview with the Development office, and there are two people in charge of the office, a male and female. They were both very friendly and professional. The female lady has an interest in Renaissance art. During the interview, they were focused on asking about the background and interest in this position. Very professional and knowledgeable about nonprofit fundraising.

Interview Question – What would you like to bring to this position?   Answer Question

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Exhibit Director Interview

Exhibit Director
Washington, DC

I applied through other source and the process took a day - interviewed at Smithsonian in June 2009.

Interview Details – connections to person from previous work experience

Interview Question – Will you get a certification for certain experience level?   View Answer

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