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Harvard University Interview Questions in Boston, MA

Updated Nov 1, 2014
Updated Nov 1, 2014
60 Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Staff Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 6 weeksinterviewed at Harvard University in October 2014.

    Interview Details

    It is way too confusing the way that Harvard runs its HR to coordinate all of the interview processes. Be prepared to interact and communicate with a minimum of 10+ people per every position you interview for at Harvard. It is one thing to have a candidate professionally meet other members of the team they would be working with, but it is another to have candidates sit down with nearly every team member, when the majority of team members do not have enough substantial experience conducting interviews.
    It seems contradictory that Harvard is so stern about its HR/screening interview process, yet when it comes time to interview rounds, the University has no qualms about throwing candidates in to interview sessions with quasi-important team members that ask ridiculous questions because they are not yet well-seasoned enough to know how to conduct an interview in a light that best represents the University.
    There seems to be a huge lapse in the interview process at Harvard. The first phone interview was conducted with an HR rep over the phone, the initial phone screening (this applies to any job) is really just about verifying if the candidate sounds like an educated, respectable person. At Harvard, the issue arrives during the in-person interviews. The first meeting is segregated to meet 1 on 1 with several different people. After the first session, the next time Harvard has you in it will be to meet with other members of the team- be prepared for a variety of meetings during the second round as you may meet 1 on 1 and then 2 on 1, etc. The issue in this specific department is that all of the members are not qualified to conduct interviews. The style of every interview with this (rather small) team was inconsistent and it gave me a red flag- it felt like the team has low energy and that there is no cohesive personae to this team. I felt a huge shift in personality, interests, and experience from person to person. The sense of humor was lacking in some and present with others. Some of the interviewers for this position were gracious, others were distant, some followed up in emails, some ignored them, and some even acted like I was about to get hired, then shifty answers with HR followed next, and some shifty moves by HR/the hiring manager quickly let me know that the position was going to be given to the other candidate.
    Total bag of mixed messages, ups and downs, and dragging along for well over a month. For about two solid weeks I was lead to believe that I was going to be offered the position and then all of a sudden I got a very rude vibe from the people that I was been dealing with. It is HR on Hiring Managers on Chaos. Also, last note- their "reference" background check is literally the most impersonal process in existence. They ask for reference information and they send your references an email from a "do not reply" address. In the body of the email, the third party (the company that conducts the electronic reference checks) drafts the emails for you and sends it out to five professional references that you provide Harvard with. Case in point, Harvard- if you are going to do reference checks, have the decency to make HR pick up the phone. Seriously, get rid of this third party reference check computer system. I value the relationships that I have with my references and did not appreciate the HR banging out automated emails asking all of my references to conduct a survey. Sneaky language in the email too! Harvard, pick up the phone and call references. This is so inefficient, impersonal, fake, worthless, useless. What does this third party system remotely provide you with? I find it implausible to see how you gather useful, candid, meaningful information about candidates by dealing with references this way. It seems like a lazy HR move. Make your HR employees have actual conversations, this is not remotely professional!

    Interview Questions
    • I literally was asked by a staff member "What is your favorite color?" as well as "What can you tell us about yourself that we can't tell by looking at you?" My answer to the first question about my favorite color was "White" because when sunlight passes through a spectrum the white light represents all colors, therefore by having white as my favorite color, it actually makes all colors my favorite color. I got a blank stare and then was asked by the two (very young) interviewer some other questions that were completely irrelevant. It was clear they were just asking the first things that came to mind. It felt like they were trying to make me feel like an idiot. These two interviewers seemed lethargic, burnt out, dry, and snobby, it was draining to be in the room with them. A word of advice would be to get rid of the aloof, empty presence and adapt a more warm, gracious manner that is full of class like the rest of the university.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
  2.  

    PhD Student Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed 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 Questions
    Negotiation Details
    No Negotiation Phase
    Accepted Offer
  3.  

    Assistant to the Director Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Application Details

    I applied through a staffing agency. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed 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 Questions
    • 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
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Program Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed 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 Questions
    Negotiation Details
    No negotiation, but they offered me much more than the minimum for the position, so there was no need to negotiate.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  6.  

    Associate Director, Strategic Marketing and Communications, FAS Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2+ weeksinterviewed at Harvard University in April 2014.

    Interview Details

    After being refered to the HR person through an informational interview in another department, I was contacted for a telephone interview. We spoke for 25 minutes. I was not selected to move ahead.

    Interview Questions
    • What is it about this position that you are most looking forward to.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Staff Assistant I Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 5 daysinterviewed at Harvard University.

    Interview Details

    Applied online - was called in for an interview. Was called back for a second interview where I meet with 2 VP's. Got an offer later that day. Initial interview was great - very willing to answer questions and make sure I was comfortable with and actually interested in the position.

    Interview Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
  8.  

    Research Assistant I Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Boston, MA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Boston, MA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took a dayinterviewed at Harvard University.

    Interview Details

    Recruiter set me up with interview. Interview was quick. Took tour of lab and introduced me to other employees in lab that I would be working with and explained study that I would be helping.

    Interview Questions
    • What scientific background do you have that relates to cardiovascular disease or scientific techniques that would help improve the lab?   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  9.  

    Research Scientist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Boston, MA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Boston, MA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Harvard University.

    Interview Details

    I applied online and was contacted a week later to schedule a phone interview. The 30-minute interview was with an HR rep, who informed me that if I was to move on in the process I would begin speaking with the actual managers. I was told to expect a response within 2 weeks, but never heard anything back until I sent an email inquiry, after which I was told I would not be moving forward in the process.

    I sensed that the interviewer was not given sufficient information about the position and desired qualifications, leading to a disconnect between HR and the team's management.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Undergraduate Research Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 5 daysinterviewed at Harvard University in December 2013.

    Interview Details

    Hiring involved submitting of CV on intranet of school (crimson careers), and if interests match then professor sends you an invitation for interview. I think most of those who receive the invitation end up receiving an offer and accepting the job. The interview is very basic, it is just a gauge of the interest of the research assistant and also to see if the student has basic skills for the jobs.

    Interview Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  11. 5 people found this helpful  

    Communications Specialist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Application Details

    I applied through other source. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Harvard University in November 2013.

    Interview Details

    A Harvard Law School program director found me via LinkedIn.com and interviewed me by phone. I was told they would like to interview me in person the following week, so I booked a flight. Days passed and they did not schedule the interview nor did they reply to my email and phone call following up on a date. So I cancelled the flight. When I notified them of that, the director finally replied. He seemed surprised and scheduled an interview for the following week. I booked a flight, traveled there, and spent four hours interviewing first with the human resources department, then with four members of the staff of this program. All went well. I could see they did not need a full-time person for this role and that systems could be set up so the existing staff members could perform the tasks they needed.
    I followed up with a note summarizing what I could do for them, emailing this just to the director. No word. After six weeks, I assumed I didn't get the job but wanted to be certain. I emailed the director again and then emailed the human resources department. No reply. I emailed again in 10 days. No reply.
    I suspect no one was hired for this job, based on what I see on the website. I was asked to invest a flight and more than a day to interview for this job. I don't expect a job offer, but I do expect a reply---even a form letter email telling me I didn't get the job. This was a costly way to see how disorganized and inconsiderate this center at the Harvard Law School is.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview

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