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Harvard University Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jul 15, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting an Interview  

67%
10%
9%

Interview Experience  

66%
23%
10%

Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
114 candidate interviews
Relevance Date Difficulty
in

No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Program Coordinator Interview

Program Coordinator

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

Interview Details – I had two interviews, one with HR and one with the group. The HR interview was very basic, asking if I had questions about the benefits of working at Harvard, briefly talked about my resume. The actual job interview was with a panel of 3 people.

Interview Question – A lot of questions about my career path and justifying my previous positions. A few behavioral/hypothetical scenarios, how would I react etc.   Answer Question


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


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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.


No Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

Human Resources Professional Interview

Human Resources Professional

Interviewed at Harvard University

Interview Details – Went throught 6 interviews. One on One and group interviews.

Interview Question – Nothing difficult   View Answer


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.

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