Harvard University

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Harvard University Interview Questions

Updated Nov 10, 2014
Updated Nov 10, 2014
125 Interview Reviews

Interview Experience

Interview Experience

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Candidate Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Postdoctoral Fellow Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Long day. Meet with some faculty individually and some lab members through out the day. Gave a department seminar on my research work. Afternoon was filled with more meetings and introductions to different lab members. Was shown around the lab and learned about the research focus and priorities prior to meeting with the Primary Investigator.

    Interview Questions
    • How did you choose your graduate projects to put into your thesis?   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    Standard post-doc contract.
    Accepted Offer
  2.  

    Marketing Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    It was a very involved interview process. Excellent information given, but not coordinated therefore a great deal of repetition. Human resources was last interview scheduled so important benefit information was also last.

    Interview Questions
    • Give me a brief overview of your experience and how it would relate to position.   Answer Question
    No Offer
  3.  

    Multimedia Tech Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Responded to an ad on Craigslist. Received a phone call about a week later asking when I could come in for an interview. I met my future supervisor at the main office in Harvard and we discussed aspects of the job that were particular to Harvard (the class nature, how audio systems are integrated into classrooms, the resources we have for rooms, speaker systems). We talked extensively about our pasts; my boss very much appreciated that I came from an A/V background. After the discussion we shook hands and she let me know I would receive an email in a week letting me know if I had the job. I got that email two days later, and I got the job.

    Interview Questions
    • Explain (in detail) your past experience and how you would fit in with Harvard and the community here.   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
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  5.  

    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
  6.  

    Coordinator Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

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

    Interview Details

    So I interviewed for 2 different Coordinator positions. I did not get the first one, but then I got the 2nd position years down the line. Be prepared to possibly be interviewed by people do not necessarily know how to interview. In order to try to see if someone is a good "fit" for the org, it is not uncommon to have the entire dept. in a meeting room with an applicant to just basically meet you and not even really engage/interact with you.

    Interview Questions
    • Standard ones seem to apply, your greatest weakness, experiential ones.   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
  7.  

    Project Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Harvard University in July 2014.

    Interview Details

    Had an initial phone call to schedule a conference call with 2 other people at the organization. The conference call interview was my first. The lag was a bit distracting, as well as the audio quality. The interview was somewhat formulaic. They were a little resistant to divulging many details about the position. Probably because they knew already I wasn't a good fit.

    Interview Questions
    • "How would you design an educational experiment with an intervention? What if you couldn't randomize?"

      "What does the racial achievement gap in our education system look like and mean to you?"
       
      Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  8.  

    Postdoctoral Fellow (Law School) Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at Harvard University in July 2014.

    Interview Details

    Not sure if they even knew what their process was. Applied online and was contacted for a phone interview with the department the next week. Then contacted for an HR overview the following week (strangely out of order). Told I would hear either way (schedule in person or reject) within 1wk after HR interview... And then got an automated message after 9 weeks had passed rejecting me. Well, thanks, I had kind of figured that out by then! Just seemed really disorganized and rushed, HR was friendly but department definitely was not. Left me wondering why they contacted me to begin with-they clearly weren't interested in hiring me.

    Interview Questions
    • Detailed questions on writing sample I sent in, were they checking whether I plagiarized it?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  9.  

    Postdoctoral Fellow Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied in-person. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed 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 Questions
    • Most of the questions were from my previous work; so, I didn't have difficulty answering them.   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  10.  

    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
  11.  

    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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