Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
Interviews for Top Jobs at Harvard University
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- No OfferPositive ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied online. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Harvard University.
Took 2+ months, very friendly, great experience. Had to do a test, but it was fun! They were very professional throughout each phone interview, took a while for them to get back to me, but given that they were in the midst of a busy research month that is understandable. Hope to apply to more jobs there in the future.
- Standard Answer Question
Helpful (1)No OfferPositive ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied online. The process took 4+ months. I interviewed at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) in June 2015.
There were many steps to the interview process. 1st was phone interview with HR, 2nd was a phone interview with hiring manager, 3rd interview was an all day interview meeting many many individuals in 30 minute intervals (Very exhausting) followed by a 4th phone interview. The interview was all hypothetical questions and I did not feel they focused on my qualifications. HU has a reputation for continually reviewing new candidates even when they have very good candidates in front of them. In my case it was looking like an offer was coming until HR decided to let one more candidate come through. The interview process is long for these senior jobs. I wasn't sure I would accept it as even though the pay scale was within my range they did not want to offer what I was currently making. It would have been a tough decision on my part as I did like the job role and I do feel the school offers a great opportunity. I just feel I was strung along
- How do you handle someone who is not a team player Answer Question
- No OfferNegative ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied online. The process took 5+ weeks. I interviewed at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) in June 2015.
bad experience - recruiter was unprofessional and not prepared to speak about the role, didn't hear back for over a month, the questions asked were unusual - the whole thing felt drawn out and i didn't walk away feeling good about the experience at all
- what are three words your former manager would use to describe you? Answer Question
Helpful (1)No OfferNegative ExperienceEasy Interview
I applied online. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) in April 2015.
Brief meetings with the associate dean and another employee. Fairly easy. If selected for an interview, DO NOT pay out of pocket! They have taken two months to reimburse and don't seem to care.
- So, you want to make a "difference"? 1 Answer
- No OfferNeutral ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied online. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Harvard University.
Current research assistants conducted screening interview for position opening. Asked standard questions regarding previous research experience, future goals, why you are interested in position, etc. Lab environment was described and interviewers (the current RAs) were friendly however they didn't appear to have experience interviewing making the situation a little awkward at times.
- What size lab do you currently work in? Answer Question
- No OfferPositive ExperienceEasy Interview
I applied online. I interviewed at Harvard University in March 2015.
I was not asked many questions. if your not qualified then they will ignore your application all together. I was grateful for the chance and experience. I was interesting to learn about the new job I would be doing.
Helpful (2)No OfferNegative ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied online. The process took 8 weeks. I interviewed at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) in February 2015.
Harvard is as exclusive an employer as they are an educational institution. I have applied for a few positions there at different points, and usually get no response except for a rejection after a few weeks. That is not to say that they are not on top of their stuff, just very selective. In this case I applied online, and got a call very quickly. We had a half hour telephone interview mainly to verify that I am conversant in all of the technologies that I have claimed. At that point we scheduled a on site interview for the next week, and we were off to the races. At the on site interview I met with two engineers who asked most of the questions. They filled me in in further detail about what they do, and what they need. Then they quizzed me on how to resolve certain issues that I could face in this position. Afterward the hiring manager took me to separately see two of his bosses. They interviewed me on much more general things that a nontechnical manager would care about. These interviews were reasonably short. The two technicians took me to the cafeteria for lunch, which was certainly pleasant. Then we had another interview with a technician from another department that this team works closely with. The whole process took about four hours, and then I was done. I followed up a week later, got my standard rejection from Harvard six weeks after that, and the position is still vacant as of this writing.
- In your chosen language write a script to list all of the files in a directory as a web page. How would you resolve a server bottleneck? Answer Question
Helpful (4)No OfferNegative Experience
I applied online. I interviewed at Harvard University.
Phone screen with HR Generalist: The HR representative admitted upfront that she had no experience with hiring Financial professionals and her prepared questions reflected this. She didn't understand the key functions performed in Finance and Accounting and was unfamiliar with the differences between (for example) a budget vs. a forecast. By not really understanding what a business planning function does she was unable to ask questions that got at a candidates depth of experience and the level of difficulty of what they had accomplished. Some of her questions were just unusual. For example, do you have more than 10 years of experience (please see my resume) or describe the personnel evaluation system you've been most successful using in the past. Also, she didn't ask important questions upfront...what is your expected comp...the make sure that expectations were aligned before diving into her prepared questions. Harvard is very silo based by school, so even though you apply through a common database (ASPIRE) the recruiters don't check to see where else you've interviewed or with whom you've met. In my case, the HR rep. was surprised to hear that I had interviewed with the university's CFO, Controller, and others recently as part of another search. Strong candidates who advanced in earlier searches and may have been finalists need to start over from scratch. It's very inefficient. Harvard is upfront that their searches take a long time and typically involve multiple visits with many interested parties. This is typical of a not for profit. However, it places them at a disadvantage when hiring individuals who are also interviewing for opportunities with commercial companies. In my case I had accepted another offer although was yet to start when invited to this screening call (I had applied online several weeks earlier). The HR rep actually reduced my interest in the position and I declined to proceed further during the call.
Helpful (2)No Offer
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.
- Give me a brief overview of your experience and how it would relate to position. Answer Question
Helpful (3)No OfferNegative ExperienceDifficult Interview
I applied online. The process took 6 weeks. I interviewed at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) in October 2014.
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!
- 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
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