Harvard University Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Aug 7, 2014
Updated Aug 7, 2014
118 interviews

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Candidate Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Dining Services Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Application Details

    I interviewed online. The process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Harvard University in September 2009.

    Interview Details

    First Interview:

    I was contacted for a phone interview by an HR rep and then scheduled for a panel interview consisting of 3 department heads and 1 unit manager. Each person took a turn asking me questions as the others looked on and took notes. Interviewees: Prepare for this interview! At times this interview felt more like an interrogation. Be prepared to defend everything in your cover letter and resume (which is to be expected anywhere) and have your "Tell me about yourself" pitch ready, as well as "Why did you choose Harvard and this occupation. Expect lots of follow up questions to your answers. The interviewers were professional, BUT don't expect this to be a comfortable interview ...you will be constantly challenged.

    Second Interview:

    After feeling pretty beat up from the first interview, I was shocked I got the call to come back to spend half a day shadowing a manager on the job, for the second "interview". This was a great experience and an idea that more companies should put into practice. I "observed and followed" from 10 am to 2 pm in a dining hall, was introduced to the entire staff and had a brief interview before I left with the unit manager that I was with. This was a much more comfortable experience for me than the panel interview and I enjoyed seeing the operation and my prospective co-workers in action.

    Drawback to Interviewing or Working at Harvard:

    There is NO place on campus to park! I paid $25 to park in a garage for the first interview, and had to pay $6.00 for 2 hours of time (maximum time the meter would allow), PLUS a $7.00 taxi fare (with tip), PLUS a $35.00 parking ticket (when my 2 hour garage sticker expired). This was an expensive day!! If you are considering Harvard employment research alternative transportation, car pooling OR be prepared to spend big bucks each day to park. I was not offered the position, so I never had to face this problem beyond my 2 interview days.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  2.  

    Marketing Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Application Details

    I interviewed through an employee referral. The process took 2 days - interviewed at Harvard University in December 2010.

    Interview Details

    An HR person contacted me about six weeks after I applied and asked me to come in for interviews on the day I was scheduled to leave for a 10-day vacation. She said they were in a rush to fill the position and didn't want to wait until I got back, so I postponed my departure time by several hours to do a round of interviews.

    I was told to ask for Ms. So-and-So, who would coordinate my visit. So I did that when I arrived at the building. The receptionist had never heard of Ms. So-and-So, and there was no record of her in the system. The receptionist called a couple of other people looking for Ms. So-and-So--no luck there, either. Finally, the receptionist contacted one of the execs scheduled to interview me, and that person came to the lobby to fetch me.

    I interviewed with about six people and thought the interviews went well. Then: Nothing for about two months. Ultimately, they hired someone else. A few months later, I saw what appeared to be the same job posted again. It turned out to be a new (additional) position, so I had to apply again from scratch. Again, I was asked to come in for interviews immediately because they wanted to "move very quickly" in filling this position (the estimate was 2-3 weeks).

    This time, I received a schedule saying that I would meet first an HR person in one building, who would then "walk" me to the rest of the interviews in another building nearly a mile away. The interview happened to fall on a bitterly cold winter day and I wasn't keen on walking across campus on icy pavement in a suit and dress shoes, but I figured I'd do so if necessary.

    However, after our 10-minute interview, the HR person said she was unaware that she was supposed to "walk" me anywhere--in fact, she couldn't even tell me how to get to the other building and seemed annoyed that I expected her to do so (remember, I was following the instructions that an admin had sent me). I had parked a few blocks away in the wrong direction and I was worried about being late, so I called a cab.

    I arrived on time and interviewed this time with about 10 people. The interviews went well. Then nothing for about four months (and, yes, I was checking regularly). Then I heard the job was on hold due to budgets or something, and at that point, I quietly gave up on it. Several months after that (fully eight months after those "we-want-to-move-quickly" interviews), I got a form letter saying that the job had been filled.

    I don't mind not getting the job as much as the chaos and confusion around the interview process, which was, at best, disorganized and, at worst, bordering on rude. I realize the whole university probably doesn't run like that, and I would happily consider jobs with other departments in this great organization--just not this particular department.

    My advice: Be sure your contact person is a real person reachable by e-mail or phone (I'm guessing I was dealing with a temp or contract recruiter the first time and that's why no one could find her). If something doesn't seem to make sense, ask (I'm guessing that the separate-buildings thing came up because too many people were involved in the scheduling). ate-buildings thing).

    Interview Questions
    • This job requires a lot of diplomacy. Tell me about a time that you successfully handled a problem or conflict.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Director Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  Cambridge, MA
    Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Application Details

    The process took a day - interviewed at Harvard University in June 2011.

    Interview Details

    The individuals I met with at Harvard were pleasant enough, and in fact asked good questions, were fair and made the interview mostly enjoyable, not that I was expecting that. I met with 3 individuals for approx. 30 min each. The last interviewer was the person I would work most closely with, if I were to be offered a position. It became clear, that though this was a new position, the 3rd interviewer was passing off all the activities she did not like to the new position. Though I was warned at the beginning of the 3rd interview that I would be given a "quiz" to test my accounting skills, I certainly wasn't looking forward to this and it affected the quality of my interview. So, at the end I was given the quiz which was supposed to take 10 min. It ended up taking more than 20 min. Here is my problem: I was interviewing for a Director of Finance position, that surely had some accounting skills related to it but were not referred to in the job description. In fact, I was surprised that Harvard had the gall to pull this shenanigan for a Director level position. Nonetheless, I bombed this "quiz" and wasn't offered a follow up interview. While, I would apply for future positions at Harvard, I am glad that this particular position didn't work out considering the quality of the interview at the end, and their "screening" process.

    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
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  5.  

    Staff Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Interview Details

    Phone interview with HR, Interview with two potential bosses, then interviews with a few other team members.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  6.  

    Program Coordinator Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Application Details

    I interviewed online. 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 Questions
    • 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
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
  7.  

    Project Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Application Details

    I interviewed online. The process took 2 weeks - interviewed 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.  

    Staff Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  Cambridge, MA
    Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Application Details

    I interviewed through a staffing agency. The process took a day - interviewed at Harvard University in March 2012.

    Interview Details

    First off, I was not given a job description by the staffing agency. So I was given the job description only 10 minutes before the interview. The person interviewing me had been at this particular office for 16 years. She wanted to know primarily when you would ask for help. I would advise other candidates for this type of position to ask lots of questions about the position and culture of the office.

    Interview Questions
    • You have several people waiting for you, how would you respond to people waiting in line?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9.  

    Manager of Sales & Markewting Interview

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

    The process took 3 days - interviewed at Harvard University in April 2008.

    Interview Details

    Competency based interviews. Asked questions that elicit examples of a behavior. Have plenty of examples of how you have performed in various settings in the past. Try to pick out the key competencies of the position you're applying for and think of examples of those specific qualities and behaviors.

    Interview Questions
    • Give me an example of a time when you had to "manage up."   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    I asked for more money, but didn't get it. I felt confortable asking and was given a raise within the year.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Program Assistant Interview

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

    I interviewed online. 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 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
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Staff Assistant II Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I interviewed online. The process took 6 weeks - interviewed at Harvard University in November 2013.

    Interview Details

    Within a week or so of applying, I received an email with more information about the position. After responding to the email that still expressed my interest, I received a response saying that the office would review applications and get back to me if I was selected for an interview. Within a week, I received another email scheduling a call with the office head, which took place a little more than a week later. This call was mostly informational with a little bit of interview questions, but not really a full out interview. The next week, I received another email for a full phone interview. After that phase, I received an email that the office wanted to have a group interview with the other members of the team. Since I am not from the area and have no connections to the university, we arranged a Skype meeting.

    Following the interviews, a little more than a week later, I was called again by the department's director to speak more about the position and requirements. My references were also requested at this time. The next week, I was informed that I was selected for the final round of interviews and given sample assignments to complete and turn in over email. During this time, the director also checked my references. After turning in the sample assignments and waiting another week, I was offered the position.

    Interview Questions
    • Having about a week to complete various sample assignments that are actual requirements of the job.   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

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