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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
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1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Staff Assistant II Interview

Staff Assistant II

I applied online and 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 Question – Having about a week to complete various sample assignments that are actual requirements of the job.   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Postdoctoral Fellow Interview

Postdoctoral Fellow
Cambridge, MA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Harvard University in October 2011.

Interview Details – Hiring for postdocs may formally follow some fair process that involves job postings and interviews, but in practice reputation—of the applicant, of the applicant's school, and advisor, and research--counts for a lot more. So if you're coming from a good place and you've done good work, you're in. But otherwise, it might be a struggle to get noticed.

Interview Question – There weren't any difficult questions--they were trying to convince me to accept the job.   Answer Question


3 people found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Easy Interview

Communications Specialist Interview

Communications Specialist
Cambridge, MA

I applied through other source and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed 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 Question – No difficult questions   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Postdoctoral Fellow Interview

Postdoctoral Fellow

Interviewed at Harvard University

Interview Details – Mailed the application to the professor, got a call from people in the lab and scheduled an on-site interview. Meet the whole group and gave a presentation about PhD work.

Interview Question – normal questions   Answer Question


No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Department Assistant Interview

Department Assistant
Cambridge, MA

I applied online - interviewed at Harvard University in February 2010.

Interview Details – I had an in person interview, which took about an hour. I was them invited to return for a second interview, with more of the department staff present. The second interview was conducted as a group, rather than one-on-one. All in all, the process took about 3 weeks, though that first call did take an extra few weeks to get! It was a pretty standard process, and well-organized. I lost the job to someone internal, but they were clear that it was not due to lacking qualifications or not interviewing well, which was helpful.

Interview Question – None that I can think of.   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Postdoctoral Fellow Interview

Postdoctoral Fellow

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

Interview Details – Applied online, there was no interview process.

Interview Question – There was no interview. Job was offered based on application.   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Easy Interview

Upper Level Mathematics Course Assistant Interview

Upper Level Mathematics Course Assistant

I applied through an employee referral and interviewed at Harvard University.

Interview Details – Hiring is different depending on which course you are a course assistant for- in my case, I had taken the course I taught for my freshman year and was recommended to be a CA by the professor. In general you send your application to Oliver Knill within the department and selections are made from there. Typically there are no interviews required, and previous teaching experience is not a prerequisite.

Interview Question – Prove for the following set of conditions that there is a subsequence f_k(x) that converges to a continuous function f(x):

1. f_k(x) is an infinite sequence of functions from the interval [0,1] to the set of real numbers.
2. The sequence is uniformly bounded, i.e. there exists some R<infty s.t. |f_k(x)|<R for all x,k.
3. The sequence is equicontinuous at every x.
  View Answer


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Undergraduate Research Assistant Interview

Undergraduate Research Assistant
Cambridge, MA

I applied online and the process took 5 days - interviewed 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 Question – Do you know how to use STATA?   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Director of Financial Operations Interview

Director of Financial Operations

I applied online and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Harvard University.

Interview Details – Harvard is very decentralized and each school/tub has its own interview process so my experiences interviewing for positions at Harvard were quite different. I will say neither position used a panel or behavioral interview process. I interviewed with individuals and different times with no standardized format to the questions.

Interview Question – Can you come back for a 4th round of interviews?   View Answer

Negotiation Details – It was very straightforward as most offices have a budget that they will usually offer the max on that budget for the best candidate and Harvard does not have specific benefits that all employees don't already receive as a apart of their benefit package that hiring managers can offer, unless you are a dean or VP.


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Staff Assistant I Interview

Staff Assistant I
Cambridge, MA

I applied online and the process took 5 days - interviewed 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 Question – nothing - just ordinary interview questions   Answer Question

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