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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

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Campus Services Interview

Campus Services
Cambridge, MA

I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Harvard University.

Interview Details – Applied late spring. Got a Initial phone interview a little over a month later, and then set a time for a face to face with two rounds of supervisor interviews. A lot of questions about how to handle hypothetical difficult situations. And how you have handled difficult situations in the past. A lot of character questions and will probe for the basis of your motivation for the job.

Interview Question – Where do you see yourself in 5 years?   Answer Question


No Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

Grants Manager Interview

Grants Manager
Cambridge, MA

I applied online and the process took 8 weeks - interviewed at Harvard University in August 2013.

Interview Details – I applied online in early August and first contact was made 3 weeks later. A recruiter's assistant contacted me to setup time for a phone screen with the h/r recruiter.

The phone screen lasted about 30 minutes and all the standard questions were covered. I thought the screen went well and the recruiter told me that while she could not make any promises, as ultimately the hiring manager would decide who to invite in for an in person interview, I definitely had the background and skills they were looking for and she would recommend me for the next stage. She indicated the process was slow and also inquired about any other positions I was considering and my availability to interview.

That week, I followed up with a thank you note and a question about the position. No reply.
I followed up 3 weeks later as to the status of the position - I indicated that I was still very much interested but had been invited to another interview and asked if I was still a candidate for the position. No reply. The online system indicated that my resume was "under review".

I realize the job market is competitive, and I have no problem with not making the second round, they likely had a big pool of qualified candidates. That said, given the context of how things were left and that the recruiter simply ignoring follow up emails left a bad impression of both Harvard the department. How much time does it take to reply to an email?

As a result of this experience, I withdrew all of my applications from Harvard and ended up pursuing (and ultimately accepting) a position at another university.

Interview Question – How do you prepare financial reports?   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Easy Interview

CNS Intern Interview

CNS Intern
Cambridge, MA

I applied through college or university and the process took 5 days - interviewed at Harvard University in April 2012.

Interview Details – Applied through OCS and received an email within a few days. Very brief, fit interview. Extremely informal. They know you can run basic operative functions on a computer, so they are just making sure you have communication skills.

Interview Question – Just basic fit questions. A little background work is a plus.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Very flexible. The wage is set, but the hours are incredibly flexible. You set your schedule.


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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Staff Assistant Interview

Staff Assistant
Boston, MA

I applied online and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Harvard University in July 2013.

Interview Details – Initial contact was through an email inviting me to a group interview. There were two interviewers (senior staff administrators) and four interviewees. We were given impromptu questions about our previous experience, inquiries about particular instances of success and failure, and then given a critical thinking exercise.

Interview Question – Give an example of how in a difficult situation you came up with an innovative problem-solving technique.   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Postdoctoral Fellow Interview

Postdoctoral Fellow
Cambridge, MA

I applied through other source and the process took 8 weeks - interviewed at Harvard University in March 2009.

Interview Details – How I got an interview: wrote email to PI including CV and best publication, asking for possibility of postdoc. Then came for 1 day to give a talk about PhD work, meet PI, and people from the group. Got offer about 3 weeks later.

Interview Question – Questions mostly about former research, no unexpected questions.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Negotiation only about start date.


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Easy Interview

Teaching Fellow Interview

Teaching Fellow

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Harvard University in September 2013.

Interview Details – A course was short-staffed after a large influx of students wanting to take the class. They reached out through their current TF's and I was contacted since I had graduated and was in the area. I was brought in immediately with little prior communication. The world of academia is simply a far more casual place than other sectors.
After meeting with the head of the course, she asked me several questions, but mostly about my commitments during the semester (of which I had none). Shortly after she let me know she'd love to have me aboard.

Interview Question – All questions were fairly straightforward, and the resume matters more. But the most encompassing question was, "what do you plan to do to increase student participation?"   Answer Question


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Human Resources Consultant Interview

Human Resources Consultant
Cambridge, MA

I applied through other source and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Harvard University.

Interview Details – The process was straight forward. Everybody was very friendly,

Interview Question – Why should we hire an outsider and not someone within?   View Answer


2 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Financial Associate Interview

Financial Associate
Cambridge, MA

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

Interview Details – I had to interview with 5 managers for my current position. A lot of behavioral questions. I also, had to take a math test, an excel test, and a writing test. I am not sure if this is required in most other departments though.

Interview Question – the excel test was a bit unexpected.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – I negotiated for my salary. They seemed to be reluctant in the beginning, but after a few calls we decided on a number. Obviously there is a range that they have, so you have to be prepared to explain why you think you are worth so that you can negotiate your salary as high as possible. Have some concrete facts about the industry, and a similar position. It's very helpful.


Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Easy Interview

Teaching Fellow Interview

Teaching Fellow
Boston, MA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Harvard University in October 2012.

Interview Details – Most behvavioral questions. I met with the course instructor. I was referred to her by a past teaching fellow and promptly forwarded my resume for her perusal and approval. I was asked about my prior teaching experiences, why I want to be a tutor, what I think my teaching strengths and weaknesses are etc.


1 person found this helpful

Declined Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Staff Assistant Interview

Staff Assistant

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

Interview Details – I applied online through Harvard's online application system. I received a phone call one week after application submission, from the position recruiter, asking to schedule an initial 30-minute phone interview. The recruiter scheduled the interview to occur exactly one week from the time of this scheduling conversation (i.e. two weeks after application submission). While I declined to continue after the first round phone call, the recruiter had indicated subsequent steps would involve a phone or in-person interview with management and then a phone interview with HR.

Interview Question – All questions were quite standard: Tell me about your education and experience; Describe a difficult situation you've encountered in the workplace; How do you handle change in the workplace, i.e. staffing changes?; etc.   Answer Question

Reason for Declining – I was offered an opportunity to interview in the second round, but I declined due to salary needs.

See What Harvard University Employees Are Saying

 Current Anonymous Employee

Pros: “Good sources of funding, very competitive environment but fun! In addition, Cambridge is a good location to communicate with other schools/disciplines.” Full Review

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