Harvard University Interview Questions

Updated Jul 31, 2015
148 Interview Reviews

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Candidate Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Teaching Fellow Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2 daysinterviewed at Harvard University in September 2013.

    Interview

    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 Questions

    • 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
  2. Helpful (4)  

    Financial Associate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA).

    Interview

    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 Questions

    Negotiation

    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.

  3.  

    Grants Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 8 weeksinterviewed at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) in August 2013.

    Interview

    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 Questions

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  5. Helpful (2)  

    Staff Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Declined Offer
    Average Interview

    Application

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

    Interview

    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 Questions

    • 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

    Reasons for Declining

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

  6. Helpful (2)  

    Staff Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ weeksinterviewed at Harvard University (Boston, MA) in July 2013.

    Interview

    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 Questions

    • Give an example of how in a difficult situation you came up with an innovative problem-solving technique.   Answer Question
  7.  

    Staff Assistant II Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a staffing agency. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) in July 2013.

    Interview

    Extremely rigorous interview process; six separate ones at different levels before offer made.

    Interview Questions

    • How long do you see yourself remaining in this position?   1 Answer

    Negotiation

    No negotiation, but they offered the minimum of what I had determined I would accept, so negotiation was not necessary.

  8.  

    Research Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Average Interview

    Application

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

    Interview

    I applied online and received an email about 3 weeks later asking me for a phone interview (I was based on the West Coast at the time). The interview questions were fairly basic - lots of questions about transferable skills (ability to understand and communicate research findings, manage projects, work with faculty) but no real content-based discussion. The second phone interview came about a month later with the same person I originally interviewed with and the center Executive Director. Largely a rehash of the first interview. Finally, they flew me out for a day to see the office and meet them in person. No other members of the team were there, and I didn't have to answer any questions - just basically listened to them talk. All in all, the most frustrating part of the process was definitely the lengthy process - pr over 2 months when all was said and done - and then they asked me to move across the country within 2 weeks.

    Negotiation

    I negotiated for moving expenses and they covered them. Salary was very fair, and benefits are great.

  9.  

    Postdoctoral Fellow Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) in June 2013.

    Interview

    It was one day entire day interview process. First, you will usually have a meeting with PI. Then, you will start to meet with other people in the lab. They will have a crew of people to have a lunch to talk with you as well. Then, you will give a presentation about your research. After that, you will meet more people.

    Negotiation

    It is a set format, but vacation time was flexible.

  10.  

    Faculty Assistant III Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeksinterviewed at Harvard University (Boston, MA).

    Interview

    Application via the Harvard Website - Group Interview (4 candidates and 2 interviewers - Individual Interview (2 Interviewers) - 90 minute skills test (testing copy editing, internet research, powerpoint) . It takes a long time to hear back from the online application , and then it all happens rapidly.

    Interview Questions

    • The questions were all behavioral-interview questions. Perhaps the toughest questions always involve past criticisms of your work.   Answer Question
  11. Helpful (1)  

    Multiple Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer

    Application

    I applied online – interviewed at Harvard University.

    Interview

    Applying online is very easy. Phone screening by HR, followed by one or multiple interviews (depending on school and department) with hiring team. Study Behavioral Interviewing as it is the preferred format of interviewing at Harvard. I found the most helpful thing in getting jobs at HU was displaying passion for the position. HU relies on having people who are VERY dedicated. Once you are in, you are in. Transferring is very simple and it is easier to get an interview if you are a current employee. If you are a member of the union, they can assist in getting you interviews.

    Interview Questions

    • Anything starting with "Tell me about a time..." Luckily I had studied some talking points because for every job I have held at HU, these have been the types of questions asked.   1 Answer

    Negotiation

    Not a lot of negotiation. If you have other offers, you can get them to pay you more. A lower percentage of people get hired at HU than get accepted to go to school there, so unless they LOVE you, you do not have a lot of leverage.

See What Harvard University Employees Are Saying

 Former Assistant Director in Boston, MA

Pros: “Amazing content, great professors, learned a lot. Had a terrific opportunity to try many things, including producing a film. Very creative people, very dedicated.”“Amazing content, great professors, learned a lot. Had a terrific opportunity to try many things, including producing a film. Very creative people, very dedicated.” – Full Review

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