Questions at Harvard University interviews

We analyzed 314 interview reviews for Harvard University from various job sites, social network groups and forums.

Here are the most frequent job interview questions asked by HR managers during initial phone or onsite interviews. This list does not include technical or factual questions.

10 frequent non-technical questions at Harvard University:

What is your greatest weakness?
Tell me about yourself
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
What was the biggest mistake you made in your most recent job? How did you handle it?
What are your long-term goals?
What would your previous coworkers or clients tell me about you?
What skills are you looking to develop on your next job? Why?
What is your ideal work environment?
What experience do you have in this field?
What do you do if you disagree with someone at work?

According to our research, hiring managers at Harvard University ask soft skills interview questions 1% more than at other companies.

Harvard University interview question statistics

1. What is your greatest weakness?top question

How to answer

This question ranks as the most challenging for many people. Fortunately, Mr. Simon is here to help!

Interviewers ask this question to gauge your level of self-awareness, your honesty and openness, and your capability for self-improvement.

  1. About Yourself

    No one is perfect and your interviewer doesn't expect you to be perfect either.

    While it is good to be honest and open, it will not help you to put yourself down.

    What's important is to find a weakness that you have overcome or something that is not related to the position for which you are applying.

    For example, one of our clients admitted that he is not very good at public speaking and that he has recently become a member of Toastmasters International to improve. What a respectful answer and approach, in my view!

  2. About The Company

    Research the company (website, social media, etc) to learn about the company culture.

    What personal and professional qualities do they value?

  3. About The Fit

    It is important that the weakness you decide to talk about is not one that will prevent you from performing the job for which you're applying.

    For example, if you're applying for a front-end developer position, do not talk about how you are struggling to understand HTML code.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Harvard University based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

Use this question to sell yourself!

It's important to show how well you've overcome a weakness by motivating yourself and learning a new skill to grow professionally.

Statistics

This question is asked 51% more frequently at Harvard University than at other companies.

Take a quiz

Take a quick quiz and check if you’re ready to answer this question at your next job interview:

Which of the following would be the best answer:

ASometimes I just work too hard

BI have trouble saying “no” when a colleague asks for help and I have my own work to finish

CI am a perfectionist

DI cannot think of a single thing

2. Tell me about yourself

How to answer

This question may sound vague, but it actually requires a matter of fact, concise and relevant answer. Here’s how you can approach it.

  1. About Yourself

    What is your current occupation? Define yourself professionally in one statement.

    Pick 3 key skills that make you great at your work (your Key Selling Points). How have you applied these skills?

    Try to give some numbers to support your statement.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company.

    Based on what you know about the company and the job description, why are you interested in the position you are applying for?

  3. About The Fit

    • Based on your Key Selling Points and your knowledge about the company, why do you think you are a good fit for this position?
    • Can you support your statement with relevant examples from your past experiences?

    Try to be concise and stay within 1-2 minutes.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Harvard University based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

You can also end with a question like:

Do you know what the current needs in the company/department are, where my skills and experience can help?"

That can help you learn more about the company and the job, turn the "interrogation" into a conversation and will allow you to relax some tension.

Read our blog post to learn more about how to answer this question.

Statistics

This question is asked 25% less frequently at Harvard University than at other companies.

Take a quiz

Take a quick quiz and check if you’re ready to answer this question at your next job interview:

Pick the best answer:

AMy name is Andrew Franklin, I am 28 years old, and I am looking for a job that pays well.

BHello, my name is Natalie Price. I have two children and I love playing billiards and travelling. I am 33 years old.

CHi Mr. Simon, my name is Stanley Clark and I am a certified Project Management professional known for completing projects on time and on budget. I am passionate about building agile work culture and delivering results.

DHi Mr. Simon, my name is Dorothy Hanson. I have previously worked as an accountant in retail, but currently I am trying to transition into the field of healthcare.

3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

How to answer

This question belongs to a family of behavioral, or even more precisely, reflective questions.

The interviewer wants to see whether you are reflective about yourself, whether you are ambitious and strive to grow as a professional, whether you like to learn and develop your skills.

They are also looking for your ambitions to fit the career path opportunities related to the position you are applying for.

  1. About Yourself

    Presumably, you are interested to grow professionally.

    Think about the possibilities that may lie ahead for you: take a personality test (I recommend 16Personalities which is based on Myers-Briggs test), research the internet on what career paths are possible with your skills and current job.

    What challenges do you like overcoming?

    For example, if you are applying for a software tester position, you may find it fascinating to master automated testing in full and eventually become a software engineer, or you may be a natural trainer and love coaching other people which may lead you to become a QA team or department lead, or you may be more interested in understanding business aspects of requirements which may logically lead you into a Business Analyst position.

    However, if you are happy just where you are and want to further your current skills, that is also fine as long as there is a growth path for you that can be imagined and described.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company to learn what career opportunities may be available in the department you are applying to, and what the trends are in the company in general.

    • Is the business expanding, are they opening new locations, or starting new projects?
    • Or are they heavily automating and cutting staff?

    Let’s say you are applying for a UX designer position for a brand-new product.

    In the future, if the product becomes a success - which is what the company hopes for - the company will hire more designers and you may become a lead designer, or you may become a product manager.

    On a side note: If you train your mind to be open to opportunities you will be amazed at how much this world has to offer to you!

  3. About The Fit

    And, of course, try to see where the perfect fit lies between your own potential and aspirations, and the company’s trends and hopes.

    However, beware of the risk of showing too much excitement for future opportunities compared to your attitude towards the current position.

    If you aren’t really excited about the position you are applying for and you demonstrate this lack of enthusiasm, the interviewer may conclude that you are not a good fit for the current position.

    Try to find a source of excitement in the current position as well, otherwise, you may be doing yourself a disservice by applying to a position you will find boring in 2-3 months.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Harvard University based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

This question gives you a good opportunity to showcase your Key Selling Points (e.g. “As I am very good at delegating tasks, I can easily see myself leading a team of software testers in the future…”), and end your statement by asking about current initiatives and goals at the company.

It is generally NOT a good idea to say something like:

“Oh, I cannot imagine what happens to me tomorrow, let alone in 5 years”.

This will show you as a person who is unimaginative and not forward-thinking enough to grow with and be a good fit for the company.

Statistics

This question is asked 7% less frequently at Harvard University than at other companies.

4. What was the biggest mistake you made in your most recent job? How did you handle it?

How to answer

It’s important to know how to answer a job interview question about mistakes. They ask questions like this to learn how you handle challenges. They also want to determine your weaknesses, and decide if you have what it takes to do the job well.

It’s a chance for the interviewer to see that you can learn from your mistakes and use the experience to get better.

  1. About Yourself

    Do your best to tell a positive story about how the mistake was made, how you dealt with it and what learned from it.

    We all make mistakes from time-to-time.

    Answering some of the following questions will help you understand your own view of dealing with mistakes and their consequences. For instance:

    • How do you use a mistake to improve your abilities?
    • Are you self-aware enough to acknowledge failure and weakness?
    • Do you take smart risks?
    • How do you view success, failure, and risk in general?
    • Do you take responsibility for past mistakes instead of putting the blame on others?
    • If the situation repeats, what would you do differently? What would you do again?
  2. About The Company

    Before the interview, look over the job listing, research the company. Try to think of a mistake you have made in the past that is not too closely related to the requirements of the job you are interviewing for.

    What kind of challenges might you face if you get the job here?

  3. About The Fit

    It’s your opportunity to emphasize the skills or qualities you gained from your past negative experience that are important for the job you’re interviewing for now.

    Put a positive spin on your response by defining the “mistake” as a “learning experience” that led to your increased competency in the workplace.

    Talk about a specific example of a time you made a mistake. Briefly explain what the mistake was; quickly switch over to what you learned, or how you improved, after making that mistake.

    You might also explain the steps you took to make sure that mistake never happened again. Say that something you may have struggled with in the past has actually now became one of your strengths.

    Pick a story that ends with a compelling example of a lesson learned. Tell your story using the STAR method.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Harvard University based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

Make absolutely sure that the interviewer understands that you learned from the experience.

Never blame others for what you did (however, if you were part of a team failure, you could relate this experience, just be sure to own up to your part in it).

Always be accountable for what you could have done differently in the failure.

Demonstrate that you’ve had the maturity to benefit from previous “lessons learned” and you can move on with increased wisdom and competency.

Statistics

This question is asked 16.2x more frequently at Harvard University than at other companies.

5. What are your long-term goals?

How to answer

Even in this age of the so-called Gig Economy, employers are always looking for people who can become their strong and loyal “soldiers,” a part of their “army” to help them conquer their market share against their competitors.

So, even if at this moment this job may be a temporary contract, you never know what opportunities may present themselves to you in this company.

Trust me, your hiring manager doesn’t know either!

So, be open to opportunities and use this question to emphasize how your personal goals correspond with those of the company.

  1. About Yourself

    Start with honestly assessing yourself. (At this moment, you are not sharing these thoughts with anyone, so be as open as you can).

    Imagine that you have all the resources in the world and that all roads are open for you.

    • How would you use them?
    • Which road(s) would you choose?
    • What do you see on the horizon in that direction?

    Be audacious and don’t limit yourself. There is no longer a perspective than “long-term,” so be as futuristic as you possibly can.

    List a few “road” options that you would be enthusiastic about going down.

    For example, this list may be as broad as the following:

    • writer
    • choir director
    • software engineer and architect
    • CEO of a unicorn startup company,
    • entrepreneur.

    As William Shakespeare once said, “We know what we are, but we know not what we may be.”

  2. About The Company

    Now, look at the company.

    • What is the industry they operate in?
    • What is the position you are applying for, and what are potential career growth possibilities within the department, company, and industry?
  3. About The Fit

    Which of your “road” options correspond best with the opportunities presented by this company?

    Highlight this option and focus on it. Imagine, in as much detail as you can, going down this road.

    What would be the major milestones for you, in order to move towards your goal?

    Describe the chosen option by focusing on the first 1-2 milestones, and by presenting it in light of company goals and current initiatives.

    For example, if you are applying for a project manager position in a corporation engaged in the education industry, and your “road” option is “CEO,” your next career step may be a program manager, or an innovations and research manager.

    Explain why you are enthusiastic about reaching these goals, and what makes you think you have the necessary traits and skills to reach them.

    How can the company benefit from these traits and skills of yours already today, in the current role you are applying for?

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Harvard University based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

Framing your answer in the same terms used by the company will help ensure the interviewer can easily understand your language and help both of you to be “on the same page.”

The easier you make it for the interviewer, the better are your chances they will “vote” for you over other candidates.

Statistics

This question is asked 2.7x more frequently at Harvard University than at other companies.

6. What would your previous coworkers or clients tell me about you?

How to answer

This question is another way of saying, “Tell me about yourself” but from another person’s point of view.

Most prospective employers ask this interview question to compare your self-assessment to how your references might describe you and to assess your soft skills to determine how well you’d fit into their group dynamic and company culture.

  1. About Yourself

    Spend some time reflecting on how others perceive you so that you can speak smoothly without overinflating or undervaluing yourself.

    Recall conversations with coworkers or managers in which you received acknowledgment or feedback.

    It is an opportunity for you to share your best traits (your Key Selling Points).

    • Would your coworkers and clients say that you are dependable, trustworthy, flexible, honest?
    • Do you always show up to meetings on time and promptly reply to emails?
    • Would your coworkers say you are punctual and responsive?

    If you frequently lend a hand when co-workers or customers struggle, your colleagues, clients and managers would highly likely say that you are helpful.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company to learn what the employer or interviewer values.

    Compare their values with your qualities that you think would be a good fit and carefully read the job description.

    The employer's job posting is a great guide for what employers want to see in candidates.

  3. About The Fit

    Use the question as an opportunity to emphasize your strengths.

    It’s important to highlight how well you communicate and how well your personality and work style will match the company and team culture.

    Using the STAR method, describe a successful team project from your previous job mentioning how well you interacted with your colleagues.

    For example:

    My past coworkers have told me that I am highly organized and quite good at time management. During one specific project, my team members gave me praise for developing and sticking to a timeline for all the different aspects of the project. We ended up successfully completing the project ahead of time, and it went really well! I’d love to have a similar relationship with my team members in this position.

    If by chance you didn’t get along well with your coworkers at your last job or your coworkers would be likely to note that you didn’t fit in, it could mean that the company culture wasn’t a good fit for you.

    Make sure that if the job you are interviewing for has a similar company culture, or you may not be deemed a good fit for that either.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Harvard University based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

A potential hiring manager may check your references, so it’s important to be honest and consistent with the feedback you give the interviewer, and the feedback the former manager or colleagues will give to you.

Statistics

This question is asked 8.3x more frequently at Harvard University than at other companies.

7. What skills are you looking to develop on your next job? Why?

How to answer

When employers ask you about skills you would like to develop, they are looking for honesty in the way you answer.

A common target of the question is to discover how motivated you are to extend yourself. If you are willing to learn, then you are probably more motivated to do the job well.

They might also be trying to determine whether you’ll be a good long-term fit for the company. Are you looking for an opportunity to grow with an organization – or will your plans take you to another employer before long?

  1. About Yourself

    Answering the question, reflect on yourself. Show that you are concerned and active about your own evolution.

    You can indicate how development has worked for you in the past, give examples.

    • What qualities do you wish to develop in yourself both professionally and personally?
    • What kind of culture do you want to work in?
    • What motivates you?
    • What qualities do you feel make strong, healthy relationships?
    • What skills do you admire most in your role models?

    And probably the most important is: What will help you to achieve your future goals?

    Choose something you’re already pretty good at, but still trying to improve even more. Maybe it is something that you learned a long time ago but haven’t used in recent jobs very often?

  2. About The Company

    Do your research and learn as much as possible about the organization and the career path you might forge there. Read the company’s story on their website, review their LinkedIn page, explore their blog.

    What personal and professional qualities do they value and what can you learn if they hire you?

  3. About The Fit

    No matter what skills you say you want to improve, however, make sure that you follow it up with what you’re doing about it.

    Focus on a work skill that may not be critical to your industry or job level and demonstrate how you would like to develop this skill further, implying you already have a level of competency. This way you won't be sounding negative about yourself.

    You could say something like “Coworkers often come to me for advice on how to write or format a document they are working on. I know that I am good at this (that’s why they come to me in the first place), but I have no formal training on mentoring others. I would like to take a course or two on mentoring others that would help them while also improving my own skills in this area.”

    Say you are willing to learn new things and take on new challenges. Show employers that you’re self-motivated and actively looking for ways to improve your skills and value in your career.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Harvard University based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

If you choose one of the more common working skills such as networking, presentation, mediation, technical, coaching or mentoring, make sure that they are not anything that’s vital or crucial to the job you’re interviewing for.

For example, if you are applying for a manager position, you don’t want to say that you need to work on developing your supervisory skills.

Statistics

This question is asked 3.4x more frequently at Harvard University than at other companies.

8. What is your ideal work environment?

How to answer

Happy and motivated employees are great at work when compared to employees who are uncomfortable with the organization’s work culture. This means that work culture plays an important role in the performance of the employees.

Interviewers ask this question to understand your potential in the workplace and your personality; they want to uncover whether you’re the sort of individual who can excel in the type of environment they offer.

  1. About Yourself

    To describe your ideal work environment, you need to make the answer fit both your professional and personal preferences.

    • What inspires and motivates you?
    • What kind of work environment helps you to be at your best?
    • What talents can you reveal when you are comfortable?
    • What aspects of your character can increase your professional opportunities?
    • Are you flexible enough to adjust to different environments without any issues if needed?
  2. About The Company

    Your answer should reflect the working environment of the business you’re interviewing with, so it’s important that you research the company thoroughly.

    Head over to their website and read their mission statement and other hints at their culture.

    Look on LinkedIn for any contacts you may have that know about the company (or even better, that actually work or worked there) and reach out to them for insights. Read feedbacks on websites like Glassdoor.

    • What goals does the company have?
    • Does it have formal or informal structures?
    • What does it value in its employees?
  3. About The Fit

    Work environment not only means the culture of the company but also refers to the physical place where you will be working.

    In addition to considering the type of company you will be working for, you should also think about things such as the size of the office, the size of your future team, and what you see around you, when you are in for the interview.

    Make sure that your vision aligns with the company’s existing cultural and physical environment.

    Regardless of the size of the company, you should be able to tell the interviewer why that company fits what you are looking for.

    If you are applying to a larger company, you might want to emphasize that job security is important to you.

    If your prospective job is with a smaller company - state that knowing everyone’s name allows you to feel connected.

    To convince them that you’re the ideal candidate you should focus on your aspirations for future and professional growth.

    Also, mention your teamwork skills. Say that it should be the place where you can work with different people to produce the best results possible.

    Ensure the interviewer that you are someone who knows exactly what you want.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Harvard University based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

If you want to leave a lasting impression of yourself, don’t build your answer just with the company, its website information and its manner of operations.

Try to be unique and stay away from clichés.

Statistics

This question is asked 6.2x more frequently at Harvard University than at other companies.

9. What experience do you have in this field?

How to answer

This question may help you convince the interviewer how smoothly you would fit into the position to which you are applying. It's your chance to WOW them! Be sure to focus on the experience that is relevant to the company and position.

  1. About Yourself

    Start with defining your Key Selling Points you want to emphasize for this position.

    • What job experiences brought you to those points?
    • What were the job titles and the most relevant responsibilities?
  2. About The Company

    Do your research of the company and the requirements for the position.

    • What is the company looking for in terms of experiences and qualifications?
    • What problems are they trying to solve with this position?

    Highlight 3-5 key required experiences or skills from the job description.

  3. About The Fit

    Which of your Key Selling Points match with the required experiences or skills? Can you think of an example story showcasing this match?

    Nowadays, every hiring manager wants results, so think in terms of specific achievements and try to structure your example accordingly.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Harvard University based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

When telling your story, remember to talk about your STARs!
S - What was the Situation?
T - What was your Task?
A - What Action did you take?
R - Talk about the Results.

Statistics

This question is asked 7% more frequently at Harvard University than at other companies.

10. What do you do if you disagree with someone at work?

How to answer

In the workplace, it is not always possible to agree with everyone since we are all human beings and have our own unique thought processes.

This question helps to find out how you handle situations of conflict and disagreement with other people at work and whether the disagreement is controlled or acrimonious. The interviewers will also note whether your response shows that you will fight, give in, or seek proactive resolution.

  1. About Yourself

    Think of the times you had to deal with disagreement with your co-workers.

    • What were the different ways you were able to address the situation?
    • Did you try to look at the matter at hand from the other person's perspective or did you always stick with your own viewpoint?
    • What were the key lessons you learned through your experience?
  2. About The Company

    Research the company and its culture.

    • What do they value?
    • How do they deal with conflict resolution?
    • How do the employees value each other?
    • Do they have any specific standards and policies?
  3. About The Fit

    Your response should show that you are reasonable and thoughtful, always trying to keep the situation under control, avoid disputes if you feel that dialogue may become aggressive.

    Tell the interviewer that if you disagree with someone, you

    • always focus on facts
    • listen to the points they are presenting
    • never attack his or her ideas and beliefs, because that's not at all helpful or productive
    • recognize the good.

    These statements will help you to highlight your skills like listening, communication and emotional intelligence.

    Give examples from your own experiences of how you used politeness and adaptability.

    Phrases such as “What you are saying may be correct, but I do not think it is applicable in this situation,” “I think ABC is a better solution. What do you think?” Or “Can we try out this option instead?” show how you master potential conflict situations.

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How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Harvard University based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

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Pro Tip

Emphasize that you look at professional differences of opinion as a positive thing.

Remember that even though it is important to put your views forward, it is also important to understand what the other person’s views are.

Explain that your goal is not to win but to clear the air in any disagreement at work for the benefit of the company.

Statistics

This question is asked 7.1x more frequently at Harvard University than at other companies.

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This page has been updated on February 3, 2021.

You can practice answering this question, as well as over 160 other common job interview questions from Harvard University by engaging in a mock interview with Mr. Simon. As an artificial being, his undeniable benefits include:

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