Hiring Process

Harvard is a large organization, including more than 15,000 employees. The Harvard Art Museums partner with Harvard Recruitment Services to manage our hiring process. The following details pertain to the Harvard Art Museums recruiting process in particular; other schools and entities at Harvard may have different practices. Please note that while the following details are meant to be a helpful reference, each search is unique and may not follow the timelines or exact process described below.

Search Job Openings

Our application system, ASPIRE, allows you to search positions based on a variety of criteria. We recommend reading the candidate user guide to familiarize yourself with the system. You can also set up search agents to alert you when a position matching your skill set becomes available. We encourage you to check our open positions regularly. Harvard also offers career outreach sessions every other month to the general public. More information can be found at http://employment.harvard.edu/careers/findingajob/.

Create a Profile

If you are not ready to apply but would like to be in our database, you can upload a résumé and submit a profile that will be searchable by our recruiters.

Submit an Application (one for each job you are interested in)

To be considered an active candidate, you must apply online via our ASPIRE recruiting system for each position for which you would like to be considered. While cover letters are not always required, we do recommend that you submit one for each position. If you do not submit a cover letter with your initial application, we may ask you to submit one later in the process. Some roles may require a transcript or writing sample, so please read the job description carefully for these details.

Email Confirmation of Receipt of Résumé

You will immediately receive an email to confirm receipt of your application. This email will reference the requisition number of the position for which you applied. Please keep track of not only the requisition number but also the job title so that you can refer back to this position.

Résumé Review

Harvard Recruitment Services receives and reviews every résumé that is submitted for each job. At times there are exceptions to this practice; if it is the case that your résumé is not reviewed, you will receive an email specifying that. While your résumé is under review, your ASPIRE status will appear as “Under Review.”

Email Confirmation of Status

If you are not selected to move on to a phone screening, you will receive an email updating you on the status of your candidacy. We do receive many applicants for each open position, so it may be four to six weeks (sometimes longer) before you receive a definitive response.

Phone Screen

Following résumé review, the most qualified candidates will be invited to have a phone interview. If selected, you will receive a phone call from a recruiter or the hiring department. During this phone interview we will discuss information such as your employment history, the reasons for your interest in the position, and compensation information. After that, a decision will be made with regard to a first-round interview. Typically, it will take one to three weeks for you to hear back from us. If you are not selected for an interview, you will receive an email letting you know the status of your candidacy.

First Interview

If selected for an in-person interview you will meet with the hiring manager and possibly members of the department where the position resides. This interview is an opportunity to get to know the manager, learn about the department culture, and gather insight into the specifics of the position. These interviews combine behavioral interview questions with résumé-related questions; the manager will try to gain a better understanding of your experience and how it relates to the position. If you are not selected for an additional interview, you will receive notification from the manager or the recruiter, typically within one to three weeks.

We encourage you to explore our website in order to learn more about the Harvard Art Museums in general, as well as the departmental role/area to which you are applying.

Note: Please bring a few copies of your résumé to each in-person interview you have at the museums.


Certain positions will require you to complete a skills assessment in order to evaluate a specific skill set that is necessary to perform a particular component of the job. If a skills assessment is required you will be made aware of that during the phone screen or first interview.

Second Interview

A second-round interview generally involves meeting with additional members of the department where the job is located and may include meeting other employees who work closely with the position. At this interview stage, you will have a more in-depth look at the role and how it relates to the broader departmental and organizational structure. You should be prepared to ask questions and engage in a deeper conversation regarding what you can bring to the position.

Additional Interviews

For senior-level positions or positions that work across many different departments, there may be additional rounds of interviews. We hope that you will take this time to absorb as much information as possible about the position and the work environment. This is not just an opportunity for the team to evaluate you, but also your chance to ensure that the Harvard Art Museums will be the right place for you.

Background Check and References

Our final step in the evaluation process involves reference and background checks. We ask all finalists to provide three to five professional references, including direct supervisors (current or past). Additionally, we will conduct a background check through a third-party vendor. The exact background check to be performed will be listed with the job posting on ASPIRE.

Job Offer

Congratulations! Following successful completion of your reference and background checks, and after passing final candidate selection, you will receive a verbal offer from the Human Resources Office or the hiring manager. We will then send an official offer in writing, and will partner with you as we welcome you into the Harvard Art Museums community!