“How Do You Prioritize Your Time?” Interview Question

Any interviewer is likely to ask you “How do you prioritize your time?” because time management is crucial in any career. What they’re looking for is to see if you know the difference between the urgent and the very important – and those aren’t the same thing. A good answer would show  that you know the difference between the two, and it’s best to give real-life examples based on what you do.

 

Share Your Daily Priorities

Whether you’re into spreadsheets, to-do lists, bubble sort technique, or any other organization method, let the interviewer know how you work. You will actually need a system to prioritize your time, but what kind of system can be tailored to your needs. Be specific, since they will need to know how to work with you in the future and if your system will work with the culture and coworkers around you. Be sure to let them know that you take on the priorities from highest to lowest, no matter what you do!

 

Show You’re Adaptable

It’s common to start one work project, only to find that you need to switch to something else. Either it’s an emergency,  a last minute client request, or something entirely different, but it’s a common occurrence at many companies. You need to show that you can adapt to anything that comes up, because while to-do lists are easy enough to write, the truly irreplaceable employee is the one who can adapt to anything. This is why the second part of your answer should include something along these lines:

-not overwhelming your workload so you can make adjustments for anything unexpected

-communicating with others on the team if any tasks have to become lower priority

-real example of when you’ve had to adjust your workload due to a new time sensitive priority, and how you coped

 

Work Life Balance

It’s essential that you don’t promise any employer more than you’re willing to deliver. First, because you won’t be able to deliver those kind of results long term, and secondly because any employer who expects you to constantly burn out probably isn’t a place you want to work. Instead of insisting that you can work miracles, make a point of saying how you will communicate with managers and other team members about how your projects. Any experienced manager will know that getting the largest workload done in the smallest amount of time isn’t always feasible, so it’d be a waste of your time anyway.

 

There are three layers to answering the question of “How do you prioritize your work?” so keep in mind: priorities, adaptability, and work-life balance.

For other interview questions, check out:

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How to Answer the “Why Should We Hire You?” Interview Question

How to Answer the “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question

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