Time Management - Interview Questions

How do you prioritize tasks?


Your response to this question should clarify to your interviewer how efficiently you evaluate which activities require more attention and focus than the other. When responding, identify a scenario in which you prioritized one role over another without compromising any other obligations you had to fulfill. Use the star method to answer this question.

I build a to-do list for myself every day when I get to work. This list includes the things I need to complete during that day. I organize my list by the degree of priority and deadline so that I can first concentrate on the most important and urgent tasks while remembering all the other tasks on the list to ensure that they are all completed. In my last job, I was promoted to team manager, and my work duties changed to include less background support and more customer interaction. I adapted to the transition by responding to emails first thing each day. I then draw up a list of clients I have to call and answer all their questions when I do call them.

How do you manage deadlines?


Many workplace projects have tight deadlines that also maintain the quality and standard set by the organization and avoid unnecessary delays. Your ability to beat deadlines reflects on your total time management skills as well as the ability to adapt to new responsibilities. Describe how you manage your assignments, tasks, and deadlines when addressing this question. By adding more detailed information about your project management procedures, you will convince the interviewer that you are well-organized and always deliver projects to time.

It is important to me to meet deadlines, and so I use project management software to keep track of all my projects and their due dates. When new assignments come up, I add them to my software list to include the deadline, which helps me to prioritize tasks that have to be done on my to-do list. I also divide bigger projects into smaller, more manageable tasks so that in the days leading up to the deadline, I can quickly finish them.

Can you describe a situation in which you were late to complete a task, or you missed a deadline?


This is often a difficult question to answer in an interview because it asks the candidate to talk about failure, which is what most people try to avoid. The interviewer is not only looking at how you failed but, more importantly, about why you failed. Usually, the answer lies in the conditions and the circumstances surrounding such a situation. Should you take full responsibility for not reaching a time limit? Or is it a burden that totally depends on others? Your best strategy is to think about a specific case where you missed a deadline due to unexpected or unplanned circumstances and take full responsibility for the shortcoming and talk about what you have been doing to prevent such a scenario from repeating itself ion the future.

I have both a direct line manager and a dotted line manager in my current position. Recently, due to a vital firefighting request from my dotted line manager, I had my primary project disrupted. While my direct line manager approved of working on this request, it took me off my production schedule for my primary project. I was able to tackle the firefighting issue and still execute on my primary project, but it ended up being more than a week late due to the diversion. I talked to my direct line manager about this, and we decided to set up contingency buffer time in future projects to enable me to move to the dotted line department if and when necessary. I also discussed with my dotted line boss about training another worker in the department so that in these types of circumstances, I would not be the only person to cover.

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