Have you ever thought about or wondered how it is that some people have their priorities straight and always have enough time to do everything that they want to, while others are always rushing into things and can never find enough time, no matter what? So, in this article, you’ll know the interview questions about time management.
Time is one of the most underrated criteria that working professionals get enough of. It is an irreplaceable asset that is more valuable than money, especially in today’s digitally connected world.
Whether you are a fresher or a veteran, you always need to tick off your time clock. It is quite excruciating to take control of every minute of your life, given the huge number of distractions around. The importance of time management and strategizing your tasks effectively can often be more important than it is valued to be.
Time Management is the process of exercising conscious control of the time spent on specific activities. It is a juggling act of balancing different things that eventually improves efficiency to strike a better work-life balance.
Emphasizing your time management skills gives room for enhancing your performance with minimal effort and more effective strategies. Failing to manage time or poor time management skills can result in in-
- Lack of professionalism
- Missed deadlines and important appointments
- Poor professional and career reputation
- Unwanted stress
- Work and life imbalance
- Strained workplace relationships
Importance of time management in the workplace
An important aspect of professional life irrespective of the industry that you work in is time management. It has a great impact on an individual’s productivity and also reflects well on resource management and hence can be presumed as a great method to gauge a person’s potential in his workplace.
When interviewing for any position, you may encounter questions that are being asked and that help the interviewer understand your perspective on time management and how well you manage your time.
An important and quintessential part of being an employee is to know how properly you manage your time and get your work done in time without procrastinating it. During an interview, a potential employer may ask and emphasize your time-management skills to know about how well you can adapt to any office situation while showing no compromise in quality work delivery.
A very commonly asked question in an interview is ‘how do you manage your time?’.
Though this is a very general question asked, it shows a great opportunity to showcase an individual’s flexibility and time management to enhance work productivity.
Firstly, when you are answering questions regarding time management and when you know that the employer wants to screen your time management skills, being thoroughly flexible and completely focused is the first good impression that can be made.
Additionally, you can add on about how well you can draw the line between time management and long-term planning. Finally, you can conclude what changes you can further bring to your organization by brushing up on your time management skills.
The important areas that require the maximum focus on interview questions about time management are-
- Fixing deadlines and targets
- Handling last-minute changes
- Managing stress
- Prioritizing tasks effectively
- Dealing with distractions and possible interruptions
Therefore, a candidate who keeps up with these areas of focus and demonstrates his ability to effectively manage time will ensure the continuity of his company’s exemplary and product delivery.
Here is a collection of such questions asked and the potential answers that can provide an insight into how well your responses can be crafted.
Before answering any question directly, it is important to mention how you handle different aspects of time management and what you possess will set you apart from others. Stating specific examples is considered healthy.
How do you prioritize at work if you have been given multiple tasks concurrently?
This is quite a tricky question as the employer wants to not only know the answer to this question but also look forward to gauging your thorough analysis on answering it.
Your response to this question determines how effectively you prioritize tasks and determine which task needs more attention than others with minimal or no supervision.
Candidates who possess this ability to prioritize tasks efficiently without any guidance are the first to thrive in any business environment. The first step would be to mention your daily tasks scheduled and to give a detailed analysis of your potential to-do list, which is ordered by the deadline and by the level of importance given to each task.
One of the most renowned methods of answering this question is by using the STAR approach. STAR which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result is an approach or a method an individual can use to enhance their productivity and analyze time management. By using the STAR technique you can ace such interview questions about time management.
How do you limit distractions and set deadlines?
This is a pretty direct question that can be asked in an interview to determine your focus at work. Distractions and disruptions are faced by everyone at some point in their career, developing a solid plan to get rid of them and shifting focus to important things are essential as it determines an individual’s ability to excel and his perspective in the workplace.
When asked this question, try to be direct with the answer instead of beating around the bush as it gives the employer a good outlook on your clarity.
Be thorough and honest and make sure the employer knows that you have room for improvement if they find you easily distracted. Finally, develop an answer that emphasizes your ability to minimize distractions and make sure the employer hires you based on your honesty and candidness.
An interview in any given organization poses a job fixed with projects, and work assignments along with deadlines that have to be met. Your ability to meet the required deadlines is based indirectly on your time management skills and also shows your ability to adapt to new responsibilities. While answering this question, make sure to provide your viewpoints on how to manage deadlines and workload to focus and create a balanced work-life.
For instance, if asked directly on how you meet deadlines, the effective answer for such interview questions about time management would be
” Of Course meeting deadlines is important to me, but to do that I have to be completely aware of the projects I’ve been assigned with. Knowing the projects, along with working on them can automatically give me an estimated time duration of its completion.
Knowing the approximate estimation, I will start working at that moment. I will also make sure to make a list of all my assigned projects, work assignments in a separate folder which helps to get easy access along with prioritizing projects that must be completed before others according to my to-do- list.”
Why do you think time management is crucial for an individual?
This question is both direct and indirect in many ways. Answering it directly is an appealing way, but answering it thoroughly considering your setbacks is what can set you apart from the rest of the candidates.
Showing your ability to manage time can be a great start to answering this question. As you describe thoroughly the importance of time management, you can incorporate some of the ways that can be used to improve your ability to handle tasks assigned and avoid any distractions.
Show the employer how devoted you are when it comes to time management and let him know about your setbacks and how you are planning on working on them. This not only gives clear-cut clarity to the employer about your views but also gives him an insight into how honest you can be in the workplace which can be estimated to your productivity.
You can also bring up your previous role and the responsibility that you carried in executing your role to strengthen your views and perspective regarding time management.
What do you do when you feel completely overwhelmed at your work and how do you effectively manage stress at the workplace?
This can be another tricky question posed by the employer to know about your perspective on work-life balance and how you deal with stress. It can also be a personal question as the employer is keen to know your personality that can reflect your work management.
Most people fall into this trap of feeling completely exhausted and overwhelmed that they feel stressed and start delaying given work instead of starting a way to recover from the stress. This is why most employers rely on knowing about their employee’s stress management methods.
Show that you have your methods of coping when you face a lot of stress or when a pile of work shows up. You could explain that by showing your potential to-do list and how you prioritize given tasks more efficiently. The STAR method can be used to answer this question as well. A good answer or a more acceptable answer for such interview questions about time management would be.
“I won’t lie that I have it all sorted. Of course, I feel stressed at times when the workload piles up or when I feel the pressure is too much. More than the stress of getting the work done, I feel more stressed about pressurizing myself into getting that work done. So, to get rid of this I pull out a writing pad and pen down everything that I need to do for the day excluding my priorities.
Next, I will pull out all these tasks on my planner and start prioritizing each task according to its importance and the deadline to which it is supposed to be submitted. After my estimations, seeing that I have more time than I anticipated calms me down and puts me at ease.
If that is not the required answer, I will immediately start working on the topmost tasks that have been penned out on my planner and not worry about the remaining tasks. This not only helps me calm down but also avoids overthinking about it and helps me carry out my work at ease. Coffee helps during these situations, without a doubt”
What productivity tools do you use?
This is more of a technical question rather than a personality-determining one. There are many ways to track down your productivity, thanks to the advancements technology has emphasized. An answer to this question would be to jot down all the apps and the tools that are personally used by you to track your productivity and time management.
Be it a reminder application or a timer, be thorough and answer accordingly. If you don’t use any tools, be honest to accept that and make sure that the employer finds you potential enough without the usage of such tools.
A good answer to this question would be
” I am not a regular tracker of my productivity, but I make sure I bounce into those applications at least once a day. I use the reminder application installed on my phone to stay on top of all my tasks for the day. Additionally, this application is a lot more advantageous as I can carry it anywhere to track down my productivity, and I can set the time locations according to my personal needs.
Another way I try to remain more productive is by listening to music, the right kind of music that can lift me up during worse days and keep me going on better days. I like to listen to podcasts as well, whenever I find free time. Alongside, another small hack I use to remain productive is to buy headphones based on their noise-canceling feature as it helps me screen my time effectively and prioritize the right things”.
These are some of the most important questions that are usually asked in an interview to gauge the candidate’s time management skills.
A potential employer while asking such questions also looks out for the red flags in a candidate such as:-
- Lack of confidence and communication skills
- Losing sight of the bigger picture
- Postponing and delaying the assigned work
- Lack of discipline and potential
Along with these red flags, have a thorough clarity on interview questions like:-
- How do you map out your workdays efficiently?
- What is your approach to shifting priorities?
- How far can you go in re-evaluating the entire process and keeping track of your progress?
- How well is your work-life balance?
After acknowledgment of these interview questions, do your homework and groom well accordingly before attending any interview to excel at it and ace the job of your dreams.