How do you interact with a colleague you’re having issues with? What’s your approach for planning a project? What’s the toughest challenge you’ve had, and how did you deal with it? These are all examples of behavioral questions that interviewers use to get a feel for your personality, your values and what motivates you.
5 questions about time management
How well you can juggle multiple responsibilities or prioritize projects to meet deadlines goes a long way towards telling recruiters if you can excel in a busy role. In answering these questions, focus on skills and methods you’ve used to get the job done on time.
1. Give an example of how you’ve juggled multiple deadlines.
Due to some people leaving the company, our boss asked me to take on a few extra projects until we could hire replacements. To be sure I could handle the extra work, I came in an hour early and stayed an hour late every day, so my existing clients were not affected. I also took a few minutes every day to prioritize my tasks and determine what was left to be done. Each project had its own deadlines, so I kept track of due dates and soft goals I completed to ensure that I was staying on pace and would meet deadlines. These efforts paid off, as I achieved deadlines, while the clients were also so pleased they signed a long-term contract with the company.
2. Describe your system for keeping track of multiple projects.
Since my last job was working as a freelancer, project management was a major part of my operation. I coordinated my Google calendar with my phone so my personal and professional appointments were synched up, and then I blocked off two-hour segments that included other administrative tasks. That way, if I needed to work on something for much of the day, I could still follow up on important tasks that maintained the business. Most of the time I tried to balance several projects over the day so that I would maintain my focus and not overtax myself at a single problem, but when the time came to pull out all the stops and hit a deadline, I could be flexible with my schedule too.
3. How do you establish priorities while scheduling your work?
I always utilize a calendar to keep track of what I have going on. Whenever I need to plan an event, I refer to my calendar to make sure that I am not double-scheduling. When I worked my last job, I always made sure to look two weeks ahead on my calendar before scheduling shifts so that most of the time I never had to ask someone to cover for me, since I had already set my schedule accordingly. I think it’s important to have things planned out ahead of time in order to be able to give my all to each task.
4. Describe a long-term project that you were responsible for, and how you managed to keep everything on schedule.
I was put in charge of a program to revamp our website, and in the process, increase the number of users who participated in our revenue lead program. This required a large effort involving our product, marketing, sales and engineering teams, which meant keeping everyone on the same page To accomplish this, I created a Smart Sheet workflow so I could regularly update key people from each department on project progress, such as aspects of the project that were in good shape, or falling behind schedule. Whenever we encountered a new challenge, I took it upon myself to schedule meetings with all the teams to keep them in the loop, and reach a consensus on how to handle any issues. In the end, we finished the project on schedule, achieved our lead revenue goals, and have applied this approach in all projects ever since.
5. Describe a time when you were under a heavy workload. How did you handle it?
One of my co-workers was about to go on maternity leave, which meant a heavy workload for me, as I was expected to do some of my current work as well. I asked my co-worker to outline the projects she was working on, including information such as key contact people. I shadowed her for one day to ensure that I understood everything I needed to do, and before she left, we met with our supervisor to review her tasks, company expectations and other details. I organized my days by spending 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on my co-worker’s job, with the remainder of the day devoted to tasks from my current job. Keeping them separated allowed for much more efficiency. When my co-worker returned to work, all of the company’s clients expressed satisfaction with my work and all said that quality levels had stayed constant.
More interview tips and resources
For more tips on how to prepare for and handle a job interview, visit our Job Interview article center, as well as these specific sections:
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