Time management is an important skill that every employee should have. It ensures the meeting of deadlines and enhances productivity. You should therefore expect questions on time management if you have an upcoming interview.
This article will cover some of the most common time management interview questions, carefully selected from several interviews. Remember, most of them cut across different professions and will apply regardless of the position or job you are interviewing for. Take a look at the following:
1. Walk Us Through How You Normally Manage Deadlines
I believe that every employee should strive toward meeting deadlines. I normally use several project management software tools to track all my tasks and their deadlines and make regular updates as time goes by to ensure that everything is captured. Additionally, I prioritize tasks based on their urgency and break down smaller projects into bits that can be easily managed. I am happy to report that I usually meet 100% of my deadlines unless there are unprecedented fatal changes.
2. Do You Normally Take Work Home With You?
I am a hardworking employee, so I usually try as much as possible to handle everything within the working hours by staying productive and limiting all distractions. I start handling tasks as soon as I have prioritized them, which offers me better control. I don’t prefer taking work home with me unless there are last-minute changes that must be attended to meet set deadlines.
3. Why Do You Think Time Management Is Necessary?
I have always invested in acquiring excellent time management skills as I understand the necessity of time management. It ensures that employees stay productive and meet set deadlines. It also relieves the stress of a huge workload or poor planning. People who manage their time well usually post better results than their counterparts, explaining its importance in the workplace.
4. In Your Opinion, What’s The Best Way Of Limiting Distractions?
Limiting distractions when attending to tasks is important as it enhances productivity. I have realized that building focus starts with the smallest of things. For example, clearing the desk when one gets to work and putting away all the trash can be a good way of limiting distractions. I also usually try as much as possible to avoid thinking about external factors and indulge myself wholly in my work, which has proven useful.
5. Walk Us Through How You Normally Prioritize Tasks
Task prioritization is an important aspect of time management. I normally have a to-do list of all the tasks that need attention throughout the day. Afterward, I arrange the tasks in order of priority, beginning with the most urgent to the least urgent. If both have the same level of urgency, I normally begin with the least demanding to create more time for the relatively technical ones. I am confident in my task prioritization ability, which comes in handy severally in my work.
6. How Do You Maintain A Good Life-Work Balance?
A good life-work balance is important for enhanced productivity and stress relief. I wholly focus on my responsibilities while at the workplace, shutting out any outside distractions. While outside work, my focus shifts to my hobbies and self-advancement programs, which are normally highly fulfilling. I don’t usually let myself be entirely consumed with work without having time to look out for my personal life. Some of my go-to hobbies include painting, working out, and singing. Regrading self-advancement, I usually pursue many psychology and personality courses at any given time.
7. Describe A Team You Highlighted Excellent Time Management Skills
I have always been an excellent time manager. While working on a project in my former company, sudden changes were made to the project’s scope threatening timely execution. Knowing the project’s urgency, we had to plan accordingly since there was no additional time. I sat the team down and revisited our scope together, planned, prioritized tasks, and later delegated work afresh. We also worked on limiting distractions and managed to handle the project within the original period.
8. Have You Ever Missed A Deadline?
Yes. I have only missed a deadline once in my working experience. I was working on an urgent request when one of my bosses added me some more work, classified as ‘extremely urgent. I was the only one who could handle it, given my expertise; therefore, the delegation was out of the question. I tried multitasking, but both needed high levels of focus. Since I couldn’t split myself into two or delegate, I completed the one I was formerly handling and immediately embarked on the latter, which proved too exhausting. I worked over the weekend awaiting Monday’s presentation but couldn’t have it in time. I only presented 3/4 of the work, making the other boss unhappy. However, I knew that I had tried my best.
9. Can You Rate Your Time Management Skills?
On a scale of 1-10, I would say that my time management skills are at 9. I have slowly acquired excellent time management skills, which have been useful. However, I know there is still room for improvement, given that I sometimes have to take work home with me or ask for help. I am focused on improving my craft and will get to 10 with time.
10. How Do You Normally Delegate Work?
I have been a team leader for some time and therefore mandated to delegate work. I normally consider my workmates’ skill levels and experience when giving out tasks. I normally hive the challenging aspects to the most skilled or experienced to ensure that we meet the set deadlines while the less experienced or skilled get the relatively lighter roles. I also meet with the team members every day to check on our progress or asses performance, which comes in handy in project management.
11. Have You Ever Had To Leave A Task Unfinished?
Yes. I had to let a task go unfinished and delegate it to my assistant in my former role. Even though it weighed heavily on my conscience, given that I never let anything go unfinished, I knew it was necessary. A client we had been chasing for quite some time scheduled a meeting, and as the employee charged with winning them over, I had to make travel plans and leave. It became an immediate priority that couldn’t be ignored. I managed to close the deal and came back just in time to make final changes to what my assistant had done.
12. How Do You Normally Ensure That Your Team Members Meet The Set Deadlines?
As a team leader, I usually ensure that the project is done within its deadline. Therefore, I always push my team and ensure every member does their part. When delegating tasks, I consider the abilities of all members and only delegate what they can handle within the set duration. I also normally have daily meetings with them to assess progress and see if we will complete the project in time, which happens 99% of the time.
13. Have You Ever Asked For Extra Responsibilities In Your Role?
Yes. While Working on a software development project, I was given a task that I had done repeatedly in my career and completed within record time. Seeing that my team members were struggling with their parts when I had nothing to do, I offered to help and, in doing so, took up a few extra responsibilities, which I gladly attended to. We managed to complete the project earlier than we had anticipated.
14. Have You Ever Handled Too Much Work? What Did You Do?
My supervisor once added extra tasks on top of the ones I had. I couldn’t ask for help with some based on the level of expertise and experience they needed. I decided to plan well by listing all the tasks based on their urgency. I began with the most urgent and, seeing that I wasn’t going to meet the set deadlines, asked some of my colleagues for help with the relatively easier tasks. I also limited all outside distractions, and on completing the tasks I was personally handling, I went through the ones my colleagues had offered to help me handle. I was able to complete everything within the set duration.
15. How Does Technology Help You Manage Time?
Technology plays a big role in time management. I normally use project management tools and applications to plan and prioritize my work, which helps me keep on schedule. I can also time myself and manage my team members thanks to several software products that this company uses. Lastly, technology has simplified processes, which comes in handy in handling tasks, thereby lessening the time taken to complete some tasks.
16. How Do You Normally Go About Handling Several Conflicting Tasks?
Even though I love working in busy and fast-paced settings, they come with their fair share of challenges. I have had to attend to several conflicting tasks in my career. The best way to go about them is through proper planning. Whenever I have multiple conflicting tasks, I usually take time to strategize after listing them together with their deadlines. As a general norm, I usually start with the most urgent and multitask where possible. I am glad that I have acquired excellent multitasking skills over the year, which have come in handy on a number of occasions.
17. Have You Ever Had To Report To Several Managers? How Do Go About Prioritizing Tasks?
I reported to two managers in my last role and, therefore, had to handle tasks from both. Even though it was challenging initially, I got the hang of it as time passed. I would take turns handling their work with both deadlines in mind. I would also focus on the urgent ones and then work on the others later. At times I’d multitask if they weren’t as heavy or engaging. All in all, I managed and never had any problem with either of the bosses.
18. Describe A Typical Day At Work
My days begin early as I prefer getting to work before anyone else. After clearing my desk and checking that the ventilation is working, I sit down to plan my work. I make a point to confirm all the next day’s tasks in the evening, meaning I usually know what needs my attention when I report to work. I will then prepare a to-do list and prioritize work based on urgency. It is my norm, to begin with checking emails and answering calls that went to voice mails before tackling everything on the to-do list one by one. I also normally time myself to ensure I meet all the set deadlines.
19. In Your Opinion, What Can We Do To Enhance Time Management In This Institution?
I briefly looked around when coming in, and I’m glad about what you have done regarding office partitioning. However, you would save more time if you resorted to an open office layout, where employees are physically near each other and don’t have to move from office to office. It would also save your manager time when supervising employees.
20. If You Took A One-Week Leave And Came Back To Find Your Inbox Swarming With Emails, Which One Would You Attend To First?
I have been in such situations before. However, I learned that handling multiple tasks or attending to several responsibilities requires proper prioritization. If I came back to a full inbox, I would start by reviewing the emails from management and then clients before attending to the other emails. I would then do a follow-up or reply to the relevant emails. All in all, I usually ensure that nothing important escapes my attention.
21. What Would You Do If You Were Overwhelmed With Work?
Even though it doesn’t happen regularly, one can be overwhelmed with work in a fast-paced environment. Having been there before, I know exactly what to do. First, I would take a few minutes off to rejuvenate myself and get back to the right mental frame to tackle the work, after which I would list all the tasks that still need my attention and prioritize them. However, if I find myself running out of time, I would ask for help from my colleagues. I generally maintain a good relationship with fellow employees, so getting help normally comes naturally.
22. How Do You Always Stay Productive At Work?
I used to have a hard time staying productive for long hours until I learned how to block out all distractions. I normally ensure that my mind is completely focused on whatever I do at any given time. I keep my surroundings clean and avoid any unnecessary noise that would distract me. I also normally take short breaks between work to stretch and rejuvenate before getting down to deep work again. Additionally, I have learned that it is easier to stay productive when motivated, and therefore, I normally have my eyes on the target at all times for motivation.
23. What Would You Do If A Manager Asked You To Handle A Familiar Task Within A Short Duration?
The best thing to do in such an instance is to try and lobby or negotiate for more time. However, if you are not granted your request, it is imperative that you start attending to the task immediately. I would spend the first ten minutes finding out more information about the task and looking at all possible solutions before breaking it down into smaller doable components. I would then time myself and leave some minutes before the deadline to review the work and make corrections.
24. Would You Say That You Are An Organized Person?
Yes. I believe that my organizational skills have brought me this far. I normally ensure that everything is in order at any particular time. Therefore, the first thing I usually do whenever I report to work is clear and arrange my desk and stationery. I also ensure that I have everything I need close to me before planning my work and embarking on my tasks one by one. I also ensure that my surrounding is clean and my to-do list is updated.
25. In Your Opinion, Why Is Delegation Of Tasks Important?
Delegating tasks ensures that deadlines are met since a project or a bigger task is broken down into smaller components and then awarded to different people. It gives employees a sense of responsibility since they are liable for anything regarding their portions. Delegating tasks also improves productivity since everyone knows what is expected of them when working on a project. However, when delegating tasks, the manager or team leader should consider the skills and experience level of the team members.
These are some of the most common time management questions you should expect to answer in your upcoming interview. Ensure you also have a few experiences you can describe to the interviewer. We wish you all the best and remember to give a good first impression.