- How do you maintain work-life balance?
- How do you prioritize tasks?
- How do you stay focused at work?
- How do you manage deadlines?
- How do you deal with stress at work?
Time management is an essential skill required in any field of work.
Whether you work in finance, HR, IT or even as a steward in a restaurant, time efficiency is key to high productivity and performance at work.
This is the reason why there are so many books you can find on time management and for the same reason, companies ask you questions to test your time management skills at work.
These questions can be slipped in between conversations casually.
While you may not think much of it focusing on the core questions of your role, these can however be the deciding factor between you and other candidates.
So let’s take a look at the most frequent time management interview questions along with sample answers.
So that you’re ready to not only answer them properly but also start managing your time, if you aren’t doing it already.
How do you maintain work-life balance?
The age old question in the modern era is… how do you maintain work-life balance.
Companies talk about it, job seekers actively look for it in a company but the biggest question is what do you do to manage your time to maintain this?
So, work-life balance essentially means you’re productive at work, meeting your deadlines but at the same time you have a life outside work.
It can be spending time with family, pursuing a hobby and or any other interests.
It basically shows that you're not only good at your job but also know when to relax. People who have such balance tend to be more productive.
The following is a great way to answer this question:
“Bringing work home never ends well for both work and family. I plan my tasks ahead and make sure when I am at work I focus on finishing the daily tasks I’ve set for myself.
Once I leave work, I ensure I am not leaving anything pending so that it doesn’t linger in my mind when I am home.
Once I am home, I spend time with my family and my cat. I love to play guitar to relax and sometimes I read a book.
This off work time replenishes me in a great way. So when I go back to work next day, I am actually looking forward to it and not worried.”
How do you prioritize tasks?
This question is typically asked to assess your judgement on the importance of tasks.
Generally, all tasks assigned to you will be important but how do you manage them is what makes your productivity the most optimum.
You can use the popular STAR method which stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result.
A simple answer to such question could be:
“I prioritize tasks on the basis of their importance and deadlines.
So when I arrive at work, I make a to-do list for that day. I make sure the tasks that are of high priority goes on the top of the to-do list.
The tasks of medium priority come second and then finally low priority tasks.
I ensure that all the tasks are given the sufficient time to be completed on the basis of my speed and the time I have each day.”
How do you stay focused at work?
This question is to know how you keep off of the distractions that we all have in this social media age.
For this, the answer may be subjective and you need to think about how you manage to remain focused when you have a world at your fingertips with your phone, colleagues at the next table and so on.
I can give you an example of how I stay focused at my work and you can use this template to come up with your own answer:
“Working in the information age comes with all sorts of distractions.
When I write, background noises, conversations can easily distract me and as a millennial, I cannot deny that constant notifications popping up on the phone can be really distracting.
So, to ensure I stay connected with the piece I am writing, I turn the notifications off on my phone and play a really soothing instrumental music playlist.
I’ve read instrumental music helps you keep focus because there are no words to pay attention to and the instrumental music fills the background which otherwise will be distracting noises and conversations.
The music eliminates the noises and I can stay focused for hours and hours till the piece I am writing is complete.
To be honest, it’s a form of catharsis as I generally get lost in what I am writing.”
How do you manage deadlines?
Deadlines are probably the most important aspect for any role or company.
Organizations want employees that deliver on time and meet deadlines.
A best way to manage deadlines is to keep a track of them and work accordingly.
A possible answer for this can be:
“I generally keep all my tasks along with deadlines on my project management software.
I set reminders at least three days before the deadlines to remind me of the upcoming deadline.
I make an every day to-do list to ensure that I am working efficiently towards each task and its deadline.”
How do you deal with stress at work?
Sudden tasks popping up can create stress to your otherwise planned out day.
The best day to deal with such stress to avoid getting frustrated and incorporate the change and be agile.
These questions are asked to know your agility and flexibility at work. You can use an example from your career where you’ve been given a sudden task and how you managed it.
Or you can always say that you’re always prepared for any surprise at work:
“I think stress generally happens when your hands are full and then suddenly an important task pops up.
The best way for me to deal with such stress is to come with a solution quickly.
I generally incorporate the sudden tasks into my calendar and try to finish it.
Taking help from my team members who have a little less workload is always helpful.
If I am working alone, then I manage my time by reallocating my time by taking some time out of my lowest priority tasks which can be handled later on.”
The above mentioned questions are most commonly asked in an interview as casual conversations, however these give out a lot about your professional character to the interviewer.
It’s important that you choose your answer carefully when answering such questions and always try to represent your best.
Hope it helps in your coming interviews!
All the best!