Give an example of your time management #time #management #interview #questions


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Give an example of your time management

Time management is an actual industry profession. People are trained in time management for business efficiency. In some industries and types of work, like accountancy and contract based work, time and schedules are literally built in to the jobs by law.

When asked about your time management skills at a job interview, you know the question’s being asked for a reason.

Time management is a basic mechanism of business.

What has to be done, when it has to be done, and why it has to be done are all pretty obvious. You understand contract times and stipulations. You understand the laws for reporting dates. You know how to organize your work in time frames.

That’s exactly what the interviewers want you to prove.

Most of the questions are situations and examples.

How you handle your answer is the key.

Some of these questions are competency based, some are basic behavioral interview questions, designed to see how your past performance relates to the new job.

Make sure you know what the interviewers are asking you.

Question: How do you prioritize your workflow? Do you have a date based system, or do you make your own system?

Explanation of the question

This is a behavioral question. The interviewers need to know your methods, and make a comparison with your example and the job. Some systems aren’t right for some jobs.

Question: You’re given a series of jobs with strict deadlines. There are three jobs due in a week, one big job with more work than the other three combined due in two weeks. How do you handle the deadlines?

Explanation of the question

This is a situational question. It’s also testing your communication and problem solving skills. Because you haven’t been given any specific information except the relative amount of work involved, the interviewers want to know about your organizational skills.

Question: You’re in the middle of a job which will take another week. The manager gives you a rush job, which will take the rest of the week. If you drop everything on the current job, you’ll have two days next week to do it. How do you deal with the two jobs?

Explanation of the question

This is another situational question, with the problem built in. In this case you have a direct conflict of priorities, with some real limitations. You have to be able to manage the times.

At the interview

You can see that these questions are working on some real situations. In some industries, the situations are perfectly normal. Time management is the difference between doing the jobs properly, or making a real mess of them.

You will also see some great opportunities for making a real mess out of your answer. These questions are designed to find the people with the right skills for the job, and they do it very efficiently.

The core issue is scheduling.

If you can organize your time frames and stick to them, you don’t have a problem.

Professionals work on schedules designed to work ahead of deadlines.,

Any contractor or freelancer can tell you, the extra time is also useful for quality control.

Unrealistic deadlines are a sure fire way of creating problems for yourself.

Question: How do you prioritize your workflow? Do you have a date based system, or do you make your own system?

I work on a time based system which is ahead of our date based guidelines for turnaround. It gives me time to review my work, and allows management some extra time for any extra work they want done, or redrafts, if required.

Explanation of the answer

You’re telling the interviewers you’re familiar with date based and independent time management. You’re also showing you do quality control, and you’re turning over your work effectively, as well as allowing management some extra time for last minute work.

Question: You’re given a series of jobs with strict deadlines. There are three jobs due in a week, one big job with more work than the other three combined due in two weeks. How do you handle the deadlines?

I set up the big job to be done in stages, timing the stages for completion ahead of the deadline so I’m sure I’m in the right time frame. The other three jobs are also scheduled and done in stages, on a pre deadline basis. The effect is that all four jobs are under strict time controls.

Explanation of the answer

You’re making it very clear you are working to a plan. With situational questions, the unstated part of the question is keeping the work under good management principles, and you’re using the deadlines as guides, but working within the time constraints.

Question: You’re in the middle of a job which will take another week. The manager gives you a rush job, which will take the rest of the week. If you drop everything on the current job, you’ll have two days next week to do it. How do you deal with the two jobs?

The existing job was planned to be completed across a week. But I have to reposition my schedule to do the rush job within its time frame, which is unavoidable.

However, I run the risk of not having enough time for the original job. So I also bring forward the work required for the current job, by doing it in smaller but scheduled components. That way I don’t lose time on the job, and don’t try to do a week’s work in two days. To make sure I don’t miss the deadline, I may readjust my hours and do some extra work at home, if it’s necessary.

Explanation of the answer

You’re making it clear nothing is going to prevent you getting the work done on time. You have several methods of doing the work within the deadlines, and you have a realistic approach to possible problems.

It is perfectly possible not to have enough actual time to do what needs doing, in any job. The third question is designed to find out how you deal with those situations.

The time management questions are all about organization.

You have to show you can plan and structure your work and your times.

You’ll find that you’ve done these things many times in your own jobs, where time has been the problem, and you’ve had to organize yourself. Those experiences are now answering the questions for you.


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