The employees have spoken. See the Best Places to Work 2023!

Interview Preparation

Common Time Management Interview Questions

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

Time management interview questions with sample answersHow do you prioritize your work?How do you stay organized?What do you do when you feel overwhelmed with work?Describe a time you had to meet a quick deadline.What productivity tools do you use?

Guide Overview

Answering time management interview questions

An important part of being an effective employee is knowing how to properly manage your time. Time management skills can help you stay organized, get your work done on time, and avoid procrastination. During an interview, an employer may ask about such skills to determine how responsible and time-oriented you are. Here we discuss how to answer five common time management interview questions.

Time management interview questions with sample answers

Here are common time management interview questions with sample answers you can use when crafting your own responses:

How do you prioritize your work?

Employers ask this question to see if you have the skills to get important tasks done on time. This question gives you the opportunity to show how you keep your to-do list organized and what processes you use to tackle important tasks. In your answer, explain that you always prioritize the most important tasks first. Explain what strategies you use to determine how important a project is.

Answer: At the beginning of each week, I sit down with my planner and write out everything I need to get done. I prioritize my tasks based on their due date, the importance of the client, and how long a project will take. I find that it’s best to break up big projects into smaller chunks to make them more manageable. I tend to alternate between a few tasks throughout my day in order to keep my motivation up. As the week goes on, I reassess everything I have accomplished and make a plan to finish up the rest.

Learn more: 7 Ways to Improve Your Time Management Skills

How do you stay organized?

A major part of time management is having an organizational system in place. Employers use this question to learn what methods you use to stay on top of tasks and keep your responsibilities in order. They may also be interested in how you arrange your desk and files. When preparing for this answer, reflect on what methods you use to stay organized. Share any specific tools you use, such as reminders, sticky notes, planners, or project management systems.

Answer: Staying organized is an important part of how I stay productive and happy at work. The first thing I do each week is to make sure my desk is in order. This means all my pens are in their jar, all of my files are in their respective folders, and any clutter is disposed of. Next, I take a look at my digital planner. I double-check that all of my due dates are in order, and I know my expectations for the week.

Finally, having an organized email inbox is super important to me. I keep it organized by creating separate folders for each kind of email. I make sure to separate each email by client or colleague. I am also sure to delete all of my junk mail at the beginning and end of each workday.

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed with work?

Many people fall into the trap of wasting time feeling stressed instead of getting started. Employers ask this question to learn how you manage stress and stay on task. Show that you have coping strategies for when your work starts to pile up. You could explain that by prioritizing your work, you can get through your tasks and start to feel more at ease.

Answer: I’ve noticed that stressing over how much work I have to do is much worse than actually doing the work. When I start feeling overwhelmed, I get out a pad of paper and a pen to start writing down everything I need to do. Then, I prioritize all of my tasks and estimate how long each one will take me. Next, I put all of these tasks on my planner and spread them out throughout the week. Seeing that I actually have more time than I anticipated calms me down. I can then get a start on my work and feel at ease.

Describe a time you had to meet a quick deadline.

If you’re applying to a high-pressure job, employers might ask this question to see how adaptable you are. Some roles require employees to work with last-minute deadlines. In your answer, show that you understand that this is the nature of the job you’re applying to. Share an example that highlights your abilities to be adaptable and accommodating.

Answer: When I worked as a retail manager, one of our sales associates quit the day before Black Friday. This meant that I had to scramble to find someone to fill the shift. Although this task felt challenging, I knew that I could make it work in time. Luckily, I had established pretty strong relationships with our other sales associates and they were happy to help me out. I also offered to pick up one of their shifts. This situation showed me how valuable it is to treat your team well. You never know when they can help you out.

Learn more: 8 Personality Traits That Are Eroding Your Time Management Skills

What productivity tools do you use?

There are many ways to track or monitor your productivity. Interviewers may ask this question to learn which particular tools keep you productive. See if you can find out what specific tools this role uses, and in your answer, explain which tools you use and why they are helpful for you.

Answer: I use the Reminders app on my phone to stay on top of all my tasks. I like that this app is with me everywhere I go and that I can set specific times and locations for reminders to pop up. Another way I stay productive is by listening to the right music. I have a study music app that plays songs without lyrics, and I find that having this background noise keeps me focused and free from distractions. My headphones also have a noise-canceling feature so I can really zone in on my work.

Related Career Guides