Interns: Here Are Eleven Typical Interview Questions About Time Management—and Some Sample Answers

Accessed: August 9, 2022

Following the completion of this article, you will be able to:
  • Prepare yourself for questions about time management that may come up in an interview.
  • Get a handle on why prospective employers are interested in how well you manage your time.
  • Think about how you can relate your experience managing time to the position you're interviewing for.

There aren't always enough minutes in the day, but a good intern or employee will figure out a way to make every second count. Time management questions are common in job interviews because every employer values efficiency and productivity. Putting in the time to practice for these questions and answers can help you land your ideal job.

Check out this article for a rundown of some of the most common interview questions regarding time management and setting priorities.

Questions about time management in job interviews and how to respond

There are a lot of behavioral interview questions that pertain to time management, and you can answer them using the STAR method. That entails picking instances where you successfully managed your time and then telling interesting stories about those instances to the interviewer.

Successful time management requires keeping commitments and avoiding chaos. Knowing when to zero in and when to shift gears is also crucial. Answering questions about time management in an interview requires demonstrating both focus and adaptability.

You should also make a distinction between your day-to-day time management and your long-term planning. The best employees can see both the long and short term and plan accordingly.

In closing, you'd like to address the stress that has arisen as a direct result of all the pressing deadlines and sudden adjustments. If a potential employer inquires about your multitasking skills, they are probing for more than just an answer to that question. Assuring them of your ability to thrive under pressure is essential.

In summary, here are the most crucial points to emphasize when answering interview questions about time management.

  • Respecting time constraints
  • Methods for achieving and maintaining order
  • Managing disruptions and diversions
  • Arrangement of duties according to importance
  • Adapting to unforeseen circumstances
  • Management for the short term versus organization for the long haul
  • How you cope with pressure

Interview questions and answers about time management

Many questions at the interview will center on how well you manage your time, set priorities, and complete tasks by their respective due dates. Listed below are 11 of the most common interview questions regarding time management, along with some possible responses.

What is your order of importance?

The interviewer is interested in seeing if you can adapt to the fast-paced, ever-changing nature of the business world and maintain your focus in the face of multiple, competing demands.

I took five classes last semester, and three of them had finals on the same two days. In addition to my weekly volunteer work and participation in the hockey team, I was also a regular on both. To fulfill my obligations, I had to set priorities and be incredibly well-organized. So that I could focus on schoolwork and study for my exams, I rearranged my work schedule and lowered my expectations for extracurricular activities. By planning out my week in advance and marking off specific times, I was able to make the most of my time.

 2 When you return from vacation, you find that you have 100 new emails. Doing what

This is a situational question designed to see how you would handle a common interview scenario. Include any relevant past experience in your response if asked.

Last year, I took a week off of school to volunteer abroad, and when I got back, I had well over a hundred emails waiting for me. I began with the oldest and worked my way through the rest. I made three piles, numbered one through three, to organize the tasks from highest to lowest priority. Upon finishing my review of all messages, I composed a short answer to send to every one that was marked "1." I told them I'd be back soon with a more detailed response, since I'd just gotten back from a trip. Over the course of the next few days, I was able to get those things done and move on to the "2" marked emails. I've found that the best way to gain control of a chaotic situation is to approach it methodically.

Thirdly, how do you strike a healthy equilibrium between your professional and personal lives?

Employers care about how you balance your work and personal life, and they want to know that you're committed to both their needs and your own. To avoid burnout, you say that you establish appropriate limits for yourself. Furthermore, you are able to take charge when necessary and work beyond your normal shift length.

I manage their social media and write a lot of donor communications materials as a volunteer for the local animal shelter. Classes, activities, and community service all have their own designated times in my weekly calendar. I stop working at 10:00 every morning, and I always make sure to take breaks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as a brisk walk every day. I've already informed the shelter that I won't be checking my email after 4pm every day because I need that time to relax and enjoy my hobbies. Having said that, I had to work late a few nights because they had just rescued 30 dogs from a bad situation and they needed fosters right away. While I think it's crucial to strike a healthy work-life balance, I'm not opposed to putting in extra time if necessary.

Describe a time when you failed to meet a deadline.  

It's a delicate question that could quickly turn sour. Your best bet is to provide a brief explanation of what happened and why you were late, and then devote the bulk of your response to discussing what you did to make up for it. Finally, explain to the interviewer what preventative measures you have taken. (If you've never been late for a deadline in your life, by the way, congratulations!) Please share your secrets for effective time management. )

The workload was too much for me during my first year of college. Early on, I had a string of four due-on-the-same-day-essays. Unfortunately, my lack of preparation led to my missing one. I approached my professor, and she graciously granted me a five-percent reduction in my due date. I realized then that I was seriously out of shape. I've been using the project management software Trello to keep track of my schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and other commitments. Prioritization allows me to rearrange tasks and break down massive projects into smaller, more manageable chunks. Since then, I haven't been late for anything.

Additional Interview Questions for Time Management

5. Tell me about a time when you had to work under intense time constraints.

6. Would your friends say that you are an organized person?

If I may ask, how do you plan out your day?

To which I pose the question:

9. In what ways do you avoid being sidetracked?

Ignoring the importance of time management at your peril.

How do you handle mundane or routine work? 11

How to Answer Questions About Time Management

  • Back it up It's fine to brag that you're excellent at time management. Showing that you can successfully manage your time is much more valuable.
  • Try not to juggle too many things at once Multitaskers were once highly valued by employers. It's looked down upon these days, with specialists being favored over generalists. Instead of trying to multitask, emphasize how you prioritize your work.
  • Submerge yourself in the details. In what way do you prioritize your tasks? What program do you use to oversee projects? Questions about time management require specifics if they are to be answered.
Dana Guterman is an expert in the fields of higher education and professional growth, and she uses her knowledge to help others as a content strategist, writer, and researcher. Her customers come from all walks of life, including the corporate, academic, and charity sectors. Dana has a background in East Asian studies from Brown University and currently resides in Portland, Oregon.
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