Job Interview Question & Answer: Describe How You Prioritize Implausible Deadlines
Why Managers Need to Know How You Prioritize Tasks
In almost every job, employees must complete tasks in a timely manner. When hiring, employers must understand how well prospects deal with juggling multiple projects and responsibilities. This can help them predict how effective a candidate would be when under stress and how they make decisions and prioritize their work.
How You Should Answer “How Do You Prioritize Multiple Deadlines?”
When responding to this question, try to share specific examples from previous jobs that reflect how you manage your time to meet deadlines. Be sure to reply honestly and explain what criteria you use to evaluate each task’s importance. If the position you want requires working as part of a team, choose a scenario that highlights how well you collaborate with others.
Keep in mind that your responses should positivity reflect your overall work ethic. Consider discussing scenarios like:
- How you remember what tasks you must complete.
- How you keep track of progress and what you have accomplished.
- What you might do if you are going to miss a deadline.
- How you ensure the quality of your work when in a hurry.
- Ways that you have asked for help or delegated jobs to others in the past.
What You Shouldn’t Say
While displaying confidence is key, you should always refrain from overemphasizing your capabilities. Keep in mind that the question “How do you handle tight deadlines?” helps companies understand your logic as well as your skills. Most importantly, your answer should never include judgements on the performance of others. Instead, keep the conversation focused on your strengths.
Here are a few sample replies that may help you prepare what to say when asked “How do you manage multiple deadlines?”. Try to ensure that your response includes details that translate to the particular job you want.
Answer Example 1 – Maintenance Jobs
”At times, getting my work done affects overall workflow and can impact customers. As long as I can still meet other deadlines, I always try to do those tasks first to so my coworkers can accomplish what they need to and meet guest expectations before I move on to other projects.”
Answer Example 2 – Retail Management Positions
”At the end of every shift, I write myself a list of what I still need to complete and jot down when each item is due by so I am ready to go when I return. Then I put them in order based on what needs accomplished first and look ahead to see if I might need to delegate some tasks to others.”
Answer Example 3 – Healthcare Roles
”In the medical field, work must be completed quickly to keep things running smoothly. Since there is often little time available between seeing patients or helping doctors, I try to group similar tasks together so I can make as much progress as possible during those available moments.”
Suggestions for Success
Knowing what to say ahead of time can help you feel more confident when you need to explain how you juggle multiple projects. Keep in mind that your goals should always be to highlight your time management and decision-making skills. Hiring managers understand that there may be obstacles to meeting deadlines and want to how you will adapt to ensure you still complete things on time.