Job Interview Question & Answer: Describe How You Prioritize Implausible Deadlines
Employers set deadlines for work completion at almost every job. In some industries more than others, deadlines can often seem overwhelming and cause employees to become stressed. Potential employers pose questions about deadlines in order to gauge the ability of an applicant to discuss time management, understanding the importance of managing multiple projects, and overall decisiveness on the job. Answers should reflect actual examples of instances relating to time management and how the interviewee faces deadlines in everyday work.
Potential employers ask questions about deadlines in order to decipher whether a prospective employee will prioritize each assignment and how. Simply giving responses like “I figure out which project is most important, and then I try to do that project first before finishing the next one” leaves an interviewer wondering how the prospective employee decides which project earns priority. By asking about multiple projects and assigning hypothetical deadlines to each one, companies compel applicants to use a logical thought process and attention to detail to come up with a plan of action. Giving specific examples of relatable experience typically shows a potential employer the attention to detail and prioritization most companies look for during the hiring process.
How to Focus Responses
Candidates should focus on remaining honest and discussing relevant experiences when answering questions about deadlines. Companies typically do not wish to hear statements of grandeur or over-the-top assertions of capability. Instead, applicants should focus on answering in detail, with an emphasis on how the problem got solved, by using appropriate brevity combined with valid information. Show examples of decisiveness in planning, exhausting all avenues of recourse, and utilizing proper choices of prioritization. Highlighting the ability to work with others or ask for help in order to get things done may show appropriate humility and resourcefulness. In the end, no company truly wishes to impose unrealistic deadlines on staff; rather, interviewers simply want to ensure prospective employees remain capable of juggling multiple projects and completing assigned tasks within a specified window of time.