8 Time Management Interview Questions and Example Answers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 26, 2022 | Published June 21, 2021

Updated November 26, 2022

Published June 21, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Mastering time management is essential to everyday life and to the workplace. It's a skill employers value highly, so you'll likely respond to questions testing your time management skills in an interview for any role. You can use this opportunity to demonstrate your time management skills and impress hiring managers and potential employers. In this article, we discuss tips on how to answer time management questions in an interview, and provide eight sample examples to help you prepare.

Tips for answering time management interview questions

Remember these helpful tips when responding to time management questions in a job interview:

  • Talk about how you prioritize your duties. Your prospective employer is interested in learning about the various ways you prioritize activities to improve your productivity.

  • Express your ability to meet deadlines. Employers and hiring managers look for reliable candidates who can adhere to schedules and meet project deadlines. Provide an example of how you've done this successfully in the past.

  • Highlight your multitasking skills. The ability to multitask means you can be more productive with your time. This is a key time management skill to highlight in any interview.

Related: How To Ace Your Next Job Interview

8 Interview questions about time management

Study these eight questions and example answers to prepare your own answers to time management questions in an interview:

1. How do you maintain a good work-life balance?

This question is a common time management interview question because the interviewer wants to know how you intend to manage your personal life with your work life. Your ability to manage both essential parts of your life is a testament to your time management skills. When you answer this question, describe how you can divide your time between your work and personal life and still maintain optimum productivity.

Example: “I volunteer at the county library, where I handle the restoration of old and worn-out books. Every week, I set aside time for my nightly French classes and volunteer work. I make it my sole aim to never work past 7:00 p.m., and I make time every day for a short walk to remain healthy. I have also set boundaries, so different people know when to reach out to me and when I'm busy.”

2. What tools do you use for productivity?

Here, the interviewer wants to know the different methods or tools you employ to stay productive or help you efficiently manage time. These tools could be computer software or conventional manual methods. Describe the processes you use and how helpful they've been to you so far.

Example: “To stay organized and productive, I use Google sheets, which helps me keep my tasks in order. I also use a very efficient reminder app that helps me stay on top of everything I have to do. I use sticky notes and place them all around my workstation so I can visualize what I have to do. These tools have been so beneficial to me and have allowed me to stay on top of all my duties and responsibilities.”

3. How do you prioritize tasks?

Your answer to this question demonstrates how well you discern which activities require more attention than others to your interviewer. When responding, describe a circumstance where you prioritized one task above another effectively. Use the STAR approach to answer this question.

Example answer: “I make a checklist every morning that contains the tasks I need to complete that day. I prioritize my projects by significance and deadline. This way, I can focus on the most urgent tasks first, working my way down the list until I completed all tasks. At my previous job, I was in charge of delegating duties to team members on a particular job we were working on. Using a checklist, I could organize the tasks in the right order while still delegating duties fairly so that we completed the work on time.”

Related: How To Use the STAR Interview Response Technique

4. How do you maintain your focus at work?

The purpose of this question is to learn how you keep distractions to a minimum. Your answer should emphasize that as well as your ability to stay concentrated on tasks. Your answer can be an example from your personal life. Consider how you stay focused when you're working in a fast-paced environment, with your phone, co-workers, and other distractions.

Example: “My workstation was close to the lobby at my previous job, and the hustle and bustle of people going in and coming out was distracting. To stay focused, I re-arranged my workstation. I placed my table at a better angle and I bought noise-cancelling headphones. This helped me zone in entirely on my work.”

5. How do you manage stress and several upcoming deadlines?

Controlling the pressure you may feel at work is critical to reducing stress. Managing your time properly is an essential part of dealing with stress, and the less stressed you are, the more productive you can be. To answer this question, describe an instance where you avoided unnecessary stress by finishing a job on time or when dealing with a backlog of work.

Example: “When I was in my last year of university, I focused hard on preparing for my final exams. After my exams, I had a backlog of work that I had to do for the organization I worked for part-time. I had to prioritize my tasks, and set time limits and goals for each task. By delegating what I could and finishing up tasks that had deadlines, I maintained efficiency and produced excellent results.”

6. You returned from a vacation to 100 fresh emails. How do you manage them?

This question is a situational interview question. Your response should reflect your course of action and how you manage your time to catch up on tasks. Be confident and assertive in your response.

Example:Two years ago, I took a week off from work to take care of a family member, and when I returned, I had received much more than 100 emails! I worked my way through them, beginning with the oldest and working my way up. I made folders labelled “A,” “B,” and “C” to classify items from most urgent to least urgent.

After I went through every single email, I wrote a quick reply to each one tagged “A.” to let them know why the reply was delayed and when they should expect a more detailed answer. I spent the following three days carrying out those tasks before moving on to the emails labelled “B.” Taking a deliberate approach is the greatest way to get control of such a situation."

7. Describe a situation where you were able to meet a deadline.

Employers value employees that produce results on time and fulfill deadlines. Keeping track of deadlines and working on attending to them is the best method to handle them. With this question, the interviewer wants you to describe a situation where you couldn't meet a deadline at a previous job. Your answer should explain the scenario and why you missed the deadline, focusing on how you resolved it. Finally, explain what efforts you've made to prevent it from happening again.

Example: “I offered to cover one of my colleague's tasks once, and I was so occupied with other tasks that I missed the deadline for theirs. Once I realized I had missed the deadline, I apologized to the team lead and asked for an extension. I made sure it never happened again because I learned to assess my workload and be realistic about my capacity to take on work to help colleagues."

8. Why is it critical to manage your time effectively?

Demonstrating your skills to manage your time efficiently makes you a more desirable candidate. When answering this question, include some ways you've improved your ability to handle responsibilities and avoid distractions. Illustrate the value of time management skills. Show your potential employer how important time management is to you and how you feel you use it in your career.

Example: “I believe it's essential to manage time effectively because it improves work efficiency and productivity. It would be hard for me to meet deadlines and complete each project efficiently if I didn't have strong time management skills. Over time, I've been able to employ different methods that have helped me become a more efficient employee. For example, I...”

Related: Essential Multitasking Skills and How to Improve Them

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