How to answer "What is your process for organizing and prioritizing your work?" (with sample answers)

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This post is part of our series on behavioral interview questions.

Why Employers Ask This

When an employer seeks to fill a position, they want to know that the candidate they choose can handle multiple tasks and prioritize effectively. They want to assess your organizational and time management skills. They want to ensure that you are capable of meeting deadlines and targets.

As a result, employers often ask potential hires about their processes for organizing and prioritizing work. They want to know that you have a specific method of approaching tasks and that you can handle multiple responsibilities efficiently and effectively. Your answer will help them assess your ability to manage time and priorities in a fast-paced work environment.

Therefore, it is essential that you approach this question with a clear understanding of what the interviewer wants to hear and what you want to say. You want to convince them that you are competent and capable of handling the job requirements.

How to Answer the Question

When answering the question, it is important to be specific and honest. You want to provide a clear and concise overview of your process for organizing and prioritizing your work.

Start by describing the methods you use to gather information. You can mention tools such as to-do lists, calendars, task managers or project management tools. Explain how you use these tools to track important dates, deadlines, and progress so that you can easily access the information you need at any given time.

Next, talk about how you prioritize tasks. You may prioritize based on deadlines, level of importance, level of difficulty, or delegate certain tasks to other team members. However, be sure to explain your specific rationale in detail.

Make sure to provide examples that highlight your skills – give instances where you were under a strict timeline, and explain how you prioritized your tasks to achieve the end goal. If you can quantify the results or accomplishments, that would be even better.

In conclusion, potential employers want to know that you have a clear and efficient process for organizing and prioritizing your work. Be specific, provide examples, and be truthful about your methods. With this approach, you can be sure that the interviewer will see you as the ideal candidate and start envisioning you as an employee in their organization.

Sample answers

Bad answer: Uh, I just kind of do whatever I feel like needs to be done first, I guess.

Explanation: This answer lacks structure and a clear process for organizing and prioritizing work. It may suggest poor time management skills and lack of focus on the most important tasks.

Good answer: First, I assess all the tasks at hand and determine their level of urgency. Then, I categorize them based on their deadlines, and create a to-do list for the day. I use a calendar to keep track of deadlines and remind me of upcoming tasks that may need to be prioritized over non-urgent assignments.

Explanation: This answer demonstrates a clear process for organizing and prioritizing work, using a systematic approach and tools to stay on top of deadlines. It shows the ability to prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance and creates a sense of confidence in the candidate's time-management skills.

Good answer: Before starting any task, I ensure that I fully understand the requirements and deliverables. I establish clear goals and timelines and communicate them with my team and supervisor. This way, everyone is aware of what needs to be done and who is responsible for each task. I regularly review my progress and adjust my priorities based on incoming requests or new information that may impact our priorities.

Explanation: This answer shows that the candidate understands the importance of communicating and collaborating with others in the organization to ensure everyone is on the same page. The candidate demonstrates a willingness to be adaptable and flexible in their work and shows they have a clear understanding of what work needs to be done while keeping a focus on achieving team objectives.

Good answer: I like to use the Eisenhower matrix to prioritize my work. I categorize tasks based on urgency and importance so that I can focus my time and efforts on completing the most important tasks first. If there are tasks that are less urgent but still important, I ensure that I schedule adequate time for them in my daily work plans.

Explanation: This answer demonstrates a structured and analytical approach to prioritizing work and shows that the candidate is willing to use proven methodologies to help them efficiently prioritize their work. It also emphasizes the importance of balancing urgencies and importance, emphasizing the organization's long-term goals and overall well-being alongside day-to-day tasks.

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