5 Good Time Management Interview Questions

These good time management interview questions are designed to accurately assess the  candidate's ability to plan and schedule work tasks. Effective time management is key to being a productive and efficient employee.

Good time management interview questions include:

  • How do you prioritize your work?
  • How do you ensure you meet deadlines?
  • How do you stay focused on the task at hand?
  • How do you manage a heavy workload and stress at work?
  • What are your preferred time management strategies?

Job candidates can use these top sample interview answers and tips to demonstrate their ability to effectively manage their time.

How do you prioritize your tasks?

How do you determine which tasks are more important? How do you know what to work on first? Typical methods for setting priorities include:

  • create a task or to-do list and update it regularly
  • establish the importance of each task based on criteria such as expectations, dependencies, impact and requests
  • establish the urgency of each task based on deadlines, time-sensitivity and demands
  • schedule your tasks in order of importance and urgency

"Each morning I consolidate all my tasks and requests into a single master task list. I go through the list and determine the importance and urgency of each task. I consider criteria such as deadlines, time-sensitivity, dependencies, the impact of the task, available resources, consequences and client and team expectations when categorizing each task .  I then prioritize and schedule my task list accordingly. The most critical tasks are tackled first while keeping all the other tasks on the list to ensure they get done as well. If I’m not sure what’s urgent and what isn’t, or how important a task is, I find out."

Follow up  good time management interview questions:

How do you quickly shift priorities?

How do you adapt to changing demands?

Priorities can shift quickly and it is important that you are able to adapt accordingly and effectively deal with changes through the workday. Reviewing your task list frequently and re-organizing and revising your priorities is key.

"I understand that priorities can shift and new tasks and demands can unexpectedly occur. If I’m assigned a new task, I add it to the master list and determine it's urgency and importance before revising my priorities and adapting my schedule. "

Sample time management interview answer to "How do you prioritize your work?" in text.

How do you avoid distractions and stay focused?

Having distractions throughout the day is normal and dealing effectively with them is a key element of good time management  What steps do you take to minimize distractions and interruptions?

5 common strategies to prevent distractions and keep focused on the task at hand include:

  • put blocks on your calendar for certain chunks of work time
  • alert your co-workers to the fact that you are busy on an urgent project and will speak later
  • set a specific time to look at and deal with emails and messages
  • shut your office door if you have one or use noise-canceling headphones in an open plan environment
  • organize your workspace to minimize distractions including clearing your desk  of everything other than what you are working on

How do you ensure you meet deadlines?

Your ability to meet deadlines is an accurate measure of your time management skills and good time management interview questions will include an exploration of this. Describe your ability to be well organized and plan properly in order to meet deadlines.

5 effective strategies for meeting deadlines include:

  • fully understanding what the project or task involves and what is required of you
  • working backward from the deadline to plan, prioritize and schedule tasks
  • breaking down a project into smaller tasks and setting timelines for each of these
  • ensuring you have the right resources to complete the task
  • using software tools to keep track of your progress

Good sample interview answer:

"Meeting deadlines is crucial to productivity and effectiveness and I pride myself on achieving the right outcomes. I make sure I fully understand what is required of me so that I can plan, prioritize and schedule my work correctly. If it is a larger project, I break it down into more manageable tasks and set a timeline for each of these, ensuring that the final deadline is achievable. I make sure I have the right resources and tools to complete each task. I make a detailed checklist of all the steps to take to complete the project and refer to it frequently using the appropriate software to track my progress."

Follow up good time management interview question:

How do you set deadlines?

It is important that you are able to establish timelines for yourself to complete your work efficiently. Highlight how you:

  • communicate with stakeholders to establish task urgency
  • know exactly what needs to be done and by when
  • determine you have the necessary resources
  • establish realistic time frames
  • write down and commit to your deadlines
Time management interview questions and answers - How do you meet deadlines? Sample answer in text.

How do you manage a heavy workload and stress in the workplace?

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed at work? Your ability to manage stress impacts on how you maintain productivity and stay on task in the workplace. Stress management involves effective time management.

8 effective stress management and coping strategies include:

  • maintain a master to-do list and planner
  • frequently refer to it and revise it when needed
  • accurately determine the importance and urgency of tasks
  • plan, prioritize and schedule tasks
  • break large tasks down into manageable steps
  • set realistic time frames for task completion
  • make sure you have the right resources and support
  • focus on one task at a time

"When I have a heavy workload I use a number of time management skills to maintain performance. I write down everything I need to do and refer to this list frequently. I break down my workload into manageable tasks. I determine the urgency and importance of each task and plan and schedule my activity according to my priorities. I consult with stakeholders and ensure I have the necessary resources for task completion and that the established time frames are realistic." 

Follow up good time management interview question:

How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

A good work-life balance is currently an important workplace topic. In your interview answer highlight how you:

  • set healthy boundaries for yourself
  • set realistic expectations for yourself
  • efficiently manage your time and your workload
  • are completely present and put in maximum effort at work but are able to disconnect when not at work
  • know when it is necessary and appropriate to put in the extra work hours and when it is not

Describe your top time management strategies

What are your preferred strategies for managing your time? 

Here are 10 tried and tested ways of successfully  staying on top of your tasks and responsibilities at work:

  • record everything that needs to be done on a task list
  • categorize and prioritize tasks according to importance and urgency
  • break down larger projects into more manageable tasks
  • set yourself clear targets and deadlines
  • ensure you have the right resources
  • use the right tools to schedule and manage your time
  • focus on one task at a time
  • minimize distractions and time-wasters
  • track and monitor your progress and productivity
  • review and revise your task planner regularly
List in text of top 10 time management strategies

Tips for answering good time management interview questions

Here are some tips and strategies to keep in mind when you answer time management interview questions:

  • make it clear you understand the importance of good time management and how it impacts on your job and effects others in the company
  • share real life examples to support your interview answers using the STAR method
  • connect your interview answers to the job requirements to demonstrate your understanding of the role

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