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Job Interview Tips-Prioritise Your Work

Posted 11th November 2019 • Written by People First •

Job Interview Tips-How to Answer the Interview Question “How Do You Prioritize Your Work?”

Potential employers expect you to be busy and want to know you can handle the pressure and organise yourself and so will often ask, “How do you prioritize your work?”

They want to know if you can tell the difference between urgent and important ( here’s a handy geode - https://www.groupmap.com/map-templates/urgent-important-matrix/ ).

Some tasks are urgent and need to be done soon, but are not as important as other tasks, other might be much more important but don’t have to be done today.

As with lots of answers in interviews it’s best to give real-life examples to show you’ve actually done this!

 

You can describe how you plan your day:

 

Be clear about how you organise yourself each day.

It doesn’t matter how you do it, it could be on Excel, or Outlook, or Post-Its all over your monitor, or notes on your hand (like me…) but you need to show that it works for you. It might not work for the interviewer, but show it works for you.

An example could be you tell them how you plan and prepare your to-do list, and rank them according to priority.

 

Show how you deal with changing priorities:

 

Often you’ll be doing one task and then something else pops up and you need to switch to that. It might be an emergency, or just something your boss wants you to do.

Before your interview think of an example when this has happened and describe how you dealt with the new task but also went back and completed the original one too. You can have a beautiful to-do list but if you can’t be flexible to divert away from it sometimes you might not be successful.

Show how you adapted and were able to move your duties round during the day, week or month, to fit everything in.

 

It’s also important to show how you keep a positive Work-Life Balance:

 

Employers like to know you’ll work hard and will stay late if necessary, but it’s no good getting everything done if it means you’re at work for 15 hours each day. You’ll burn out. (If that’s what the interviewer wants, and will then replace you with someone else, then that’s not the employer for you. Or anyone!)

A good employer will want to see how you can organise yourself to get things done during your normal hours.

 

In conclusion you need to show you can separate the urgent from the important, plan your day, week, month and year, but be flexible enough to adapt, and strong enough to say when you need to stop and go home!

Click to see more interview tips to help you in your search for a job with Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Multilingual or in Supply Chain.