How would you Describe Your Time Management Skills?
For most jobs, employers are looking for time management skills – the ability to distinguish between what needs to be done immediately and what can wait. Of course, you need to say that you have good time management skills. (Tough Interview Question)
A good tactic is to say that you always prioritize the most important and urgent tasks to the top of the pile. When that doesn’t work, say that you enlist colleagues to help or check whether the deadline can be moved. As a final option, you can say that you simply get on with the work and stay late to get everything done.
Go on to demonstrate your time management skills by giving an example of a time when you had to prioritize between different tasks.
As an example, just the other week I had a customer who wanted an emergency order dealt with immediately at the same time as my boss needed some financial data. There was no way I could have done both, so I asked a coworker to deal with the client order while I put together the data that my boss needed.
Time management is ultimately the ability to distinguish between urgency and importance. Urgency describes whether a task needs to be done very soon or whether it can wait for a few hours or a few weeks. Importance defines the extent to which the task must be finished – some tasks are categorically critical while others may be less critical.
Do You Work Well Under Pressure?
While the answer to this question is obviously yes, be careful not to exaggerate the extent to which you can cope with pressure. Try to relate your answer to the demands that the job is likely to make on you. Tough Interview Question
For example, if the job is likely to involve significant pressure, the following response may be fairly appropriate:
I positively thrive on pressure. My worst nightmare is a job that is entirely predictable and mundane. I really enjoy the fact that my job is different every day and you never know what new situations or challenges you may be facing.
If the job is more gently paced, saying that you love working under pressure may raise doubts in an interviewer’s mind as to whether you would be bored by the job. So attempt an answer along the lines of:
I can cope with occasional bursts of having to work under pressure – for example, for the final couple of days every month it always gets a bit frantic. But for the most part, I enjoy the fact that this is a job that I can really learn and understand in detail and get good at.
If you need to demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that you excel under pressure, use the acronym CAR (see the sidebar ‘Driving toward great examples’ at the start of this chapter) to provide an example. Make sure that the result at the end of your story is a positive one!
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