How do you decide what to do first when you wake up? Do you wash your face? Do you brush your teeth? Do you grab a coffee? You prioritise your tasks every day based on your own needs and experiences. The workplace is no different.
You have a huge list of projects and tasks at work. Are all of them critically important right now? Off course not. You priorities projects and tasks every day using basic time management skills and your own method of organisation. The way you manage your ‘project prioritisation’ can have pretty drastic consequences on how well you do at meeting key deadlines, and whether the business thrives or suffers as a result of your time management and organisation. You can therefore expect to be asked:
Behavioral Interview Question: How do you prioritize projects and tasks when scheduling your time? Give me some examples.
This is almost entirely a thought process question, rather than an organizational question. While talking up a great organizational method is important, the best way to answer this is to use examples of your thought processes in the past. Structure your thought process around the following milestones:
- Due Date Consideration – gather all due dates for tasks and prioritise projects accordingly.
- Clarification – seek input from your manager about which tasks are most important to the business.
- Confirmation – send written confirmation about which tasks you will complete by when.
- Delegation – delegate any tasks or projects appropriately
- Organisation – employ a system of organisation and time management that works for you.
A sample answer might sound something like the one below. You can input specific project details as relevant to you.
“I have to look at everything on a case by case basis. For example, if a project or task has financial ramifications or a close due date, that needs to be prioritised over projects that may not. In a vacuum, I would organize by date due so that I could always be ahead of due dates. But of course, work rarely occur in a vacuum. Given two tasks with the same due dates and the same difficulty, I would usually prioritize the project based on something external, like which project would be better for my employer if I finished it early. Perhaps there is a project that, if finished early, could result in further revenue for the company.
But as I said earlier, it’s case by case. For example, I was working on several different projects back at COMPANY. Their deadlines were all in the near future, and it was difficult to decide which one to compete first. I organized them by a combination of which would be easiest to complete quickly, followed by which project would be the most difficult if there was a delay. I spoke with my manager to clarify which tasks were most critical to the business overall. With his input ,I prioritised the easiest project first, then the most difficult project, then as we got close to the deadline the project with medium difficulty. I communicated my intentions in writing to the project teams involved and gained acceptance for the plans I put in place.
This project prioritisation plan allowed me to finish the easy project in a day and send it to the client over a week early. I then dedicated myself solely to the difficult project, which I was able to also complete early by delegating a number of smaller tasks to junior coworkers. Finally, I finished off with the project of medium difficulty which, by then was quite close to its deadline. Using my time management skills and the organisation structure I like to employ for myself I was able to meet the project deadline.”
While long, what this answer shows is that your thought process is strong and logical. It’s not about a right or wrong answer. It’s about whether or not you’re able to justify the way that you prioritise, and whether or not you successfully showed competency with your project prioritisation in the past.
Share Your Comment Below:
How do you prioritise projects and tasks? What time management skills do you use?