While appearing for an interview, you will have to answer several questions, among which a pertinent question that prospective employers often ask is how will you prioritize your work. This might seem like a strange question at first because once you are at your workplace, work is all you are going to do.
However, the question has a deeper significance. The employer might wish to know how you will manage your workload when there is a lot on your plate and how you are also going to maintain your work-life balance. This will also give them insights into how you are going to manage the different assignments and how you will determine which tasks will need your immediate attention. They would like to know that they can trust your judgment and that you will be a responsible employee, so this question becomes quite important.
What Qualities Do Prospective Hiring Managers Look for When They Ask this Question?
When your prospective employer asks you about how you are going to prioritize your work, they basically want to know more about your time management and organizational skills. They also want to know whether you will be able to complete work within deadlines and do so without getting all worked up about it.
It would be best if you took this opportunity to highlight your time management and organizational skills and tell them about how you create to-do lists and use task management tools to get you through. In addition, you must also mention how you intend to maintain a work-life balance so that you can perform your tasks with efficiency.
How to Respond to How You Will Prioritize Your Work?
Instead of simply generalizing that you have great time management skills or organize your tasks well, it would be helpful if you had a step-by-step guide to answer the question. This will help you answer the question with greater clarity. You can also use additional information that will help you personalize your answer, making you stand apart from the other applicant.
1. Scheduling Your Day
The first step is to describe how you start your day. Starting the day by sorting out the different tasks in order of importance, rather than simply starting with whatever first comes to your mind, has much greater chances of success. So you could say that you create a to-do list first thing in the morning, or better still, the night before, in order of importance and then start with them one by one.
You could also mention that sometimes you intersperse some light tasks with some heavy ones so that there is no monotony and you do not feel stressed at work. Discernment is everything, and this makes it possible to achieve the tasks so that the low-priority tasks do not get left out.
2. Handling Last Minute Assignments
Depending on the nature of the work and a project that you might be working on, you may have to handle some last-minute tasks that might be assigned at short notice. You can tell your employer how you will not let this throw you off track and take care of the urgent assignment, ensuring that the regular workflow is not hindered in any way.
A quick shuffle might have to be done, and if necessary, you are prepared to put in a few extra hours so that both the last-minute assignment and your regular work for the day are taken care of. This prevents unnecessary backlogs and the day’s work from spilling on the next day. It will highlight your commitment to the job as well.
3. Setting Deadlines
Completing assignments on time is crucial, and you have to know how to set deadlines that help you and your team complete all the tasks without hustling. You can talk about how you will set due dates for each task and arrange them in order of urgency within a given period.
It would be best if you also were open to making adjustments in case of last-minute requests from the clients, and that should not delay your work unless something major happens. It will help you establish that your goals are in sync with the goals of the company.
4. Maintaining Work-Life Balance
It is important to set realistic goals on a given workday so that your work does not spill over to the next day or next week. This creates unnecessary backlogs and is not good for your health as well. Both work and relaxation are important, and you can talk about how you intend to balance both.
You can say that you will do all in your power to complete the tasks in the given period and then also would like to concentrate on your family and spend quality time with them. Taking time off from a busy schedule is also important, and it can enhance productivity and improve overall performance.
5. Listing Work Requirements
It is always best when you answer interview questions by relating them to the position you are applying for that helps you respond in a more personalized manner and shows the employer that you are aware of what the job entails. Hence, if you are applying for an accountant position, you can respond in relation to how much time you want to spend doing taxes, compiling data, or organizing various client accounts.
Or, if you are going to apply for the role of a communications officer, then you can talk about how you are going to handle various customer queries, hold team conferences to discuss client complaints, or come up with better channels of communication to bridge gaps that could help you retain more clients as well as attract new ones.
3 Ways of Prioritizing Your Work in Order of Importance
While it is true that some tasks will always take precedence over others, the question is, how do you know which task is more important? Here are some ways to determine that.
1. The Need to Complete a Project
The first step is to determine how urgent a particular task has to be completed? Is the task related to one of your top clients? Or, are all other tasks going to be put on hold unless a particular task is completed because the remaining work will be completed based on the findings of this one major task? This will help you determine which tasks should be high on your to-do list, and you can explain to the interviewer how you will use your discretion on the matter.
2. Project Time
Sometimes it makes sense to prioritize work according to the time it will take to finish them. And there are cases where you can often take care of three tasks in the time it will take to complete just one. In such cases, it makes sense to quickly go through the smaller tasks and get them out of the way. It clears your schedule, but you also get the satisfaction to see tasks ticked off your to-do list, which motivates you for the rest of the day.
With the minor tasks out of the way and your schedule largely cleared, you can turn to the major task at hand and take your time completing it. At the end of the workday, everything gets done. This is, of course, highly circumstantial, and you need to judge according to the importance of the assignments.
It is a good thing to keep some time aside to evaluate your projects, and you can tell your prospective employer that you like to see whether your current plan of action is working or not. Updating clients, keeping records, and maintaining open channels of communication with the team are essential to ensure that the workflow remains smooth.
It will also help you keep focused, and any kind of feedback would also be greatly appreciated. You can also use a project management tool to help you organize your work, and keeping a journal to keep track of your ideas, thoughts, and best-used techniques also helps. Evaluations also help keep away distractions, and you can work with minimal stress when you see everything is on track.
While preparing for the interview, you must pay special attention to the question of how you will prioritize your work. It is about showcasing your knowledge and how you are going to apply that knowledge most efficiently. You should prepare for this question and think about how you can highlight the salient points of preparing your work schedule for a particular workday. Employers do not only judge an applicant’s technical know-how, degrees, and certifications but also how they can communicate their ideas, and answering this question correctly is greatly going to increase your chances of landing your dream job.
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