Prioritization Interview Questions

Table of Contents

    One of the best ways to hire a candidate is by observing their management skills. Practical skills cannot be assessed in an interview but thought processes and logical thinking can be evaluated. Prioritization interview questions are designed to assess how a person manages time. Such questions can also help evaluate the candidate’s thought processes, logic, communication, and organizational & decision-making skills. The main reason behind asking such questions is to know how the person will prioritize tasks. One such example is how the candidate manages time on the busiest days. Or if the candidate is a fresher, how will they adapt and change course while still producing high-quality work? Asking a fresher these questions will help the company understand the candidate’s capabilities.


    Interview Questions for Assessing Prioritizing Skills 


    Given below are the most preferred prioritization interview questions to ask candidates. These questions can provide helpful insights into a candidate’s time management and leadership abilities. It also gives an idea about the candidate’s ability to prioritize work.


    Common Prioritization Interview Questions


    The main aim of the HR expert is to find out how a potential recruit manages time and tasks. Based on the answers, the expert can understand the level of multitasking.


    It gives an idea about the candidate’s ability to prioritize the work. It also helps in testing task-solving and prompt decision-making abilities.


    Some of the common questions are:


    • What is the solution when multiple tasks are at hand and all have a day’s deadline?

    • How to prioritize duties when there is more than one commanding manager?

    • Describe a 9-5 work routine.

    • How do you balance the tasks at hand and the time available?

    Skill-Based Interview Questions 


    There isn’t a single correct answer to any interview question. Yet, there are ways a person can prepare for them. These questions test the job seeker’s multitasking ability. Most of these questions are ‘how to’ questions and the evaluation is done on the answers given by the person.


    Candidates should always note that they should reply with a well-thought-out answer. Always answer with confidence. Often, the next question asked will be based on the response to the previous questions. Beginners may find these challenging because the questions are based on specific situations. Some common skill-based interview questions are:


    1. Explain how to manage multiple tasks with the same deadlines.

    In such cases, the recruiter must look out for the strategy put forth by the candidate. It will provide insight into how the person will tackle the situation. Candidates must be focused and spot-on with the task at hand. Analysis should be done on how the answer showcased the candidate’s competency.


    1. How to prioritize tasks given by more than one commanding manager?

    This question is tricky; hence the candidate might hesitate. The interviewer may suggest some examples and then ask the candidate how they will manage such situations. The candidate should be able to keep a clear mindset when answering such questions. 


    Here, the interviewer must look at how the candidate chooses an example. It will give an idea of how quick the candidate’s response is. Also, HR can assess the promptness of the applicant. For example, X has allocated some work to the candidate. In the afternoon, a senior, Y, allots some other tasks to be done by the end of the day. Then, both managers must be notified of the other task and the submission time.


    1. Talk about a time when conflicting priorities had to be managed.

    This question must be answered with an example for more clarity. For analysis, the base should be how well the candidate comprehended the question. It can be a situation in school, college, or the past workplace. For example, in the final year of college, three professors assigned multi-week, large projects with very strict deadlines. There couldn’t be any delay or last-minute completion. All three of the projects were equally important. The candidate must narrate how they divided the project into smaller tasks. They should elaborate on how it made it easy to finish the smaller tasks and focus on the large projects.

    Behavioral Interview Questions 


    Behavioral questions analyze the behavioral attributes of the candidates. The recruiter gets an insight into the capability and professionalism of the applicant. The following is a selection of the frequently asked questions for assessing the behavior:

    1. What are your attributes that will help the company maintain a healthy environment?

    Being self-aware is essential to everyone, irrespective of what job a person is applying for. With the help of the given answer, interviewers can analyze how well candidates know themselves. It also sheds light on what they would bring to the table. It is also a chance to learn something unique about the candidate that they might have missed in the resume or other interview parts. 


    1. What to do when you haven’t completed the work on time? How to make sure you never miss the deadline?

    The response of the candidate should be in line with common practices to manage time well. They should take work that can be done based on their capacity. They should also discuss due dates with the client/ managers. These should be based on the teams’ input capacity and company’s goals. Extra work can be taken on high-pressure days or when a client gives strict submission time. One should always keep up with the hustle. Never delay any task. Keep the work routine planned and organized.


    1. How does prioritizing help while delegating tasks as a team leader?

    While giving tasks to the team, it is very important to know the teammates. Leaders should note the strong and weak points of the team. Based on that, the task should be allowed. In this way, it becomes a win-win situation. All the members get the tasks and feel involved while leaders get their work done efficiently.


    1. Describe some of your favorite aspects of this job 

    It is essential to make sure the candidate is passionate about the job they are doing. While experience and knowledge matter, passion makes an individual strive for the best. This question will give a little insight into those tiny aspects that they find enjoyable in their job. It can also help analyze if they are doing the work just for the money or because of their love for it. 

    Situational Interview Questions 


    Situational interview questions are a great way to assess a candidate’s ability to prioritize tasks in a given situation. By asking questions about how the candidate has handled similar situations, HR can gain insight into how the candidate will prioritize tasks in the future. This type of interview can help employers determine whether a candidate is the right fit for the job.


    1. After returning from a 14-day vacation, you have new emails to be answered; how should you choose which ones to answer first?

    Upon returning from vacation, it is important to prioritize emails by urgency. Candidates can start by saying that they will sort the emails by date, and then address the most time-sensitive ones. The ability to sort emails, prioritize, and answer them accordingly will allow HR to assess the behavioral aspects of candidates toward their work.


    1. Talk about how you prepare yourself and the team for the next day

    Here, the job seeker can talk about how they create a list of key action items prioritized according to the company’s goals and the urgency of each task. They can first respond from the team leader’s point of view. For example, keeping plan A and plan B ready for a particular day. They can also talk about how they help their teammates prioritize their work.


    1. Explain when you had to be strategic to meet top priorities.

    At an advanced level, job seekers are expected to put their best foot forward. Hence, they should mention a few techniques they may have used. To answer this question, the candidate should mention the ABCDE prioritization method. This way, the candidate’s methods will be crystal clear to the interviewer. 


    1. Talk about a situation when you had to comply with work ethics and prioritize

    The answer to this question will allow HR to gain insight into the candidate’s ability to handle a situation. How did they balance their work ethics and prioritize the situation? Candidates must be confident while answering the question. The candidates can add a few examples to demonstrate their prioritization skills.


    1. How did you manage situations where time was a crucial element?

    HR experts must look for candidates who support this question with an example. The candidates can describe any incident that might have happened at their previous workplace. Giving an example of working on a huge project while managing all professional challenges can be on the list.

    1. Tell us some of the major challenges you have faced in this role

    This question gives the interviewer an insight into how well the candidate tackles difficulties. It highlights their problem-solving capacities, logical thinking, creativity, and adaptability. It also helps assess how well they perform in difficult situations.


    End Note


    To summarise, prioritization skills are essential for better growth and productivity. It also strengthens employee-employer relationships. Asking the right questions during the interview and looking for red flags can help employers identify candidates with good time management abilities.


    Moreover, employing the tips outlined in this article will enable a better assessment of the candidates’ skills and make the best hiring decisions. By finding the right recruit, one can ensure that a business has a team of talented people equipped with the skills necessary for success.


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