How to Explain Demonstrated Time Management Skills

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An employer who asks for demonstrated time management skills wants to know that you can organize and prioritize your work, juggle multiple tasks and meet deadlines. Many employers believe that past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior, and they will use interview questions designed to elicit detailed descriptions of workplace situations and how you handled them. This style of questioning is called a “behavioral interview.” Be prepared to tell the employer how you budgeted your time, planned projects and handled scheduling conflicts.

  • Describe a situation that required excellent time management skills. Select a situation that was especially challenging or interesting. State what project you were working on and what your position was.

  • Enumerate the goals and tasks you needed to accomplish. Be specific about your objectives in the situation.

  • Explain the actions you took to achieve your goals. Be detailed in your explanation and tell the interviewer what you did and why.

  • Detail the results of your action plan. Give as many specifics as possible, using measurable terms. This is the time to toot your own horn and sell yourself. Don’t be shy. If your action plan resulted in early completion of a project or cost savings to the company, tell that to the interviewer.

  • State what you learned from this experience and how you will use that knowledge in the future.

Tips & Warnings

  • In your job application cover letter, mention a few of your strongest time management skills, such as the ability to multitask or meet aggressive deadlines.
  • Be prepared to answer questions such as: Describe a situation in which you had to do several tasks at the same time. Describe a project you planned and tell us about the outcome. Tell us how you deal with scheduling conflicts.
  • Rehearse answers for common job interview questions that focus on time management skills. Be detailed in your answers, but don’t ramble on too long or go off on a tangent.
  • Show you can manage your time well by arriving 10 minutes early for the interview. If you are late for the interview, the employer may assume you have poor time management skills.

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