Deadlines. Nobody likes them, but everybody lives by them. No matter what your job title or where you happen to sit on the totem pole, you have deadlines. As tech projects and IT initiatives become more complex, the ability to hit deadlines has become a top priority for hiring managers. Do you know how to showcase your ability to handle deadlines in an interview?
Common Deadline-Related Interview Questions
You will likely be asked a few direct questions aimed at assessing your ability to manage your time and hit deadlines. Typical questions might include:
- How do you manage your time?
- How do you prioritize multiple projects with the same deadline?
- How do you handle conflicting deadlines?
- If a deadline is coming up and you know you’re going to miss it, what do you do?
When you hear questions like these, the hiring manager wants to hear real-world examples of your approach to these situations. Be sure your answers are honest, specific and speak directly to the question asked. If you deflect or give a generic answer, it will raise red flags.
How to Talk About Deadlines Effectively
For example, when asked about deadline management, don’t say, “I try to finish one project before moving on to the next.” This is far too vague and doesn’t provide insight into the way you tackle your work under pressure. An answer like this is more impactful:
When I’m working on a project and receive another with the same deadline, I plan the tasks I’ll have to do for each. From there, I plot the most efficient route to completion for both. In some cases, I may finish the first project before moving on to the next. In others, I may “batch” similar tasks for both projects. I regularly check in with the person receiving the finished product to let them know of its status, so they can plan their work accordingly.
The second answer is far more detailed, it demonstrates the way you think about a project, your ability to assess each situation as it comes, and it showcases the fact you care about the ways your work impacts other members of the team.