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How to Handle Tough Interview Questions About Managing Competing Priorities

Being able to manage competing priorities under pressure is an important skill employers look for. Knowing how to answer this question will give you an edge over other candidates.

What is the hiring manager looking for?

Hiring managers want to see your critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and organizational skills.

How to structure your answer

Use the STAR method to answer this question:
– Situation: Briefly describe a situation where you were faced with competing priorities and tight deadlines.
– Task: Explain the specific tasks you were responsible for and the challenges you faced.
– Action: Describe the steps you took to prioritize your tasks and meet the deadlines.
– Result: Share the positive results of your actions.

Tips to answer this interview question

Tips:
– Be prepared to give a specific example, rather than talking in general terms.
– Clearly explain how you prioritized your tasks and managed your time effectively.
– Be honest about your experience and don’t try to BS the interviewer.

Things to avoid:
– Don’t focus on a time when you were unable to meet a deadline or complete a task.
– Don’t blame your colleagues or superiors for your problems.
– Don’t be vague or give superficial answers.

Example interview answers to this question

Strong Sample Answers:
1. “As a student, I had to balance a heavy course load, a part-time job, and extracurricular activities. I created a weekly schedule and set priorities for each task. I also made sure to take breaks and ask for help when needed. As a result, I was able to maintain good grades, keep up with my job, and participate in extracurricular activities.”

Explanation:
– This answer shows the ability to manage multiple priorities and meet deadlines.
– It highlights time management skills, prioritizing skills, and problem-solving skills.


2. “In my previous job, I was tasked with leading a project with a tight deadline. I organized my team, assigned tasks, and created a communication plan. I also made sure to check in with my team members regularly and provide support when needed. As a result, we were able to successfully complete the project on time and within budget.”

Explanation:
– This answer shows the ability to manage a team, prioritize tasks, and communicate effectively.
– It highlights leadership skills, teamwork skills, and problem-solving skills.

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