Career Job Interview

How To Answer “How Do You Prioritize Your Work?” To Get That Job

How Do You Prioritize Your Work

How should I answer the interview question; how do you prioritize your work?

For most beginners, it’s a tricky interview question, but it’s not. At the end of the day, the recruiters only want to know if you possess the qualities needed for effective work-life management.

These qualities are;

  • Stress management.
  • Time management.
  • Proactivity.
  • Ability to manage workplace crises.
  • Workforce diversification ability.
  • How you map out your day.
  • How you reschedule your plan in case of emergencies and urgencies.

Guess what? Whether this is your first interview or you have previous work experience, you definitely possess these skills.

All of them:

Yet, they can be hard to unveil especially if you’ve never had a job before. Even if you once held a professional position, presenting your answers correctly, without the imposter syndrome creeping in, can be hard.


It doesn’t have to be. Here, read on, discover how to answer how do you prioritize your work to make a great impression, even if you’re a fresher.

Also, read this guide on how to answer “do you consider yourself successful”.

The Complete Guide To Acing The Interview Question “How Do You Prioritize Your Work”

1.Describe How You Map Out Your Day-To-Day

Do you swear by Tony Robbin’s chunking method for a higher level of efficiency or do you prefer working down a long to-do list? If the latter, you want to explain in what order you arrange the items on your list. Starting your answer with this tells your recruiters about your organizational and time management skills.

Example: I prefer creating a to-do list in the morning. This serves as the roadmap to effectively executing the job for the day. However, the activities on my list are arranged based on priority and time sensitivity. Works with the shortest deadlines and of the highest importance come first.

2.Explain How You Reschedule In Case Of Emergencies

Truth is, impromptus and urgent tasks pop up at every workplace and in every position. So, you need to explain how you prevent these from disrupting your work plan while still attending to them proactively. Including this in your answer showcases your stress management skills and your ability to manage workplace crises. It’s especially important if you are asked “how would you prioritize your work when dealing with time constraints?

Example: When an emergent task comes up, I quickly cross out an activity that’s not a priority and that has an extended deadline off my list. I make sure the time assigned to complete this postponed job for the day is enough to execute the emergency one. Finally, I make sure I report these new changes to the team’s management before proceeding. Also, the postponed work is either added to the next day’s to-do list or executed during a free time of the same day”.

3.Straighten Out How You Cope With Diversifications

Diversification doesn’t have to be about going entirely out of your job scope. At times, some activities demand communicating with other departments. In other cases, you find yourself working alongside a team you’ve never worked with. By including how you handle diversifications in your answer, you also answer the related question “how do you prioritize your work when you have multiple duties?”.

Example: whenever there’s a task that demands reaching out to other departments or working outside the scope of my job, I quickly adapt and learn the new things fast. I am a self-starter with good relationship skills. This allows me to keep to deadlines and remain productive even in the face of diversification.

4.Describe How You Set Deadlines

This is how you reassure them of your time management skill. It’s important to briefly explain how you establish realistic deadlines, even for impromptu works. Do you first take the deadlines set by your manager, see if you need more time, and reach back for extensions? How do you communicate this?

Example: I always ensure that I understand the deadline given for every task. After that, I analyze to see the actual duration it will take me to provide the best output. If I need more time, I always request for an extension from the management before proceeding.

5.Tell How You Keep The Balance Between Work And Life

Yes, going on and on about how good you are at multitasking is a great way to impress. However, know that your employers understand that you are a human. They acknowledge that you have a life outside of working for them and want to know how you keep the balance. In short, they want a realistic explanation of how you maintain productivity and a healthy, happy lifestyle.

Example: Whenever I notice that my workload would be unmanageable before or during execution, I reevaluate and reach back to the team lead to explain my situations. Also, whenever there’s a major life situation that can affect my assignments, I always notify my manager.”

6.Connect Everything To The Job You Are Getting Interviewed For

Finally, connect all of this with the position/job you’re getting interviewed for. Whenever your interviewer asks “how do you prioritize your work when you have multiple duties” or “how would you prioritize your work when dealing with time constraints” or anything along that line, relate how you handle your tasks with the job. See the sample below.

Example: “I take charge and execute my duties according to the company’s culture and the standards set for the position of a lead generator. Equipped with good organizational skills, I create a daily outline of the calls to be taken and how to convert a larger percentage of the calls to leads. When creating my daily schedule, I always consider how life situations can affect productivity, and thereby strike a balance.”

Check below for one of the best “how do you prioritize your work examples”.

Psst; see here for how to answer the interview question “how did you hear about this position”.

One of The Best Job-Winning How Do You Prioritize Your Work Examples

Example; Search Engine Optimization Team Lead For A Marketing Agency

Working without a to-do list makes me feel lost and out of place. So, every morning when I get to the office (or workspace, if a remote job) 2 hours before the team. I spend this period analyzing the performance statistics of the projects underway and deciding the next line of tasks to push things forward. I also use this period to assign workload and define execution processes for each of the team members. After drawing the complete distribution plan of works, I take a few minutes to meditate and refresh. Finally, once everyone is busy executing the tasks assigned to them, I start managing, monitoring, and assisting until all assignments are executed properly. I believe in executing the tasks that promise the most ROI for our clients first before moving to the tiny bits. Also, I prioritize healthy living because it boosts my productivity, enables me to adapt to crises/emergencies/changes, and makes my teamwork shine

And that’s it:

Also, read this complete guide on how to answer “what are your pet peeves” in an interview.