11 Common Time Management Interview Questions (with Example Answers)

Dana Guterman
Updated: June 18, 2023

After reading this article, you’ll:

  • Be prepared to answer common interview questions about time management.
  • Understand why employers ask questions about your time management skills.
  • Know how to connect your time management skills to the role for which you’re interviewing.

Sometimes, there just aren’t enough hours in the day—but a great intern or employee knows how to make the most of every minute. Because every employer wants to hire productive and efficient people, interviewers often ask questions about a candidate’s time management skills. Studies have found that time management skills can affect job performance. Practicing these questions and answers can help you land your dream job.

In this article, we’ll look at frequently asked interview questions about time management and prioritization.


How to answer time management interview questions

Many interview questions about time management are behavioral interview questions, so you can answer them by using the STAR method. That means choosing specific examples of when you managed your time wisely, and then crafting compelling stories to share with the interviewer.

Time management is about meeting deadlines and being organized. It’s also about knowing how to prioritize—when to focus and when to switch gears. When you answer time management interview questions, you need to show the interviewer that you can be focused and you can be flexible.

Additionally, you’ll want to differentiate between how you manage your time on a day-to-day basis and how you plan for the future. Good workers think about the long and short term and know how to plan accordingly.

Finally, you want to speak to the result of all those short deadlines and last-minute changes: stress. When an employer asks about your ability to juggle multiple tasks, they’re also asking how you react to having so many tasks in the first place. Be sure to set their mind at ease by talking about how well you handle pressure.

TL;DR: Here are the important areas to highlight when answering time management interview questions:

  • Meeting deadlines.
  • How you get (and stay) organized.
  • Dealing with distractions and interruptions.
  • How you prioritize tasks.
  • Handling last-minute changes.
  • Short-term organization vs. long-term organization.
  • How you manage your stress.

Time Management in a Remote Work Environment

As more companies adopt remote or hybrid work models, understanding how to manage your time effectively in a remote environment becomes increasingly important. Therefore, potential employers may be interested in your time management strategies specific to remote work during the interview process. Here are some points you can focus on:

Maintaining Boundaries

One of the most significant challenges in remote work is the blurring of lines between personal and professional life. Discuss how you set clear boundaries—for instance, designating a specific workspace, defining work hours, and not checking work emails during your off-hours. These measures not only protect your work-life balance but also ensure you are fully engaged during your working hours.

Scheduling and Planning

In a remote setting, self-discipline and planning are crucial. Talk about how you structure your day, such as using calendar apps for scheduling meetings and blocking out time for focused work. Mention if you follow any specific techniques like time blocking or the Pomodoro Technique.

Managing Distractions

A home environment can have its unique set of distractions. Share your strategies for dealing with these, such as using noise-canceling headphones, turning off non-work related notifications during work hours, or setting guidelines with family members or housemates.

Leveraging Technology

Remote work is heavily reliant on technology. Discuss the tools you use for project management, communication, and time management. Whether it’s Slack for team communication, Asana for task management, or RescueTime for productivity tracking, share how you effectively use these tools to stay organized and efficient.


Time management in remote work also involves efficient communication. Describe how you manage your communication to prevent it from becoming a time sink—this could include setting specific times for checking and responding to emails, using status updates on communication tools to signal when you’re busy, or setting up regular check-ins with your team to stay aligned.

Self-Care and Breaks

It’s important not to overlook self-care in remote work. Discuss how you incorporate regular breaks into your day to rest and recharge, and how this ultimately improves your productivity and focus when you are working.

By addressing these points, you’ll show potential employers that you have a strong grasp of time management in a remote work environment and that you can be trusted to work independently and efficiently, even when you’re not in the office.

Sample time management interview questions and answers

Employers will ask you plenty of questions about how you plan, prioritize, and hit your deadlines. Here are 11 of the most frequently asked time management interview questions, along with some sample answers.

1. How do you prioritize?

Things change quickly in the working world, and your interviewer wants to know that you’ll be able to stay on top of competing priorities, deadlines, and needs—without getting overwhelmed.

During my last semester, I was taking five courses, and three of them had final exams scheduled over the same two days. I was also on the hockey team and volunteering twice a week. I had to prioritize and be extremely organized to get everything done and keep my commitments. I set out a work schedule ahead of time and re-set expectations with my extracurriculars, including temporarily reducing my volunteer hours until my exams were over. By laying out my schedule on a calendar and blocking out each day, I ensured that all my time was being used effectively.

 2. You have 100 new emails after coming back from vacation. What do you do?

This situational interview question tests how you react to a situation you’re likely to encounter. If you’ve encountered a similar situation in the past, mention it in your response.

I took a week away from classes last year to volunteer abroad, and when I came back, I had way more than 100 emails! To get through them, I started with the oldest and worked my way up. I created buckets marked “1,” “2,” and “3,” for the most-urgent to least-urgent ones. Once I’d gone through every single email, I wrote a brief response to all the emailed labeled “1.” I explained that I was just getting back, and told them when to expect a more thorough response. I spent the next few days taking care of those tasks, and then I moved on to the emails marked “2.” For me, taking a methodical approach is the best way to take control of an overwhelming situation.

3. How do you maintain a work-life balance?

Achieving a better work-life balance is a hot topic nowadays, and employers want to know that you’ll take care of their needs as well as your own. The key points of your response: you set healthy boundaries so you won’t burn out. At the same time, you’re willing to step up, and put in the overtime, when needed.

I volunteer for the local animal shelter, running their social media accounts and writing a lot of donor communications materials. Every week, I block out my schedule with classes, extracurricular, and volunteer time. I never work past 10:00 am, and I schedule in time for each meal and a brisk walk every day. I’ve let the shelter know that I won’t respond to any emails sent after 4:00 pm, since that’s when I have clubs and time for myself. That being said, they recently rescued 30 dogs from a bad situation and needed fosters immediately, so of course I worked late a few nights. I believe that having a work-life balance is really important, but I’m also happy to put in the hours when circumstances call for it.

4. Tell me about a time when you missed a deadline. 

This is a tricky question that can easily veer into negative territory. Your best bet is to briefly describe the situation and why you missed the deadline, and then focus most of your response on how you remedied the situation. Finally, tell the interviewer what steps you’ve taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again. (Oh, and if you’ve honestly never missed a deadline: great job! Talk about what you’ve done to be so successful whenLearn moreT it comes to managing your time.)

During my freshman year, I was really overwhelmed by the amount of work. Early on, I had four essays due on the same day. I didn’t plan well, so I missed one. I spoke to the professor, and she kindly agreed to give me an extension (minus five percent). After that, I knew I needed to shape up. I started using Trello, a project management software, to keep track of all my academic and personal tasks. I can move things around based on priority, and I split larger tasks into small, more manageable ones. I haven’t missed a deadline since!


Additional time management interview questions

5. How do you work under pressure?

6. Do you consider yourself an organized person?

7. How do you organize your day?

8. What do you do when you’re overwhelmed at work?

9. How do you deal with distractions?

10. Why is it important to manage your time well?

11. How do you deal with boring or repetitive tasks?


Tips for answering questions about time management

  • Back it up. Saying you’re great at managing your time is fine. Proving that you have a track record of time-management success is way better.
  • Don’t multitask. At one time, employers loved multitaskers. Nowadays, they look down on it, preferring people who are great at one thing rather than sub-par at many. Instead, highlight how you prioritize your various tasks so that you don’t need to multitask.
  • Get into the weeds. How do you organize your to-do list? Which project management software do you use? Details are very important when it comes to answering time management questions.

Demonstrating your time management skills in an interview is crucial. It shows your potential as a highly efficient, strategic, and autonomous employee. Practice your responses, offer specific examples, and focus on the results you’ve achieved. By effectively showcasing your time management skills, you improve your chances of securing your desired role.