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Poor Time Management During the Interview Can Cost You the Job

Every employer wants to have employees who can prioritize, organize, and plan their work. In job interviews, they will ask questions like:

How do you decide which tasks to do first?

How do you manage competing deadlines?

Can you tell us about a time when you were late completing a task and why that happened?

You should always be ready for time-management questions. But a much better way to demonstrate that skill is to manage your time well during the interview.

You do this by answering questions in a concise, organized way.  

To do this, you must first have an idea of how long the interview will be. It would help if you always asked this when someone from the company calls or emails you to book the interview. Once you know the length of the interview, you will be better able to gauge your timing and plan your answers accordingly.

You should always enter the interview with a plan in mind. One of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to anticipate the interview questions. A few days before the interview, sit down with the job posting or job description and prepare a list of questions you would ask if you were the interviewer. If done well, you can usually anticipate most of the questions you will be asked. This step will help your preparation immensely.

You should list the top three or four points you want to make during the interview and stick to those key messages. For example, let’s say you do not have directly related work experience to the job you are applying for, but you have transferrable skills that you can use in the new job. Make sure those skills are well identified and communicated during the interview. Hopefully, the interviewer will bring these out through their questions, but make sure you weave them into your answers if they do not.

Lastly, you should also watch for signals from the interviewer that you might be going on too long. For example, if they put their pen down and stop writing, or lose eye contact, or glaze over, you have gone on too long. Wrap up your answer quickly.