Interview questions and answers: Organizing your work

The interview question 'How do you organize your work' can baffle even people who are good at their jobs. The question relates to a primary work skill, which defines how interviewees handle workloads and deal with basic tasks.

In some jobs, it's also one of the most important interview questions. High volume workloads, deadlines, and pressure jobs require excellent organizational skills.

For interviewees, the main problem is knowing what interviewers want. Many try and guess what the interview answer is 'supposed' to be, rather than looking at it logically, so the interview answer comes unstuck.

Your interview answer for organization questions

These are the things the interviewers need from your interview answer:

  • A clear picture of your work, workload and time frames.
  • A clear explanation of how you plan your job.
  • Time management examples.

If your interview answer doesn't make these things clear, it isn't really answering the interview question. All three elements must be addressed for your interview answer to fully explain how you organize your work.

A clear picture of your work, workload and timeframes.

Your interview answer identifies:

  • The work required
  • The workload
  • The tasks
  • The time frames.

When giving your interview answer, quantify the workload, like 'X number of things to do in X amount of time'. This is a performance indicator, which is always useful in response to an interview question.

A clear explanation of how you plan your job.

Now you need to explain how and why you organize your work. The idea of the question is to get interviewees to demonstrate efficiency, so your interview answer now explains the handling process.

Some things are more important than others. Some things have different turnaround times. Others are ongoing routine work. Explain clearly the way you structure your working methods.

Time management examples.

The common factor in all interview questions about work organization is time. Your time management skills are also being checked. Your interview answer must explain clearly how you manage your times, relative to your workloads.

Example

The job is a correspondence clerk, dealing with a lot of letters, faxes and emails.

The interview question is 'How do you organize your turnaround of correspondence?'

'We get about 100 letters, emails, and faxes per day. I receive half of this work. I'm required to issue company responses.

Time management is important. The performance guidelines require a response to all correspondence within 24 hours from receipt, and that's what I do.

I organize work by volumes, types and categories of response. Some need more time for reply than others. I then do the responses in batches.

This also allows for urgent work to be dealt with quickly, because it's efficient handling of the workload.'

The answer shows:

  • Ability to organize a high volume workload
  • Clear performance requirements
  • An effective organizational method
  • Good time management
  • Can deal with priority issues

This interview answer covers all required information.