September 22, 2015
If you’ve been job searching, no matter what the role is, you’ve probably seen the line: excellent organizational skills or can juggle multiple projects at once. With this being a key skill needed for so many jobs, a common interview question is, “How do you stay organized?”
Here are some tips to answer this question the best way possible and stand out as a stellar candidate for the position:
1. You have a specific system
Everyone has some type of structure in which they complete their daily to-dos. It doesn’t have to be complicated, actually; the simpler the better. Think about how you accomplished your tasks this week. Did you review everything at the beginning of the week and prioritize? Do you prioritize by deadline or how important a task is? Do you use Evernote to plan your week, or do you like to write and color-code everything on a master calendar? Articulate your system in a few sentences that show you have a thoughtful way of keeping all of your responsibilities in order.
I keep track of everything using Google Calendar. I like to fill out big projects on the monthly view, then at the start of every week I like to plan what needs to be done. At the end of every day, I see what I accomplished and add any new tasks that popped up during the day.
2. Your system is flexible
Interviewers like that you’re able to stay organized even when something unexpected happens. Even if they don’t specifically ask how your organizational system is flexible, you should still include that you aren’t stuck if an unanticipated task is thrown your way.
Because I review what I need to do at the end of every day, I’m able to re-prioritize quickly if I’m given a new urgent task during the day.
3. Give an example of your system in action
The way you stand out with this question is giving a specific example in your career where you put your system to work, something unexpected came up and you were able to handle it well. Having a particular time when you had to use your organization skills will show that you’re confident in your abilities and will impress the person interviewing you.
When I worked at ACME Software I had to organize all of the logistics for a conference at the end of the month. I had all of the deadlines planned out on Google Calendar. Two weeks before the conference, we had to do a rush order 1,000 more brochures for one of our products. Since I was on time with all of the other responsibilities for the conference it was easy for me to order the extra 1,000 brochures without neglecting my other tasks.
Like all answers to interview questions, try to be concise while still being as detailed as possible. Since you prepared for the question, you’ll be more likely to answer it confidently and with ease. Just take the time to figure out your system and an example, and the delivery will be a piece of cake.