A quick note on a simple question 90% of interviewers will (and should) ask.
“So, tell me, how do you prioritise your workload?”
This is a great question and, in certain situations, has been the question that has changed a no into a yes for me.
I can’t believe how varied and creative some of the answers to this very question have been over the years…
“Whatever is the most urgent.”
“Whatever is the quickest.”
“Whatever is the most difficult.”
“Whatever makes the most money” (when interviewing for a sales job, this may be a suitable answer, but I still wouldn’t say it’s the best).
“Whatever my manager tells me” (I hate this answer with a passion).
The reason this question is so important is that, as a manager you, want to know that the people in your team are working on the right things at any given time – without worrying about constantly feeling like you need to check in on them.
Think about it this way, would you want your team-members working on something just because a certain stakeholder was breathing down their neck to have something completed (“urgency”)? Would you want someone working on something because it was the quickest/easiest thing to do in that moment of time?… You see where I’m going with this.
So, what is the correct answer?
As a hiring manager I want my people to be working on things aligned with my teams goals/objectives.
Why is that? Because my team’s objectives are aligned with my department’s objectives and in turn, they are aligned with the business objectives.
As a manager, it’s my duty to make sure that the people in my team are working on the most business-critical projects/tasks as a priority. Can I cultivate and train this mentality? Sure. But if it’s already ingrained in a potential new recruit, that shows they have a commercial mindset, and in any growing business this is what your people need to have.
Does this mean you ignore the quickest/most difficult/most urgent/highest paying tasks? No, of course not. But you put first things first.
I hope that helps someone out there prepare for an interview.
Thoughts, feedback and questions welcome.