|  May 11, 2015

Interview questions: How do you keep yourself organized?

This post is part of our series on common interview questions. I’ve written about many of the most common interview questions before but this is one I’ve seen popping up a lot lately. I’ve also asked it many times in the past and found the answers to be really interesting.

Common interview question: How do you keep yourself organized?

Why they’re asking:

Organizational skills (defined as the ability to use your time, energy, resources, etc. in an effective way so that you achieve the things you want to achieve) are critical to being successful in almost any role. It’s particularly important for entry-level and more junior roles as those jobs tend to have a heavier support element. When you’re supporting others and handling tons of tiny details throughout your day, being organized is key. The hiring manager or recruiter is probably asking you this to make sure you are in fact an organized person and to see if you have effective systems in place to get your work done. Of course, some roles out there are more creative and this will matter less (in that case, this question probably won’t come up in the interview). If they’re asking, assume it’s important to them.

How to answer:

There isn’t a right way to keep yourself organized and therefore there isn’t one right way to answer to this question. Be honest and describe your preferred organization system.

  • Show that you’ve thought it out before, care about staying organized, and have a system in place that works for you
  • Share exactly how you do it (details will help back up your statement above)
  • When relevant, share an example of how your system has helped you and benefited the company you were working for (or the work that you did)
  • Don’t sound too rigid – yes, being organized and planful is important but so is being able to problem-solve and adjust as things come up

An example:

I’m a very organized person and this has definitely come in handy in my past [internships or jobs]. At the beginning of each week I review my calendar and outline the key things I need to accomplish.

Then I set up reminders, blocks of time, and to do lists so I have clear steps and time allocated to meet those goals. [Bonus: give example from past job of your system in action].

Of course, not everything can be planned and when things come up last minute, I make sure I can adjust quickly and respond to those priorities as well.

Are you getting ready for an interview? Check out our downloadable interview prep workbook!


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