Multitasking Interview Questions

You wear a lot of hats, which may prove your worthiness for the new job.

You wear a lot of hats, which may prove your worthiness for the new job.

You have a home and a career, so chances are you already know a thing or two about multitasking. If multitasking is also a requirement for the new job you want, you can describe your personal experiences as evidence. Still, take a little extra time to make sure you're prepared for any types of questions that may come at you.

Provide an Example

Interviewers love to ask behavioral questions, in which they ask you to relate an experience from the past as evidence for how you'll perform in the future. When it comes to multitasking, interviewers may ask you to provide an example when you multitasked successfully or a time when you didn't. If the job posting specifically lists multitasking as a part of the job, expect this question to come up and come prepared with a good example.

Example Given

Another approach the interviewer may use is to put you in the shoes of an employee who has come before you. She may describe a situation in which an employee faced conflicting responsibilities and had to make a choice what to do first, or try to handle all the issues at once. There's probably more than one right answer in this case, so the only thing to do is assess the situation, weigh the pros and cons, and use your best judgment to suggest a solution.

Planning

Questions about planning or time management may also be multitasking questions, but slightly masked. The interviewer may ask you how you plan your day or to describe a typical day. As with all aspects of a job interview, stay positive and confident as you describe your past duties and your planning stages. Try to ride the line between showing the interviewer that you're competent, while at the same time, not setting the bar so high that you won't be able to keep up when you're actually hired.

The Extra Mile

Managers love it when you go the extra mile and give 110 percent, so the multitasking question may come up as a gauge of your commitment. When your interviewer says, "Can you handle multitasking," she may actually be saying, "Can you handle a lot of work?" Though it's not physically possible to do a lot of tasks at the same time, what you're really doing is prioritizing and juggling various duties in very small increments of time to get them all done. As such, another way to answer a multitasking question is to let the interviewer know that you're willing to commit as much time to a project as it needs, even if it means you'll often be working late.

 

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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