Interview Question: "How Do You Stay Organized at Work?"

What Techniques and Tools Do You Use to Keep Yourself Organized

Whether you are a meticulous planner, or more of a last minute back-of-an-envelope type of guy, most people have a system for keeping life – personal as well as professional – organized and running smoothly. If you are applying for a position in which your organizational skills are particularly important to your success, then you can expect to be asked a little about your personal style and how you like to keep yourself (and others) on the right track.

This is not a question where there is necessarily a ’model’ or ’correct’ answer, but there are certainly some areas you should try to cover to give the hiring manager confidence in your day-to-day organizational abilities. Plan to talk about these areas in your answer:

Where's your to-do list?

There are few aspects of organization that everyone agrees on, like the importance of a ’to do’ list. Keeping your short term priorities for the day in order and planned in a way to allow you to deliver on a daily basis, your interviewer will expect to hear a little about your personal take on the ’to do’ list. Whether it is some notes in a pad kept for the purpose, on your smartphone, using an app or an endless trail of post-it notes, be prepared to tell the hiring manager what you do and why it works for you. If you have an easy example (and one you’re proud of!) – your current list on a phone or in your pocket, for example – show it for even more impact.

Communication management

The second area that is important in more or less any role, is how you organize communication management – specifically, how you keep on top of emails and calls on a daily basis. This is especially important in a role which involves interacting with customers or other parts of the business but it is also a question you will be asked in any management position where you have to assimilate and share details with a team. What communication tools do you use? How do you make sure your inbox is managed? How do you know what actions are needed to be taken? What is your routine and discipline around communication to ensure that everything gets done but without sacrificing personal life and becoming a slave to the iPhone?

Organization is central to many roles – either in terms of organizing yourself or others, and this is a common interview question in many fields. Be prepared for it and you can easily win over the interviewer with your organization style and skills, giving them confidence that you’re the right person for the job.