What Employers Really Want: Prioritization

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This is one of a series of posts based on LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions’ Guide: 30 Behavioral Interview Questions to Identify High-Potential Candidates.

Here’s the list of the qualities managers value:

  1. Adaptability
  2. Culture add
  3. Collaboration
  4. Leadership
  5. Growth potential
  6. Prioritization

One of the differences between highly productive employees and others is the ability to discern what’s most important right now.  Where to begin, what’s most urgent, what’s next and what can wait. We make dozens of choices each day based on these judgments, and they’re critical to the success of a project or a company.

Here’s what the LinkedIn guide says about Prioritization:

“When juggling multiple tasks, we have to be able to decide which ones need to be tackled immediately, and which ones can wait. Hiring someone who can’t get this right means that key due dates and project timelines can fall through the cracks, ultimately hurting your business. People who can manage their time and prioritize effectively will help your business thrive.”

Here are questions managers use to screen for prioritization:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to juggle several projects at the same time. How did you organize your time? What was the result?
  • Tell me about a project that you planned. How did you organize and schedule the tasks?
  • Describe a time when you felt stressed or overwhelmed. How did you handle it?

I would add these:

  • What system(s) do you use to manage your time and to-do list?
  • What kinds of tasks do you delegate? How do you choose whom you delegate to?

If you have workers with great prioritization skills, encourage them to share their ideas, tools, and systems.  Your whole team can get better if you allow them to learn from each other.


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