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“How do you handle meeting tight deadlines?” is a question asked in an interview.

“How do you handle meeting tight deadlines?” is a question asked in an interview.

A hiring manager may ask candidates questions during an interview to find out how well they can work. How do you handle meeting tight deadlines? is a question they might ask to find out if you have these qualities. Preparing a good answer to this question can show an employer that you’re ready to take on the responsibilities of the job you’re interviewing for. This article talks about why employers ask this question, how to answer it well, and gives examples of answers that you can use to prepare for your own interview.

Why companies want to know how you handle meeting deadlines

Many jobs in many different fields require workers to meet tight deadlines. Most of the time, interviewers want to know how candidates work when they are under pressure to meet company goals. How you handle deadlines can tell a lot about how ready you are for the job you’re applying for. By asking this question, the interviewer can find out if you can work quickly when needed and how well you might do in the role as a whole.

Hiring managers can learn a lot about how you work and how productive you might be if you were hired by seeing how you handle approaching deadlines. This question also lets them know how you could use your time to help the company.

How to answer, “How do you meet deadlines?”

Here are some things you can do to prepare for this interview question and give a good, confident answer:

1. Set a deadline for yourself that you had to meet.

The best way to answer this question is to think of a time when you had to meet a tight deadline at a previous job. Most of the time, it’s best to pick a situation that has something to do with the job you’re applying for.

The more details you can give, the easier it is for the interviewer to judge the situation and figure out how well you work under pressure. Even if you’ve never met a deadline before, you can still talk about how you would handle it in a hypothetical situation or a time when you showed you were good at managing your time.

2. Say how important the deadline you chose is.

When you tell your story, try to talk about how important the deadline was by explaining the whole situation, like who you were working with and how hard it was to meet the deadline. Interviewers will also want to know how often you’ve had to meet deadlines in the past. For example, if you had to meet deadlines every month, every week, or even every day at your last job, make sure to say so.

3. Talk about what you did to make the deadline.

When hiring managers ask this question, they are usually trying to find out how the candidate meets deadlines. During the interview, you might want to talk about a method or tool that helps you meet deadlines. When you write your answer, try to make sure that how you meet deadlines fits well with the job you want and that you explain how you prioritize your tasks to meet deadlines well.

4. Explain what took place

The next step is to talk about what you did to meet the deadline and what you learned from how you handled the situation. For example, you could talk about how finishing a task early saved you time and energy and made you more productive. You may have also learned that it’s easier to finish projects on time and do good work if you break them up into steps and finish the step that takes the most time as soon as you can.

In an interview, how you answer this question is often the most important part. This is because a hiring manager usually wants to know what you learned from the situation and how it changed your work in the future.

5. Remain positive

An interviewer wants to know how you handle deadlines because they want to know if you can work well under pressure and in a short amount of time. Try to keep a positive attitude as you talk about how you met a deadline. If you look forward to deadlines instead of being afraid of them, a hiring manager might think you can handle the duties of the job.

How can you make sure you meet tight deadlines?

Here are some good answers to questions about making deadlines:

Example 1


As an editor at a production company, I have to meet deadlines that are often very short. I’ve learned that it’s important to work as a team, plan carefully, and talk to each other a lot in these kinds of situations. My team recently shot and edited a short film in only 48 hours, which is much less time than the two weeks we usually take. When I was given this job, I called a meeting of the editing team right away to figure out how to finish editing the short film in time for its release.

We thought it would be easiest to break the project into separate steps to make it easier to handle, and we guessed how long it would take to finish each edit. We split up the work and took turns shooting and editing so that everyone could get some rest and not feel like they were working too hard. We changed our plans to make switching places easier. We were able to edit the movie and get it out before the deadline because we broke the project down into steps, carefully managed our time, and changed our schedules.”

Example 2

When I was a research assistant, I often helped put together proposals and presentations. To finish them, you had to be good at managing your time and communicating with other people. For example, one of my jobs was to prepare research presentations on hard topics for scientific meetings. To do this, you had to work with researchers, gather data, and put charts and graphs in the report. When I was putting together a presentation, I learned how to make the most of my time and meet deadlines. I made sure my presentation was ready on time and had everything it needed by using tools for project management.

I also made to-do lists to keep track of my tasks and make it easier to figure out what needed to be done first and in what order. When I set aside a certain amount of time for parts of my presentations that I knew would take longer, like collecting and analyzing data, I was able to meet deadlines faster and get better feedback on the information I shared.

Example 3

As a caterer, we had to make and serve food to customers quickly. Once, a coworker was sick and we didn’t have enough people to do the job. We found it harder to meet a client’s deadline because of this.

I got to work an hour early so I could make sure the customers got their food on time. I also took a few minutes to figure out the order of my jobs and what I needed to do to finish making, delivering, and setting up the food. I was able to get everything done in time for the event by getting there early and putting things in order of how important they were. The service my company gave to the customer made the customer happy.

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