Interview Question: "How Do You Stay Organized?"

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 8, 2022 | Published April 17, 2020

Updated July 8, 2022

Published April 17, 2020

Person sitting at an organized desk with their back facing the camera

Interviewers often ask job candidates questions about specific skills, like organization, to learn how well they'll respond to responsibilities in the workplace. One of the most common questions interviewers ask is "How do you stay organized?"

In this article, we discuss why employers ask this specific question, how to best to answer it and explore example answers.

Why employers ask "How do you stay organized?"

Employers commonly ask questions related to the organization because it is an important soft (interpersonal) skill that promotes productivity and efficiency. People who are organized use their time, energy and resources more wisely than those who are disorganized.

Related: Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

How to answer "How do you stay organized?"

Follow these steps to provide a thorough answer for specific questions about how you stay organized:

1. Describe what works for you

Before answering, think about the many tools you use to keep yourself organized at work. For example, you may have specific apps installed on your phone that remind you to complete a daily task, or you may keep a journal handy to write down your to-do list throughout the day. Some professionals download browser extensions that help them complete specific tasks more efficiently. By describing the specific ways you use these tools and how they help you accomplish work-related tasks, you're demonstrating your level of organization.

Related: 10 Simple Ways To Be More Productive at Work

2. Explain your time management strategies

When you're organized, it saves the company time and money. That's why interviewers appreciate candidates who incorporate time management strategies into their daily work routine. You may describe how you save time by focusing on one task at a time to produce higher-quality work. If you work quicker with fewer distractions, you may explain how you avoid checking emails and answering phone calls when working on high-priority assignments.

Related: Time Management Skills: Definition and Examples

3. Demonstrate your level of organization

There are several ways to show your organizational skills throughout the interview:

  • First, arrive on time with everything you need to proceed with the interview. Bring a briefcase or bag that contains copies of your polished resume, samples of your past work, a list of questions to ask the interviewer and supplies like a pen and paper for note-taking.

  • Next, answer questions thoughtfully, taking care to address all aspects of every question.

  • Last, leave on a positive note by thanking your interviewer for their time. Be sure to follow up with them after the interview with a sincere note of thanks.

4. Give past examples

When answering questions about the organization, think about what you did to stay organized in past roles. Give specific examples of methods you used and how it impacted your work routine. You may also describe how staying organized benefited your previous company.

5. Be honest

Let your interviewer know that even when you take the initiative to stay organized, things don't always go as planned. The key to answering the organization question effectively is to convey that despite the unexpected, you remain consistent in your methods and adapt to changes easily. Showing that you're flexible helps interviewers understand your personality better.

Example answers

Here are some examples of how you may answer questions regarding organization:

Example 1: Helpful tools

"I use a variety of digital tools to help me stay organized and remember important events. Most of the time I use an online calendar because it makes sharing my calendar and work projects with others so easy. In the past, I've also used different work management platforms to help me accomplish goals and meet deadlines. I enjoyed using the features that simplify the tracking and reporting process. I even downloaded the corresponding apps on my phone so I could monitor activity remotely.

Of course, I always have a notepad with me to write down quick reminders and to-do lists. At the end of my shift, I make time to transfer the details of my handwritten notes into my online calendar. This ensures that I don't miss any important details from the day."

Example 2: Time management

"Over the years I've noticed how important it is to keep track of your time at work. Although multitasking is beneficial in many ways, I've learned that when it comes to challenging work, it is better to focus on one project at a time rather than try to do too many things at once.

When I'm working on a tight deadline, I start my day by making a list of priorities. Then I approach the most challenging work first, then move onto other tasks that don't require the same level of concentration. This helps me work more efficiently throughout the rest of the day. I also make a point to silence my phone and turn off email notifications during deep work to help me avoid distractions."

Example 3: Demonstration

"I appreciate you taking the time to meet with me today, and I look forward to answering any questions you have for me. I brought extra copies of my resume in case you need them. I also brought my creative portfolio which includes some of the artwork I created for a recent ad campaign."

Example 4: Past examples

"When I worked at Inner Circle, I was responsible for organizing company meetings and events. When my manager started requesting more frequent gatherings, I decided it was time to develop a quick system for booking venues and vendors. Once I had this system in place using some of my favorite apps and online tools, I was able to book everything in advance within a matter of hours. My manager was so impressed with my efficiency that he promoted me from marketing assistant to event director."

Example 5: Honesty

"There are times when priorities change throughout the day and I have to reassess my goals. Some days I don't get everything done that I had hoped, but I've learned that it's okay to start fresh the next day. It's all about having a positive attitude and a willingness to adapt to unexpected changes."

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