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Tell me about a time when you were in danger of missing a deadline. What did you do?

1 of 30 Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers Written by Rachelle Enns

Updated on July 22nd, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
How to Answer

This question is designed to learn how well you work under pressure. Avoid choosing a time that you were in danger of missing the deadline because of poor planning on your part such as procrastination. Instead, choose a situation that was out of your control.

Professional Answer Examples
Answer example

"Last month, our corporate head office requested a full inventory count at random. We were given just two days to complete this count when, usually, these inventory counts were given three full days to complete. I was the team lead at the time, so I rescheduled us to work longer split shifts to ensure we met the timeline without overworking anyone. I turned the task into a competition where the first person to complete their inventory section received two free movie tickets. My plan worked well! We finished the inventory count in just 39 hours and the team remained motivated."

Answer example

"My team and I were recently under a deadline to complete a global employee satisfaction survey. Our deadline was set to execute the project from start to finish within six weeks. Before beginning, we came across one main roadblock that was going to prevent us from accomplishing this. Global customs would take six weeks to ship the surveys in and out of the facility. We came up with a solution to email the surveys and still include the coding that would catalog the results by location and department. It was our transparency in communications and collaborative work environment that helped us meet the deadline and deliver the results to the leadership team."

Answer example

"This past year our regional manager wanted to have a new rep hired and trained for the first week of January. She informed me of this only on the first of December. To expedite the process, I requested a budget allowance to hire a recruiter. The recruiter worked fast, and we had an offer out to the perfect candidate in just three weeks."

Answer example

"I was once part of a team that had a major set back based on the crash of our project management software. I went to the project backup database, quickly reviewed everyone's open tasks, rearranged the schedule and called an emergency team meeting to set us back on course. We barely made it in time, but we made it."

Answer example

"I was called in at the last minute to help complete a buying deadline. Our previous manager had left suddenly, so, literally 20 hours into the new role; I was asked to make buying recommendations for next season. I stayed up pretty much all night reviewing last year's data for the same season, to make an educated recommendation to the buyer and sent it along to corporate. They made their buying decision based off of my recommendation. I was so nervous through the entire season that I may have made an inaccurate representation of our data and put my department's budget at risk. As it turned out, I was pretty near dead on and we had a successful summer season."

Answer example

"I am tasked with cold calling 100 potential new clients per day. I had a chaotic week just a couple of weeks ago where the Monday was a holiday, on Tuesday our company database was down, and on Wednesday, I was out for half of the day on in-person client calls. This setback meant that I needed to complete five days of work in just 2.5. I spent a few hours of overtime and skipped my lunch breaks so that I would meet my target."

Answer example

"Last summer during curriculum writing, we were having some conflict about what would be added, cut, or kept. Because of this, we got a bit behind. Ultimately, we ended up working extra hard and some longer hours than usual in the last week to make the final revisions to the curriculum. I believe that passion showed in our final decision since the following year was the most fun, inspired, and arguably effective curriculum we'd developed to date."

Answer example

"A common deadline that I have is to get our contact order out every Monday afternoon. There are times that our Monday's are quite hectic so I make a point to set aside 1 hour to get our orders out. I've also made a point to train each of our opticians to submit the contact order so we can cover each other if the other is busy or not at work."

Real Estate Receptionist
Answer example

"I frequently work on tight deadlines, which I throughly enjoy. To make sure I meet them, I anticipate and identify the most pressing project and use to-do lists and a calendar to keep track of all upcoming duties and important events. I review my list every morning and at the end of each day to ensure the duties assigned were completed in a successful fashion. I also do not hesitate to work overtime or delegate if necessary."

Ramp Agent
Answer example

"I always meet deadlines because I am extremely organized and do not wait at the last minute to get started on projects. I use lists and calendar reminders to ensure I do not forget anything and I review these lists daily."

Corporate Copywriter
Answer example

"I find I do some of my best work under pressure because I am able to focus on the topic at hand instead of worrying about the other work I have for the rest of the day. I found that taking my day assignment by assignment makes it go by faster, and keeps me relaxed."

Sports Reporter
Answer example

"I have experience submitting stories under a tight deadline, and my quality of work remains the same regardless of whether or not I am crunched for time."

Multimedia Journalist
Answer example

"There have been many times I have only had one single work day to complete a video story for television. Although there are so many aspects of the job to complete, including posting to social media, I consistently produce creative writing and good quality video, and I get better every time."

Written by:

Heather Douglass
Heather Douglass has over 20 years of experience recruiting and hiring candidates. She has a knack for resume writing. You can find her on twitter at @heatherinidaho.
Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career. Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise. Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
First written on: 06/29/2018
Last modified on: 07/22/2018

More Interview Questions

View user-submitted Answers

Tell me about a time when you were in danger of missing a deadline. What did you do?
Late on paper - emailed the professor explaining that I had been sick and asked for an extension and included what I had done and outlined the rest for him to see where I was going with this.
I need help to other to help me.
Capsim-unaware of the submission time turned out that we only have an hour to submit one of the rounds. 5 departments-5 teammates-what we normally do is go through each department together and develop a plan to carry out that round. Now we stayed calm did not panetic and divided up the deparments so each member worked on a different department.
- Undering a system migration/transfer. 24hr deadline, and the team was under extreme pressure. - In addition to doing my allocated part of the transfer, I also liaised with the new system's tech support team, to confirm what would be transferred automatically and what would need to be transferred manually. Also, the best way for us to do so. - we were able to complete the task before the deadline but cutting time on migrating and tranferin information that would have been done automatically.
I brain stormed what we should do next and assigned certain individuals certain duties to do based on their individual strengths.
Usually in danger of missing deadline when needed parts were going to be late in arriving. Determined options and was able to make temporary repairs until needed parts arrived.
Stayed until it was done. Every day getting deliveries out. Prioritize. Get servers to do the easy parts first, and I concentrate on the detailed parts that I have to answer to.
We stayed late two nights. Then the third day I gave them time off.
We had to work extra hours to get it done but we told the customer the truth about the possibility of missing the deadline because we had to make some changes.
We worked together and overtime to make sure our work would get us a good grade.
During this semester in my real estate principles class, we had a current event project that was worth about 10% of our overall grade. I was in a group of 3, and we all split the task equally amongst ourselves; however, the semester was very hectic for the three of us so we didn't meet up like we wanted to. As the deadline was approaching, I realized no one took the initiative to gather everyone's work to make the powerpoint. I then took it upon myself to take lead on this project, so I reached out to each member and gave both members deadlines to submit their work prior to our presentation.
When I was working on Euromoto sometimes we had 50 deliveries in the same time. We all discuss to help each other and work very fast.
Recently scheduled a one on one call with our client to present our list of outstanding candidates. Problem was our pipeline only consisted of one person. We didn't want to appear unprepared so gathered our list of previously submitted candidates that were worth revisiting due to new open positions being added to the mix. The client was appreciative since they had forgotten about the previous submissions. They felt we more than mere closers but that we understood their business needs.
Two months ago me and my coworkers were working on completing a section of townhouses in abbotsford. We had to have the units finished by the end of the week, it was Friday afternoon and we had all the wire pulled in the units but still had to tie them into the panels. This task would take about an hour per panel. We rallied together and stayed over time, unpaid, to meet the deadline.
We pulled together and decided to worker over time in order to meet deadline.
In a previous role, my team was involved in data migration and transfer. We had just 24 hours to convert information from an old system to a new one. I took initiative and called operating system support team, for the new system we were transferring information to. During the multiple calls, I was able to establish what would be transferred from the old system automatically, and what must be done manually. I also outlined the needs of my team to the technical support team, in order to see what was the most efficient way of transfer because of the close deadline. Because of this, we were able to refine our transfer and increase efficiency and completed the task before the deadline.
For our software integration of going global, we had deadlines every week. We had to work long nights, weekends, and oncall.
Work all night till we accomplished it.
When I had to work in a team and my team mates were not taking the work serious and we were almost not able to complete the project I had motivated the team to work harder so that the project could be completed on time.
Primate Biology Lab group project.
Yes. I wouldn't mind at all.
I don`t have any situation in past like this, but I think i`ll give the first help to every person need it, if I can help I am there to do that.
We talk about it and strategies and we come up with a solution of working unpaid overtime for us not missing the deadline.
The rfp was due and we performed change management to crash the schedule and eliminate details of the dependencies and estimated what we would need.
Once we had to do audit. But there was not enough time to do that therefore I called my supervisor either we will have to extent it or do the overtime to finish it after a little discussion with my supervisor shared all the info about the audit and nature of work he allowed us to do the overtime and get the work done with in deadline date.
At FIU, in one my lab courses I worked with a group to complete a video-based research project on a certain species of monkeys. As the deadline was approaching, we realized that we needed more data and video footage and had to edit the footage as well. I came together together with the 3 other members and came up with a schedule where we can either come alone or together to take the footage, data, and editing I made myself more available since I lived nearby the research location. Once we collected all our data/footage we then meet up together for editing. We actually finished our project a few days earlier than the deadline and made an A on our project.
During the week of inventory we have to make sure all products are out of the stockroom and rear-face all products to be counted. We were behind on facing all of the products and making sure the store was ready for the inventory workers. We came in early to finish rear facing the products and preping the store for inventory.
I needed to submit reports to the state and realized that I had several meetings. I was able to delegate this task to one eployee and we worked from top to bottom to complete the info.
Try find the missing deadline.
Find out why, what still needs to be done, talk to the person in charge of the deadline, explain the situation, ask for assistance.
Few weeks ago MD's took much longer than anticipated due to ADM not knowing where to find PCNR's. I located and redirected team to finish on time.
An oversea sles manager. Tell him before hand. Also to agree deadline before making promised to the customer.
I gathered the group and we decided as a team how to meet the deadline by delegating the work to the appropriate associates with each associate feeling positive in completing the task.
I was in charge of sending out the cases for patients scheduled for crowns. I needed to send it out before I left for the weekend but forgot to take it when I left. I remembered the next day and went back to the office and sent it out overnight mail so there would not be a delay for the patient.
To accomplish a deadline, we worked over night &finished the work.
When I worked at Methodist University ER, we were the first ER in the city to institute a DR. ICE which was temperature management for cardiac arrest patients. The protocol was to start at the first of the month but we weren't quite caught up as the deadline was approaching. We basically pulled together and worked 70+ hours that week to make it happen. Everyone took on a task and we pulled through. Everything was ready to go by the deadline.
We was given a assgment to be completed within an two days in december time but because of the busy in our resturant we didnt and this is where by we missed our deadline . But we try to make an affort buy working over time this is where we mnange to complete it.
Last semester in one of my finance classes I was part of a group (me and 2 more people) and we had to perform an analysis of the balance sheet of a Bank and we split in part our project in order to get it done prior the deadline. On the day of the deadline, the girl in my team said she did not complete her part so we decided to submit my and mine friend's part in order to not be penalized. On the next day we all went to talk with the professor and she said to submit late but with all the work.
Nope. There was no such situation for me.
Worked through the weekend with coworkers, and split up responsibilities to get job finished. A flood of new sellers came in on a Friday, we stayed late to get them all contacted.
Bio lab, took control reached out made assignments.
Our MBA class was struggling to get together and work in the assigned teams as everyone had full time jobs in different parts of the country and availability was not easy to co ordinate. Deadline was looming so we split the task out and met on Skype, discussed it and finally we put the presentation together and practiced about 30 mins before presenting ... It seemed to work.
Recently, my school was preparing for our 5 year accreditation. All faculty and staff were assigned to groups to address different standards. We were close to our deadline and still needed to cite evidence for our self assessments. I noticed a lot of the standards were over lapping so I suggested each standard group share their evidence in a google format so we could share the evidence. This saved us time and allowed us to meet our deadline.
We worked together, giving ideas. Worked until late to complete the task.
Will try my best upto certain possible level to safe guard my team mates.
I've never been in that situation because I use my time wisely and like to get things done right then and there.
I was in the this group we had a project that was due but we had to work real hard to reach the goal..
Told the group if they didn't get there act together that drags everyone down. If they wanted to mess around I would ask the teacher for them to leave to group.
Seattle center event - all hands on deck.
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