Assignment to Do ASAP

What would you do if the head partner gave you an assignment to do ASAP?

What would you do if the head partner gave you an assignment to do ASAP and another partner gave you another assignment to do ASAP?

Every company has a structure of leadership. It is usually in form of a tree with the head of the company on top and other employees start branching out. The lower you as an employee are on the tree the more bosses you have over you. It is not an unusual thing for one or two of those managers to ask you to perform a task. This is more true for executive assistants or administrative personnel, they usually perform administrative duties to a lot of staff, unlike a personal assistant who has just one boss to answer to. Asides from these roles mentioned above, thousands of other roles involve employees answering to two or more bosses.

An employee can have several assignments on his table to be completed by different managers, your ability to sort your schedule will be valuable. This is why an interviewer might ask this behavioral or situational question “ what do you do when a top partner gives you an assignment and another partner also gives you an assignment”.  No matter how this question is twisted, the interviewer simply wants to know your ability to prioritize assignments given to you. The interviewer wants to evaluate your project and time management skills, your ability to separate an urgent task from an important task. He wants to know your ability to handle multiple responsibilities and perform efficiently. If you are already in this dilemma and not practicing for an interview, do not fret, the comprehensive guide below will give you an insight on how to manage your responsibilities without disappointing any of the partners.

Tips to answering the interview question

Know your schedule

Every employee should be his or her own mini personal assistant. An employee should always have a  list of his daily schedule. If you do not know what you already have on your table and the deadlines for each, how do you know what next task to work on?

Evaluate the urgency

When an employee finds himself in a situation like this that he has to handle multiple tasks at once, the first thing to do is to find out the urgency of each of the tasks. This is why it is important to know your schedule and what you already have at hand. If you do not know this, you will not be able to communicate your situation with any of the partners. Let’s assume your table is clear and you do not have an outstanding task, then a top partner calls you into his office and gives you a task to complete. After getting the details on what is involved the next thing to ask is the deadline for the project to be completed. Depending on his answer, you make a mental note on how to work on it. Then the second partner walks into your office and gives you a project or task to complete too, also get information on the urgency of the project too.

Propose your deadline

After evaluating the urgency of both tasks, and have decided which you think is urgent. Remember a task might be important but it is not urgent. The urgent one is always the first to be carried out. Fix another meeting with the partner whose task is less urgent. The aim will be to communicate the dilemma you are in. Explain the urgency of the two projects at hand and suggest a different deadline for the project. Before that, you must have calculated the time it would take you to complete each project. Remember to give room for uncertainties, you do not want to disappoint even after you have moved the deadline. Always add extra time to the estimated time you propose. The best way to estimate the time needed to complete a task or project is to check in your time tracking tool and check the history of how much time it took for you to complete a similar task in the past.

Batch similar tasks together

When dealing with multiple tasks or projects from different managers, you can utilize your time well by carrying out some similar tasks together. For instance, if you are assigned to distribute goods to a different district by one manager, and the other manager asked you to map the stores in a different district. You can make a list of all the stores and merge the districts that are alike, then carry the two tasks together once you visit the district.

Set Milestones

As said earlier, time block is an effective way to manage your schedule. Blocking the time to complete any task will help you organize your day and stick to deadlines. You will know the exact amount of time you have assigned to meet a particular milestone you have set. With this, you can know when you are slacking and top up your game.

Renegotiate the terms

This should come after checking you’re your schedule as stated above, if you are loaded with previous tasks, you can ask for permission to delegate some of the tasks to other colleagues. Loading your schedule with a lot of tasks or projects will only ruin your chance of getting any of the tasks done. You can point out your colleagues that are experienced and can handle the task.  Also, point out that you will check in with the colleague to make sure that everything is done properly.


In my last role as a data collection officer, I was assigned to research the effectiveness of a new product my company recently manufactured. The research involved speaking to 50 people asking them to test the new product and give me feedback on the effectiveness and efficiency. The day I was to begin the survey the manager of the sales and marketing team gave a new order that everyone in the sales and marketing team should go for digital mapping in the Gbagada district. The deadline for the research was the day after. So I had to carry out the survey that same day. Since no particular district was given for the research, I decided to go with the whole team for mapping in Gbagada as ordered. I realized I could kill two birds with one stone. While I map the outlet, I can also research the store owners. At the end of the day, I was able to complete both tasks and gave back fruitful results.

Interview Questions

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