Mar 3rd 2020

The losers of time management

It’s a Wednesday afternoon. Or any day of the week really. It’s windy outside. An interview for an Account Executive position is scheduled at a fast-growing startup for 2pm. Candidate Carl arrives at 1:32pm and checks in at the reception desk.

Interviewer Irene gets a notification saying that her visitor has arrived. She is currently wrapping up a call and all she can think about is that leftover lasagne in the fridge, about to be devoured before her 2pm interview.

Does Interviewer Irene eat her lunch, while the candidate waits for 28 minutes, and start the interview at the scheduled time? 

Or does she push away her thoughts of that delicious lasagne and meet Candidate Carl early, fully aware that she has another meeting after this interview and therefore won’t be able to have a lunch break (R.I.P. lasagne)? 

The interview will also be joined by Managing Director Mark. MD Mark most likely won’t be available to join early. Lasagne it is.

Meanwhile, Candidate Carl is nervous. It’s an exciting opportunity at a really cool company, and every minute that goes by feels like an eternity. There might be an edgy wall of employee polaroids to examine, but one can only stare at all their fun team trips for so long before it becomes a bit weird. 

2pm. Interviewer Irene welcomes the candidate – slightly irritated, but lunch is consumed and she’s ready to go. Candidate Carl is sweating – why on earth did they make him wait for nearly half an hour? Is that normal? Am I sweating through my clothes?! Do they hate me already?!?! 

Interview commences. MD Mark is nowhere to be seen. His previous meeting overruns and he enters the interview room at 2:09pm instead. Candidate Carl has to repeat some of the stuff he’s already told Interviewer Irene. Nice

As an Account Executive, time management is key. You need to be flexible and adaptable. It’s all about managing your time to set deadlines, organise meetings and deliver what is expected of you. 

The interviewer knows this. The candidate knows this. It was clearly outlined in the job description and mentioned in the pre-interview phone call. The MD should know this but he has his own schedule. 

Interviewer Irene asks questions about Candidate Carl’s time management skills. He claims they’re excellent and gives a few real life examples. Yet he’s a bit bitter – the interviewer is asking him about time management when he was the one who had to wait half an hour for her to arrive? And MD Mark showed up late and asked him to repeat a bunch of stuff?

Interviewer Irene is also not in the brightest mood – the candidate was half an hour early, that’s not very respectful of other people’s time. Plus MD Mark was late, again. Which means that her next meeting will now start late. 

Needless to say, there is no happy ending here.

There is a moral to the story though: Time management skills matter. 

According to our research, 39% of employers at 500 top UK startups and SMEs say this is a crucial skill for their employees to have. It’s ranked high up alongside communication skills, attention to detail and multitasking.

Time management is not just about managing your own time efficiently, it’s also about managing and respecting others’, regardless of your position in the company.

Everyone has different ways of managing their time. Some use Post-it notes. Some make lists. Some even set actual timers to go off. And some people find that they need to stare at Instagram or play Candy Crush on their phone for a few minutes between each task. 

Whatever works for you, it’s important to remember that 1) time management skills are important for fast-growing businesses, and 2) it’s not ok to take people away from their lasagne. 

Meet the Masters of More 

Side hustles. The gig economy. Job hopping. Careers are changing, and the way people think about work is too.

We spend 90,000 hours of life at work. They say it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. You do the math. If you harness your time you can learn, hone and master nine skills throughout your career. Who do you want to be?

Throughout nine weeks we dive into nine soft skills in high demand by employers. We introduce candidates who are nailing this new world of work. Meet the Masters of More.