Killer Interview Question: How Would You Prioritise Answering Your Emails?

Killer Interview Question: How Would You Prioritise Answering Your Emails?

This week’s KIQ wants to find out if you have effective email management skills. This question was asked by a hiring manager at Google for an associate account strategist role.

Image by Joe the Goat Farmer.

The interview process for Google is notoriously tough and it’s not just because the company tends throw interviewees curve balls in the form of brainteasers. Sometimes, the questions that are asked are fairly straightforward, but that doesn’t mean they’re any easier to answer.

Glassdoor is a website that aggregates interview questions from various companies including those that originate from Google. One of the questions that has been asked of job candidates applying for an associate account strategist position at Google is “If you came to work and had 200 emails in your inbox, how would you prioritise answering those emails?”

Email is one tool that is widely used in our professional lives and it’s something that can often get out of hand. It’s easy to ignore a few messages and before you know it, you have 200 unread emails staring back at you in your inbox.

We’ve written on the topic of email management in the past and it’s no surprise that Google, an organisation that has a plethora of projects going on simultaneously, would want to find employees that are good at keeping their inboxes under control.

How would you tackle this interview question? Let us know in the comments.

[Via Business Insider]


  • Easy. Start by reading and filing anything that’s just “FYI – no action required”. This generally will decrease your inbox by half (at least in my experience). Then, respond to any 5 second emails, you know the ones, “no problem”, “thanks”, “yes he’s available at that time”. Then what remains you can easily prioritise based on deadlines/importance and respond accordingly.

    I know this seems backwards, because you’re leaving the important things until last but what it does is remove the distraction and stress factor that a full inbox causes. This is how I have worked in my 10+ years of admin, personal assistant and now manager experience – works for me!!

  • Who the F$%& uses email??? Sorry, I must be in the wrong interview room.

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