With the vast amounts of information that you can find online these days, you have all the tools you need to excel during a job interview.
In spite of the help at their disposal, most job applicants are unprepared.
When the time comes to prove yourself, you want to be ready.
What will enable you to stand a bit taller than the rest?
Being able to describe your strategy for the first 30-60-90 days of a new job.
In fact, this is possibly the strongest resource you can have while you’re in the interview process.
Why You Need a Strategy
Many people at this stage of a job interview will spew clichés with little substance towards the hiring manager.
Then they’ll hope for the best.
Don’t be that candidate!
By taking the time to prepare …
- You show that you’re interested in what you are applying for.
- You demonstrate your willingness to put in the work to get the offer.
The guidelines below will help in your approach to this relatively common interview question.
(For more interview questions and answers see our article on the 50 Top Job Interview Questions And Answers.)
Tips on Creating a 90-Day Job Strategy
Just imagine …
What better way to pitch yourself in a new position than to describe what your plans are for the opportunity?
You have the chance to help the hiring manager envision you in the position by describing actual research and realistic goals.
This will exponentially increase your chances of receiving an offer!
Now, you may think this 30-day strategy needs to be a 20-page thesis paper. However, the more focused and to the point your plan is, the better.
Stick to a short PowerPoint presentation. Or try creating a brief written document (1-3 pages).
(To find out how to create a 30-60-90 day plan, see our article How To Create A 30-60-90 Day Plan For An Interview.)
When Will This Interview Question Come Up?
Okay, let’s assume you have created your plan and have an attractive means of presenting the plan.
Now, you must focus on what the hiring manager wants to hear.
Here are a couple of tips:
- Only discuss the actions and outcomes that you can control
- Don’t get caught up in imaginary targets that are irrelevant
- Remember that you do not know the inner workings of the company
Ideally, this question would be asked in a second interview.
In the first interview, you will be able to ask questions and get a more realistic outlook on the company culture and what they will expect of you.
Then you will have the time to prepare a strategy that covers the first 30-60-90 days on the job.
If you are applying for a position that only requires one interview, you might not have as much time to prepare a specific outline.
However, the hiring manager would likely not expect such a polished presentation.
Your plan would likely focus on what you can do as a new hire and the hoops you are willing to jump through to be successful.
Who Needs to Answer This Question?
This question is typically asked of candidates who have a lot of freedom to make decisions on their own.
Managers and executives will likely hear this question during an interview.
Most entry-level jobs have a well-defined job description with little wiggle room.
As such, they would not have the same expectations as far as creating a work strategy and seeing it through.
However, just because you may be applying for an entry-level job does not mean you cannot build and present a plan.
If answering this interview question from an entry-level position:
- Describe how you will best utilize your training
- Focus on how you plan to build relationships with your coworkers
- Outline skills and experience that you would hope to put into practice
If you are a manager or higher, you have a more extensive background.
As such, you would build a plan based on your industry experience and your expectations for your given industry.
If your position involves a team working under you:
- Go into detail about how you intend to interact with your new employees
- Talk about what steps you would take to gain their trust and respect
- Delineate a few specific teamworking goals relevant to the position
This is essential for any manager’s success as you are only as good as the production of your team.
The 90-Day Plan Breakdown
Some resources suggest building a flat 90-day plan.
Although this is fine, breaking up your plan in 30-day increments can make the plan easier to follow.
It displays a step-by-step strategy with each tier building upon the other.
The outline below will describe what your plan should focus on for each period:
First 30 days:
Focus on training, finding mentors, and embracing the company culture as it relates to both your job description and the people around you.
Implement your training and experience into action while working with your supervisor to optimize your performance.
Add your personal touch to the position. Be an effective leader/coworker and build relationships that benefit your position and the company as a whole.
Now, there is some room to play with your plan as the position calls for it.
But do not step out of what you know.
The hiring manager will know what a realistic approach to the position is, so you will not be able to “fake it till you make it.”
But don’t let that scare you out of making a plan in the first place.
The fact that you have a 30-60-90 day strategy in place will speak volumes about your work ethic and make a great impression on the interviewer.
Remember, as long as you do your homework and prepare to present your plan, you’ll separate yourself from other candidates.
Prepare to take constructive criticism.
Make sure you can back up what you plan to do.