I’ve been a recruiter and career coach for over 10 years now, and I have always recommended that my candidates use a 30/60/90-day plan in their job interviews, because I used it when I was an employee in the job search. I saw phenomenal results from using it, and my candidates do, too.
Why? A 30/60/90-day plan is an outline for what you’ll do as a new employee in the first 3 months. It shows that you understand the job, can do the job, and will do the job. It’s an “above and beyond” step that impresses hiring managers and alleviates any doubts they may have about your fit for the job. It facilitates the interview conversation, and makes you a stronger candidate.
But the other day, a candidate came back to me and said that he created the plan, but the hiring manager didn’t want to see it. He tried to bring it out and present it, but the interview, which hadn’t been going all that well so far, went from bad to worse. The candidate’s question was, of course, “What should I have done?”
It’s very rare for a hiring manager to not want to see a candidate’s 90-day plan, but when they don’t, it’s typically because they’ve already decided that it’s glaringly obvious to them that you’re not who they want to hire. There’s usually some issue there (which could be anything from experience to education to personality) that you’re just not going to be able to overcome.
In other cases, it’s simply a matter of how you’ve presented the plan. You don’t just come out of the blue in the job interview and say, “I have a 30/60/90-day plan I’d like to show you.” You have to time it right.
For your best time to present your plan, you’re waiting for the trigger point—that question that they ask that is something like,
“How would you do X?”
“What would you do in the first few months on the job?”
“How would you approach this problem?”
“How would you segment your market/customers?”
“What tasks would you tackle first?”
Any question along those lines works. That’s when you say something like, “I’m so glad you asked. Let me show you some of the notes I’ve taken on how I would approach this. They might not be perfect, but if we can talk about this together, you’re going to have a much better picture of my understanding of the job and I’m going to end up with a better understanding of the job, which is a win-win for both of us. Because if I understand the job, and you understand who I am, then we can make a better decision about whether or not to move forward with this.” Most managers will respond to that attitude and explanation very positively.
So, if a manager is not receptive to your 30/60/90-day plan, it’s either because (1) you’re absolutely not a good fit for the job; or (2) you’re just not introducing it at the right time. Keep that in mind when you go into your next interview, and I wish you the best of luck.
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