Preparing an action plan for your job interview is the best job interview prep in the world. It will help you speak more confidently about your ability to do the job, and demonstrate that you are someone who not only can do the job, but will do it and be very successful at it.
The best way to come up with an action plan is just like with any other goal: break it into smaller goals and figure out the steps to reach those.
An action plan can refer to any length of time you’d like–from 30 days to a year. Most people use an action plan for the first 90 days, or a 30-60-90-Day Plan.
When you break up your plan into 30-day increments, it becomes easier to figure out what you should be doing in each section.
The first 30 days normally focuses on learning the ropes: meeting co-workers, support teams, customers, clients; learning software and systems; and getting settled into the job.
The next 30 days (60-day section) usually finds you digging deeper, past the surface stuff. You’re learning more details and becoming familiar with the job and the company, and you’re getting feedback on how you’ve done so far.
The last 30 days (the 90-day section) usually has you branching out on your own: maybe you are bringing in new business, or starting a new project, or somehow putting your own stamp on the job. This is where you’re really going to begin addressing and solving the problems the employer has (that’s why they need you in this role).
To do this well, you really need to think critically about this job and what it would take for you to be successful in it. You must research the company to find out details like the names of training programs, software, or primary customers/competitors. The more specific you can be with your action plan, the more impressive it will be to the hiring manager you’re interviewing with.
If you need more help in creating your own action plan, check out my 30-60-90-Day Action Plan Template with samples and coaching. Thousands of job seekers have used it in their interviews not only to get the job, but even getting job offers above what they interviewed for.
• Approach: Given the context, culture and risk profile, how you will time your pivot from converging to evolving.
In a world in which 40% of new leaders fail in their first 18 months, hiring organizations are realizing that it’s no longer good enough to hire the right leader. They have to help with executive onboarding. This is all about helping new leaders prepare in advance, manage their message and build their teams. It all starts with a plan.
Conversely, Barack Obama looked back on “failing to plan for the day after” the 2011 toppling of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi as his “worst mistake.”
• 100-Day Building Blocks: Set the burning imperative, put in place milestone management, jump-start early wins, sort team roles, and drive ongoing two-way communication.
2. Lay out what you and your new team must do to move towards those objectives. This is where your framing starts to pay off. You are suggesting your team is part of the greater whole and should play its part in moving the greater whole forward. Who’s going to argue with that? The choice of where to focus is an important one. It’s not critical that you get this exactly right. It is critical that the logic behind your choices makes sense to the people interviewing you. Thus, take the time to think this through.
When prepping for a virtual interview, consider the space in which you will be sitting and make sure it is free of distractions, for both yourself and the interviewer. You want to choose a space that is quiet, clean, and comfortable.
Make sure it is not up against the wall where you constantly hear your neighbor’s dog barking. And clear your surroundings of clutter. A neat, neutral backdrop is best. Your interviewer does not need to see your extensive doll collection or your collection of shot glasses from around the world.
Say something like: “Within 30 days, I plan to get to know the people I’ll be working with the most and to be comfortable with them. Within 60 days, I plan to have a solid understanding of the industry, the company and the competitive landscape so that I can hold my own in any conversation about the company. Within 90 days, I plan to meet the goals that have been set for me.”
Even if you’ve had an internship in the field before, you can’t really know what a job entails until you’ve worked full-time in the role. That doesn’t mean you can’t do your research to get a fuller picture. Here are some ideas for where to look for a dose of realism (and some healthy inspiration):
Say something like: “In addition to getting to know the team and getting fully up to speed with the role, there’s a lot I want to accomplish during my first three months in the role of editor. During my first 30 days, I want to get a sense of our blog’s editorial goals and use those to create a new blog design. After 60 days, I want our blog redesign launched and to have at least 50 contributors writing for the website. After 90 days, I want to switch the efforts from building the team to tracking growth, and I’m hoping that we can have 100,000 unique visitors by then through utilizing our marketing channels and those of our contributors.”
After you’ve studied up on what you may be doing at your job, think about what you can realistically accomplish during this initial period. What kinds of concrete goals can you set? What projects are you excited to take on? If possible, stick to quantifiable results. Then practice your answer to the interview question. Try to condense your response to 3-4 sentences.
First, let’s take a look at what this question is actually asking. Why the numbers 30, 60 and 90? These numbers correspond to standard cut-offs for your first three months on the job—30 days, 60 days or 90 days. Interviewers ask this question for a number of reasons. They want to see how you think about ramping up in your new role, how fast you’ll complete the onboarding process and what types of goals and standards you hold yourself to, especially in a new environment.