Interview questions: How long will it take for you to make a significant contribution?

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I love, love, love this question. This is a ‘roll out the red carpet, here’s your golden ticket’ opening to introducing your 30-60 -90-days plan .

If you’ve never heard of a 30-60-90-days plan , it’s very simple: it’s a strategic plan for what actions you will take in your first 3 months on the job to ensure a successful transition from brand - new employee to fully - functioning, productive leader or member of the team.

The first month usually requires some training, some getting to know the company’s procedures and systems, and by the third month you should be at the point where you’re initiating at least a few projects, sales, policies, etc. on your own. The more specific it is in the details to the company you’re interviewing with, the better. Why do I think these are so great? First, the research required to create a good plan automatically makes you a very well - prepared, knowledgeable candidate.

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That’s impressive. It’s very obvious that you know what you’re doing — even if you’ve never done that job before. Second, they demonstrate all those character traits that hiring man agers look for but that are very hard to pin down: enthusiasm, drive, initiative, personal responsibility, goal - setting , and much more.

Third, as you go through the plan with your future supervisor, he or she begins to visualize you in the job. Once they can “see” it, they’re much more likely to offer you the job. I’ve seen these plans get offers for people on the spot, I’ve seen them get offers for people that were above what they interviewed for in the first place, and I’ve seen them get offers for candidates who were less qualified than their competitors.

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If there ever were a job interview miracle tool, this would be it. So... create your own 30/60/90 - day plan for your next interview. And when the interviewer says, “How long will it take for you to make a significant contribution?” you’re not stuck with responding, “I don’t know...6 months to a year?” or, “Well, I’d really have to get settled in to see, but I would hope to start making real progress soon.” Instead, you could say, “I’m so glad you asked. I’ve thought about that quite a bit, and I’ve put together a preliminary plan for what I could do to get rolling as fast as possible.

Can I get your input on it?” When they say “yes,” you walk them through your very detailed plan for success and get their feedback. Even if you don’t have all the details right, the conversation you’ll have will, without a doubt, be the best interview you’ve ever had.


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