The first ninety days of any job are vital. It’s the standard grace period for new employees: a time to get settled, but also a time to show coworkers and employers how you plan to handle your new role. It’s because of this that the 30/60/90 Question— “What are your goals for the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job?”— has gained popularity with hiring managers and candidates alike. Here’s how to approach it.
A guide from Forbes suggests that you consider departmental goals and objectives, the position’s priorities, and how you’ll measure your progress. What are the “quick fixes” you can deal with in the first 30 days? What are your more long-term goals? Giving serious thought to the question and actively visualizing what you would do with the job is a way for you to exhibit your knowledge of the position and capability within it. During your initial phone screen, feel free to ask the hiring manager the critical ways they define success in that role, which you can then use as a guide.
The 30/60/90 plan is more than a thought experiment; it’s a written outline of strategy. Whether it’s a PowerPoint presentation or a written report, having a tangible product is ideal. After you’ve brainstormed your goals and ideal impact, write it down. Doing so will create a helpful artifact for the hiring manager to evaluate. Don’t feel pressure to go into immense detail—for now you can focus on what you’ll do more than the nitty-gritty of how you’ll do it. A typical 90 day plan is 3-4 pages.
What if the hiring manager doesn’t ask this question? Not to worry: you can still present your plan. In a LinkedIn article, Michael Kissinger explains that all hiring managers are trying to answer several questions about a potential candidate: Do they understand the job? Can they do the job? Will they do the job? Completing the 30/60/90 plan can answer all these questions while demonstrating your commitment and organization. Feel free to say to the hiring manager, “I’ve put together a plan of what I’d like to do in this position” and share it during or after your interview. If you’ve put in the thought, they’ll be impressed!
Answering the 30/60/90 Question allows you to set yourself apart from other applicants with your unique vision of yourself in the role. And of course, one of the best parts of a 30/60/90 plan is its potential should you get hired—you’ll know where to start!
Chaloner, founded in 1979 as Chaloner Associates, is a national executive search firm that focuses on recruiting mid- to senior-level communications, public relations, marketing and investor relations professionals.