When you’re interviewing for a job, you won’t only be getting questions about your previous performance, but you’ll also be asked about what you plan to do once you’re in the role. It’s helpful for hiring managers who are trying to gauge your skills and if you’re a good fit for the company at large. This month’s interview question is one that gets to the heart of your future performance: What can your next boss expect from you your first three months on the job? Here are some tips on how to answer the question well.
Make a choice
In situations like these, the worst answer you can give is no answer. Of course you want the job and want to say the correct things to get it, but trust that the hiring manager or recruiter is asking this question to also ensure that the role will be one that you’re happy in. Giving a bland answer because you’re hesitant of making a bold choice in the wrong direction will make you look indecisive. Instead, based on research about the philosophy of the company and particular initiatives, offer some clear ideas while emphasizing a desire to learn from others and get a feel for the inter-company dynamic.
This isn’t a time to give notes
While this question leaves room for plans for improvements, this is not a time to share into a laundry list of changes you want the company to implement. Be cautious of being too presumptuous about what is or is not possible in your first three months. Be positive about your impact and phrase your suggestions based on observation. Instead of presenting a fully formed plan to overturn a company practice, you can suggest the beginnings of your strategy—and make it clear that you’re open to discussion.
Think about short-term plans as well
While your contributions to long-term plans are important, consider what some of your shorter-term goals are as well. These are things you want to accomplish and bring to the table immediately or in the first couple months. Brainstorm before your interview a list of things you know you can bring to the job straight away and what you hope to achieve in the first 30 days as well. It’s important that your potential employer sees some immediate returns as well as long-term benefits.
With these tips, you should be able to give a helpful overview of your goals for your first 90 days on the job. Next week, we’ll return to the Skills Building series.
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.