Creating a 30-60-90-day plan is a fantastic way to stand out from your competition in a hiring process. I’ve seen it help people with less experience (or zero experience) beat out others with substantial experience. I’ve seen it boost the value of job offers for those who bring it. I’ve even seen it help job seekers get offers for bigger titles and more senior roles than what they actually interviewed for. It really is kind of an interview miracle worker.
However (there’s always a catch, right?)…some job seekers have said to me, “I don’t know what you’re talking about…I took a plan and didn’t get the job.”
Have you heard of 30-60-90 Day Plans? Simply put, this kind of plan is an outline of what action steps you plan to take in the first 3 months of your new job. You research and create it before you go to the interview. During the interview, you talk over your plan with the interviewer / hiring manager.
In this post, I’m going to show you 7 reasons you absolutely need to bring your own 30-60-90-day plan to your very next job interview. In fact, my best advice to you is: never go to another interview without one.
When I first mention these plans to job seekers, I say, “Take a plan to your first interview.” You don’t want to take a chance with getting cut from consideration, so bring you’re ‘A’ game from the beginning. The job seeker typically responds with, “How can I make a plan if I don’t know what the job is or if I haven’t worked at that company?”
The answer is, “You have to do some research.” Look up information about the job and the company. Ask your network for help, too. Then put on your critical thinking cap and imagine yourself doing this job. What will you need to do in order to make sure you’re successful?
Let’s look at why this is so important and then how to make it easier.
Here are 7 reasons why this matters so much, and why a 30-60-90-Day Plan will get you hired:
A 30-60-90-Day Plan is the most important tool or document you can bring to an interview (besides your resume). It gives the potential employer a glimpse into the future by outlining how you will approach the most important tasks and action steps of your first 3 months. It lets the hiring manager or interviewer have a ‘test drive’ of what you’d be like in this new job. As a result, it changes the dynamics and scope of your interview in a big, impressive way. It’s the #1 way to improve your interview so you get the offer. I would personally never interview without one.
However—sometimes, people come to me and say, “I brought a plan, but I didn’t get the job.”
My question for them is, “What does your plan look like?”
You can’t just Google ’30 60 90 day plan’ and expect to find a good plan. Not all plans are created equal. I’ve seen plenty of useless (and even damaging) free plans online—some are too short, some are too long, and some don’t focus on the right actions.
In this article, I’m answering the most common questions I get from job seekers about what your 30-60-90-day plan should look like in order to get you the job offer—and I’ll show you where you can get a template that’s proven to be successful in a huge variety of jobs at all levels (entry-level to C-suite).
So…what does a good 30 60 90 day plan look like? How can you write the best plan?
Have you been a stay at home mom but you're ready to get back into the workforce? Maybe you took time off to be a caregiver for a loved one in ill health.
If it's been a while since you had a full-time job, you've probably been told to brace for a long job search, reset your expectations, and plan on coming back at a lower level than before. Not only do employers assume you're out of touch with current best practices, they're probably discriminating against you because of your age (according to an AARP survey).
This all sounds awful, but the good news is that this doesn't have to be your story. Need proof? Look at what happened to Dereck:
After taking a 5-year career break to look after my children following the death of my wife, I decided...to resume my career...
After having sooooo many job applications ignored or turned down...I finally got invited for an interview. It went dreadfully even though I could have done the job with my eyes closed.
I studied these with interest and did my preparation. Went to the interview with my question list and 306090 day plan, but some of my experience wasn’t broad enough.
Although I was turned down for the job, the interviewing manager recommended me to his directors stating “this was the best prepared candidate I have ever seen and we would be mad to let him go.”
So I was invited back for another interview for a more senior role that didn’t yet exist, and for which they had no other candidates.
This was a unique challenge – but I still did a 306090 day plan for it (based simply on a one-word hint from the recruiting team), extending it to cover tasks in months 4-6 and beyond
Today I was offered this more senior job, on a good salary, with promise of a review after 6 months to increase that further once the role has been properly scoped. I’m defining my own dream job!
And all because your books taught me to be prepared. Thank you so much for all the great advice.
Without a plan, he was totally qualified for the job--but he didn't get it.
WITH a plan, they were so impressed with him that they invited him back to interview for a HIGHER level position they created just for him. It doesn't get any better than that.
What's so special about a plan?
A 30-60-90-day plan is a written outline of your prioritized tasks and goals for the first 3 months on the job. It dramatically illustrates your value and helps you secure the job offer, no matter how long you've been out of the game.
We recognize that creating a plan is harder than it sounds. There are a lot of parts and pieces to it, and you need to know what's really important. You also need to know how to present it most effectively in the interview. For these reasons, we developed plan templates that make it easy for you to create your own customized plan. We included coaching to help you use it to get the job.
Wherever you are in your career, we have a plan for you:
Starting a new job can be filled with stress--meeting new people, learning new systems, making sure you're doing the things you need to do in order to be successful.
One of the surest remedies for nerves is preparation. The more prepared you are (for anything), the less stressful it will be. This includes starting a new job and interviewing for it in the first place.
A 30 60 90 day plan is simply an outline of actions and goals that you will take in the first 3 months on that job to be successful.
It can help you get a better job than you might have been able to without that extra effort, and it helps your new employer see you as someone special. Not only does this make you more confident and prepared for interviews, it makes you more confident and prepared for your first day on the job.
I received a great email from Kathy as an example of someone who has put this into practice, and I am excited to share it with you:
Why do employers ask about your greatest weaknesses in job interviews? It isn’t because they’re dying to hear you talk about how obsessed you are with work and having everything be perfect. What they really want is a skills assessment about you, from you.
Some people could argue that you really need to tell them what your weakness is, so that they and you can get a realistic view of whether or not you’re a good fit for the job. After all, it wouldn’t be a good idea to end up in a job that isn’t a good fit, right? Poor choices in jobs have resulted in firings, layoffs, and awkward situations to explain later.
I say something a little different. I say that your job in that interview is to sell yourself for the position. You don’t need them to decide that you aren’t a good fit. You are the one who needs to decide if you’re a good fit or not. You need that freedom of getting that job offer so you can make the decision that’s best for you.
So what does that mean? Does that mean that you are better off denying that you have any weaknesses at all? No. What it means is that just as you do with every other job interview answer, you need to be strategic.
Pete had a lot of experience and success in his field as a retail store manager. Getting a new job should have been easy—but it wasn’t.
He’d already been to several interviews, so he had his answers down pat. He knew he interviewed well, and he had all that past job success to back him up. He’d get dressed up, drive to find the place, and go in—only to find out that he was competing against 20-30 other people who were just as strong as he was. Not only did he have all that competition, he was a little older, which was working against him. He never got the job.
Maybe you can feel his frustration. Even though companies are hiring, there’s still a lot of competition for the best jobs.
Job search techniques and strategies have changed. Job seekers are more sophisticated about how they prepare for interviews, and they are more mobile than they used to be. Many people are ready to pick up and move for the right position.
Pete knew he had to do something different so that he could get hired, but what? He decided to showcase how he would approach the job by creating a 30-60-90-Day Plan.
Employers ask you about your weaknesses in job interviews for a lot of reasons…because they want a realistic assessment of you, because they want to compare you to other candidates, or because they want to see how you react to a difficult question.
However, not all of their inquiries about your weaknesses are so obvious. They know that you’ll probably be ready for the big one, and so they have a lot of different ways to get at what they want to know. They can ask about how people criticize you, what you need the most development in, what scares you about this new job (because that could reflect not being ready for it), and more.
It’s important that you be ready to answer these kinds of questions.
Below are 12 different ways interviewers ask you about your weaknesses.
I often get asked if 30-60-90-Day Plans work for teachers in a job interview. These plans are famous for sales job interviews and are being used with extreme success in other white-collar jobs and executive roles. They show hiring managers that you are someone who approaches a task or job with strategic planning and smart goal-setting. You are someone who will be successful in the role.
So can this same approach work if you are interviewing to be a teacher? I have to say that they do (I think they help you even more if you are in educational administration). What administrator wouldn’t be impressed with someone who had clearly thought out how they would approach that role and ensure their success in the first 3 months on the job?
Think about it this way. You set up lesson plans for your students so you make sure that what needs to happen will happen, right? Well, you also need to create a plan to make sure you do all the things that will make you a successful professional in your role.
So now here’s the question: what kinds of things belong in a 30 60 90 Day Plan for teachers?
Recently I was considered for a newly-created EVP role in the Branding Communications field -- it is a position that blends strategic planning, marketing and business development. The job not only demands expertise in those areas, it requires synergistic thinking for all three disciplines simultaneously. I am now in that job.
There were multiple factors that went into my getting the offer, certainly -- yet EVERY interview panelist noted the foresight and detail that went into my 30-60-90 day plan.
It is possible that competing candidates may have included a 'First 100 Days' set of milestones, since the hiring manager had suggested compiling that list. But as you know, a "list" alone doesn't differentiate the thinking or rationale.
However, the organized sequence and logic of progressively-built activities and objectives in 30-day periods (as clearly outlined in your 30-60-90 Day planning template) is clearly more understandable, believable and persuasive. It instantly establishes credibility and conviction.
And by the way, it works wonders as an on-boarding guidepost to facilitate rapid learning and job effectiveness. Thank you again -- I realize the folks participating in your webinars and workshops need "permission to believe" this can work for them. Please assure them IT DOES.
All the best, Don B.
I love getting emails like this one. Congratulations, Don! We are so happy we could help you get that job.
This is why we created our line of 30-60-90-Day Plans. It is difficult to think of everything you should include in a solid interview plan--especially if you're in a time crunch. And if you take a plan that's too short or too simple, it's almost an insult to the job. Your plan doesn't have to be letter-perfect to everything you will do, but it does need to be smart, thoughtful, and strategic.
If you have a difficult job interview coming up (or any job interview) get my plan today.
Gerald had tons of experience in his field, but was going for a higher job title than he'd ever had before. He said that the 30-60-90-Day Plan helped him nail the interview and get the job, and he doesn't think he could have done it without it. Now, because he's making the most money ever in his career, he can live the life he wants for himself and his family.
I just wanted for you guys to know that I received the JOB as an (Assistant Store Director) with one of the largest grocery chains in the [name withheld] metro area. I don't believe I could have done this without this program. I helped me out in so many difference ways especially the 30/60/90 day format and the questions and answer sample interview questions. Your help and professionalism was awesome and I truly thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!
Last thought" I've been working in the grocery industry since graduating from high school' I've been with two other firms here in the St. Louis area and made pretty good money' but this particular position will be the highest title ever and will able me to make the most money in my career (which will allow for me and my wife to care for our (Foster Daughter) whom we will have in our home later this month and for that I'm grateful and thankful for what you [are] doing for people like myself.
If you were fired or laid off in your last position (or in recent years) you will almost certainly be asked about it in the interview. These can be difficult questions that can make even the strongest candidates stumble.
All you need to do is think about these questions ahead of time and prepare good, solid answers to their inevitable questions. Below are # questions you may be asked if you were terminated for whatever reason. Click on the question to go to the answer.