How best to approach the 30, 60, 90 days interview question

By Mark McDonald, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers (Dublin North)

A number of clients I have worked with in recent months have told me about one particular type of interview question they have been asked.
It’s a question seeking the candidate’s views on what they will be doing during the first number of months in the new role and can be phrased a number of ways.
“What do you see yourself doing in the first month if successful with this application?” or “can you tell us how you will grow into the role during the first 30, 60 and 90 days?”
This can be a very tough question to address if you haven’t properly thought through an answer.
Your approach to answering this should demonstrate your knowledge of the scope of the role and the organisation in general. In other words – this is another opportunity for you to prove you have done your research.
You could address the first month as being the period where you learn how to fit into the organisational culture. You will work to cultivate relationships with colleagues and superiors. Familiarise yourself with customers, vendors, and the market into which the business sells.
You will do whatever it takes to expedite your learning. If you are managing a team, you will develop an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses within that team. The first month is the time to constantly ask questions and to build up your knowledge base.
By the time you have reached the 60 day mark you should be comfortable within the full scope of your role. This is the time where you can begin to put your own stamp on the job and demonstrate your value. You understand the role, the market and the organisation. Depending on your job you may now be in a position to offer or implement improvements based on your first month’s observations. Your team might benefit from a refreshing look at goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
You may begin to suggest new market opportunities or possible new products. If your role is standalone, you could suggest how to improve tasks or create greater efficiency. In simple terms – prove to them that the person they are going to hire is a pro-active contributor who will ultimately add value.
At the 90 day stage you should be in a position to prove your worth within the role. You fully understand the challenges and have implemented or suggested positive changes. Use this period to assess your performance so far and measure the results of changes or improvements suggested in month two. These don’t have to be seismic shifts: it’s simply a case of you demonstrating how you can add value irrespective of your seniority within the organisation.
Employers will look at recruiting staff as an opportunity to improve on what has been done before. The successful candidate will be the one who they feel is the best fit for that role. There are many variables to consider at interview and, as a candidate, you must try to match as many of those variables as possible.
Having a good solid answer prepared to the 30, 60 and 90 day question will help you to demonstrate that, if selected, you will be a valuable addition who can offer a lot. Positioning yourself as someone who will do the job successfully but who may lack the criteria to go beyond that, may result in the employer selecting the candidate who has a good idea of where they will be in three months’ time.

Mark McDonald is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers and works out of Dublin North. You can read more about him, and make a booking HERE for CV Preparation and Interview Training.

More articles from his blog can be accessed HERE