This question is somewhat straightforward, as the interviewer does wish to know if you have an approach in mind, should you be hired. However, it’s likely that he or she does not actually wish to hear the plan in great detail; your answer has more to do with your mindset and qualifications.
Hiring managers look for workers who are familiar with the industry and appear ready to hit the ground running. You should be prepared to introduce a few ideas in order to show your vested interest in the position. Remember, employers don’t want workers who are focused solely on what the job can do for them—they want employees who focus on what they can do for the company.
Points to Emphasize
It’s okay if your plan isn’t extremely precise—there’s only so much you can know about a company you haven’t worked for. Keep it general and be confident.
- Reference action plans that have served you well at new jobs in the past.
- Be aware of need for flexibility in your plan to adapt to real-world job needs.
- Discuss the primary goals of your strategy: training, loss reduction, improving efficiency, etc.
- Describe existing strengths and qualities of the company to illustrate your observational skills.
Employers will be more impressed if it’s clear you’ve given genuine thought and consideration to the job beforehand.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Although you’re not yet an employee, it’s important to think like one. Avoid meandering, overly-generalized responses.
- Don’t focus on settling in and learning the ropes—that’s self-interest, not company interest.
- Avoid going into excessive detail about previous jobs; apply successful ideas to your new company.
- When discussing your goals, don’t forget to talk about how you plan to reach them.
- Never avoid the question by stating you prefer to take a wait-and-see approach.
Keep in mind this is just an interview question—your response should be thoughtful but you probably don’t need a detailed plan just yet.
This is an example which might help you get started in formulating your own response:
I like to see the first 90 days in three 30-day phases. During the first phase, it’s all about building trust and rapport, learning what everyone does well and what they need to succeed. In the second phase, I look to refine the team’s work habits and enhance productivity, and in the third phase, the focus turns to global efficiency and making our department work more effectively alongside others.
This question will generally be directed toward those applying for positions of responsibility, so take the opportunity to demonstrate your abilities to plan and think on your feet.