Being asked "How long will it take for you to make a significant contribution" or "What is your 30/60/90 day plan" serves a dual purpose.
First, the interviewer is trying to see if you have done your research on the company. If you know what will be expected of you in the position, you will know what you should be doing in a month or two. Second, the hiring manager is trying to see how driven you are. Giving a simple answer like "one month" will not be enough to impress anybody, but by having an entire plan outlined, you will be making a very good first impression.
Points to Emphasize
This can be a crucial question to answer correctly in an interview, so make sure to emphasize these aspects of the response.
- Show that you have done your research on the company and the position
- Emphasize your enthusiasm and initiative
- Talk about the specifics of your plan
- Feel free to ask for their input regarding your plan
If you go into the interview with a plan already in place when you do not technically have the job, you will thoroughly impress the interviewer and make yourself stand apart from the other applicants.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
In order to make sure you put yourself at the top of the applicant pool, avoid falling into these typical traps.
- Don't just give a length of time like "three months" or "six months"
- Don't say "I don't know"
- Avoid talking about needing to get the job before knowing when you could make a contribution
- Don't get caught off-guard and let your nervousness show
It is okay to not know everything about what will be expected of you in the job, but you should be able to show that you know enough to have a plan in place.
Answering this question is the perfect time to shine in your interview, so make your response something like this:
I have put together an initial plan in order to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible. Naturally, the first 30 days will involve getting used to company protocols and getting the training I need, but I feel after the 30-day mark I should be skilled enough to start helping out on projects. Is there anything you would suggest to how I could benefit the company sooner
Your response should be customized to reflect what will be expected of you for the specific job you are applying for, but with a solid plan in place, you are sure to impress the hiring manager and earn yourself some brownie points.