It's a secret - the #1 question to ask during a job interview

So few have heard of this technique that sometimes it seems to be a secret.

As an jobseeker, it is a good idea to be prepared with questions when you walk into an interview. You’ll want to research the company ahead of time and be prepared to ask about the company and its future plans.

Yes, everyone knows this much. But very few seem to know the most important question to ask on an interview.

The #1 question to ask should not be asked on screening interviews with the recruiter or HR person. You should wait to ask this question until you are meeting with the hiring manager for an actual job. And, don’t ask it right off the bat. Take time to ask about the company, the culture, and the position.

Then, and only then, can you ask the all-important question:

Here it is:

·       What do you want the person to accomplish in the first 90 days on the job?

The reason this is the most important question to ask is that it is key to developing follow-up materials that will make you stand out after the interview.What you want to do for follow-up is this:

·       Write out your thank-you notes in the parking lot and hand deliver them into the receptionist, writing a note for each person you interviewed with. (Note – another good question to ask on the interview is “Please describe what would make a person successful in this role” – you can use the answer to this question to highlight similar characteristics in yourself in the thank you note).

·       Go home and write out a “90-day action plan” – use the intelligence you gathered in your interview to fill in what you plan to accomplish on your first 30, 60 and 90 days on the job. Then, immediately put this in the USPS mail.

·       The hiring manager will receive your 90-day action plan at about the same time he or she receives the others’ thank you notes. This will help you to stand out – you’ll look brilliant and miles ahead of everyone else.

I provide a template of a 90-day action plan for my clients, and for some clients I help to write the 90-day action plan. You’ll want to work in some action items based upon what the hiring manager told you in the interview.

In addition, you can add in some of these generic accomplishments for your first 90 days on the job:

30-Day Sample Accomplishments

·        Introduce self to team / managers. Establish myself as a helpful, collaborative team member who is willing to share ideas and chip in as needed.

·        Set up meetings to introduce self to key individuals and my internal clients.

·        On-boarding. Obtain training needed to hit the ground running within a short amount of time.

60-Day Sample Accomplishments

·        Develop a deeper understanding of the current year’s goals (department / company).

·        Meet with key executives and department heads to understand the role and interaction of each. Seek wisdom.

·        Participate in appropriate staff meetings to assist in the understanding of key problem areas; gain a direct understanding of culture and behavior.

·        Establish a weekly conversation with manager, establish strong relationship.

90-Day Sample Accomplishments

·        Continue with bullet points from 30 Day plan, 60 Day plan.

·        Consider how I might use my expertise and training in to expand the group’s capabilities and further the company’s competitive advantage. Respectfully share helpful ideas and insights with manager.

·        Consider other ways that I can help my team members / manager to be successful.

·        Start to manage large scale projects.

Remember, these are generic sample accomplishments – you’ll want to tailor these to the job role, and add in action items the hiring manager mentioned when you asked the question in the interview. The 90-day action plan should be one page and you’ll want to have section headings for 30-Day Plan, 60-Day Plan and 90 Day Plan.

Remember that the resume helps to open up the door to an interview. You’ll need to prepare ahead of time to shine while on the interview. The 90-Day Action Plan is a key component in follow-up; it is designed to set you apart AFTER the interview. To succeed in obtaining an offer, you need to outperform those you’re competing against at the resume stage, at the interview stage and then again during follow-up.

As a Resume Writer, Career Coach and Job Search Strategist, my job is to help you land a job more quickly – by helping you stand out and shine every step of the way. My 6-Step Job Search Program is effective and goes way beyond Career Coaching and Resume Writing.  We teach clients how to launch a targeted job search and conduct research to identify target companies and hiring managers. 

Best of luck to you and let me know if I can help you succeed – FASTER.

Let me know how this tactic works for you on your next job interview with a hiring manager.