Plan For Your First 90 Days And Ace The Interview
You've landed an interview for your dream property job; a real step-up to a more senior role. Be it an internal promotion or a role in a new company, you want to stand out and give yourself the best possible chance of getting the job. We’ve spoken to leadership and surveying experts to find out why they think a plan for the first 90 days in a new job is key to winning the role and being successful.
What is this 'first 90 days in a new job' plan?
The importance of a 90 or 100 day plan began with Franklin Roosevelt when he became President. The Great Depression of the 1930s meant he had to set out a strong recovery plan, and quickly. In recent years, this concept has resurfaced and gained traction within the leadership community.
It's estimated 38-50% of executives in new leadership roles fail in the first 18 months so a clear plan for making your mark is key. Those first months are your opportunity to make a strong impression and set out what you want to achieve.
How a plan could help you
Many employers now expect candidates to present a thorough plan of what they'll do when they start. You might be a high-flying quantity surveyor or building surveyor with fantastic technical aptitude and confidence with clients. But how can you demonstrate you have the people skills to run a team and large-scale project? Or show you have the vision to make real change in an organisation? In a detailed plan, you can lay out how you will achieve these things.
How to make a 90 day plan
'Begin by thinking about your first day in the new job," explains Michael D Watkins, bestselling author of The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter. "What do you want to do by the end of that day? Then move to the first week. Then focus on the end of the first month, the second month and finally the three-month mark."
Founder of executive onboarding group PrimeGenesis, George Bradt, shares some elements you should include in a plan:
• clarify the company's objectives. Your plans must align with the overall aims of the company and scope out how you'll help them achieve them
• identify what you and your team will do. It's not all about you, your team are an essential component in your success.
Start with this three-step process
Don't just jump into making a plan though. Author of Your First 100 Days: How to make maximum impact in your new leadership role, Niamh O'Keeffe, outlines three stages to go through before putting the plan together. First, understand your transition challenges. It might be that you're going from being a quantity surveyor at a small practice, to a management position at a large surveying company. These businesses are likely to function in different ways, think carefully about how you'll face these changes.
O'Keeffe continues: "Next, build a profile of your role, organisation and market." He recommends thinking about who your team will be, what the company stands for and the direction they're heading in. How is the current market? Will an uncertain economy mean clients are reducing budgets on big construction projects? How could you adapt to this?
The final step before putting pen to paper, he says, is: "Start with the strategic end in mind about what you ultimately want to achieve." Even though the plan is just for the first few months, it's important to have that overview of your end goals.
The plan in context
"When applying for the higher end valuation jobs, such as area managers, regional directors and working directly for big lenders, I think candidates could benefit from making a 90 day initial plan", says Andy Welham, Surveying Recruitment Consultant from BBL Property Recruitment. "You don't want to go in and upend an established culture but being too passive is not desirable either. So, by doing your research on the company and their objectives, you can make a clear plan that pitches at the right level."
Shyam Visavadia, founder of Graduate Surveyors, agrees that understanding the environment beforehand is key to fitting into a new role. He says: "When putting together a 90 day plan, I'd start by understanding the types of resources I would have at my disposal. This could be team members, technological support and a network of contacts. By doing this, you can ensure you'll deliver to the strategic ambitions of the business.
"I use SMART objectives to set out my long and short term goals. There would be value in doing this as part of a plan to share at an interview as well. It would show your future employer where you want to be in your career and help align commitments and shared values.”
Gather information on the role
Sue Willcock, author of Help, I'm A Manager - A Practical Guide to Success as a First Time People Manager in Professional Services advises you find out how you’ll be measured at the end of the 90 days and beyond. “At larger firms, your performance might be judged against a technical or behavioural framework beyond the immediately obvious measures. On the technical side, this may mean you are expected to be the subject matter expert and the go-to person for questions on a particular topic. If you ask the question about how you’ll be measured upfront, you can impress interviewers by explaining how you’d reach these targets in a 90 day plan.”
Stand out from the crowd
When you go for your next interview or apply for a promotion – be that in quantity or building surveying, valuation or project management – use the 90 day plan to prepare. It'll set you apart from other candidates, make a positive first impression and might just swing you the job.