Candidates are always looking for an edge in job interviews, and they try to gain that edge in different ways: crafting a killer resume, dressing for success, practicing interview questions and answers, researching the company, building a brag book, or even practicing positive body language. However, one thing candidates often overlook, or never even consider, is creating a business plan for interviews. Simply put, this type of plan is a short one-to-three page document that states in as little or as much detail as necessary what a candidate will do in the position that he or she is interviewing for.
To write a personal business plan correctly, you have to take the time to think out the position, your goals, and the company's goals. You have to research the company and your specific desired position in it, analyze what it takes to be successful, and write what is, essentially, a "to-do" list for yourself. This list should take the form of incremental goals, ideally organized into a 30-day plan, a 60-day plan, and a 90-day plan. It is a lot of work to do before you even know if you're hired, but this kind of effort will set you apart from other job seekers and absolutely get a hiring manager's attention. Not only that, but it will increase your chances of success once you do get the job...because you've already mapped out how to be successful.
The 30-day part of the plan is the easiest to put together. In your research of the company and your discussions with the recruiter you are working with, you should discover what the company's training plan looks like-how long it takes and where you receive it. So most of the items in your 30-day plan should be along the lines of attending training, mastering product knowledge, learning specific corporate systems, traveling to learn your territory (if you're in sales), meeting other members of the team, or reviewing accounts.
The 60-day part of the plan usually includes more field time, customer introductions, reviews of customer satisfaction, fine-tuning your work schedule, and getting feedback from your manager.
The 90-day part of the plan is the "getting settled" part of your new job. It should include things that take more initiative on your part: landing your own accounts, scheduling programs, or coming up with new ways to get prospects' attention (again, if you're in sales), as well as continuing to get performance feedback and fine-tuning your schedule.
Keep in mind, these examples are extremely generalized. The more specific you can be in your plan, the better. Research the company and the position, even if you've done the same kind of work for years. Your business plan doesn't have to be long and complicated, but it does have to show that you've done your homework, analyzed this job, and thoughtfully considered how you can best serve this particular company. That's the edge that will get you hired.
For more information on 30-60-90-day business plans, go to www.30-60-90-day-sales-plan.com.
Peggy McKee is the owner and chief recruiter for PHC Consulting, with a medical sales blog at www.phcconsulting.com/WordPress, and a sales recruiter blog at www.30-60-90-day-sales-plan.com. Peggy has a B.S. Chemistry and an M.B.A., Concentration: Marketing from the University of Oklahoma (Go Sooners!). She has worked all over the United States and held the titles of Regional Sales Manager, National Accounts Manager, Regional Product Manager, Systems Specialist and Account Manager (in the laboratory supply industry). She founded PHC Consulting in 1999. For almost 10 years, she has worked with laboratory and medical supply companies to attract and hire top talent. She has developed teams of top sales talent for laboratory service companies, clinical diagnostics companies, niche life science product companies and healthcare/medical software providers. Her understanding of hiring, sales, and the medical/laboratory industry has helped her clients maximize their sales potential.