One of my favorite interview questions as a hiring manager is: “What’s your game plan to ensure success in the job?” Here’s how to prepare your answer.

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One of my favorite interview questions as a hiring manager is: “What’s your game plan to ensure success in the job?” It immediately reveals the candidates who have thought through what it will take to be effective in the role. Not having a well-thought-out answer is a quick way to get eliminated from the hiring process.

The easiest way to nail this question during job interviews is to prepare your answer ahead of time. Here’s how:

  1. Ask yourself: “What will it take for me to be successful in this job?”
  2. Reread the job description with the list of requirements and the skills/experience/education necessary.
  3. Brainstorm a list of actions that you would take during the first three months, if you were hired for the job. Then, create a one-page “game plan” document with a brief explanation of each item.

Let’s pretend you have a job interview for a position as a pharmaceutical sales representative. First, think about what you’ll need to do or learn within the first 90 days on the job to ensure you’re successful. For example, you’ll want your customers to see you as knowledgeable and be able to earn their trust; that means you’ll need to know everything possible about the products you’ll be representing.

After that, reread the job description. Then create your game plan, which might look like this:

Products: Learn everything there is to know about the products.

Terminology: Learn all the appropriate medical terminology that customers will use during our discussions.

Sales territory: Learn the sales territory as well as background information about all of the customers.

Sales techniques: Learn suggested sales techniques, possibly riding along with one or two reps to observe and ask questions.

Computer systems and processes: Learn all the necessary computer systems, software programs and processes.

Marketing tools: Learn all the tools that are available for use during the sales process, the best times to use them and for which customers or situations.

Communication with manager: Find out my manager’s preferred communication methods and what I can do to ensure we work well together.

Performance criteria: Understand the criteria on which my performance will be judged as well as how and when my manager will determine if I’m successful.

Once you’ve created your game plan, print out a few copies and bring them to your job interview. You’ll surely impress the hiring manager.

Lisa Quast is the founder of Career Woman, Inc., and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach. Email her at