Interviewing: How to Demonstrate that You are a Self-Starter

By Ganteng Boy

Warning: sales specific, and may be transferrable to other roles..

Imagine that you have already completed the first round of interviews. The first interview is most likely with HR. Assuming that you have passed the first interview, the next logical step is the face to face interview.

Let us start there.

You are suited up, or for ladies, you are wearing a business professional attire.


You have extensively researched the company. There are no questions that you are not able to address. But wait, there is that one question…


Q: If you were to start working tomorrow, how would you plan to hit your target?


In this question, the interviewer is looking for insights into your past behavior. At your prior employment, how did you manage your time? From the day that you were hired to one month out, how did you collaborate with the team? learn about the product that you are selling? etc.

Should you be presented with this question, I would advise sharing with the interviewer a general account plan strategy (30-60-90 day out) on how you plan on hitting your target.

Here is how I answered it…


A: from 0-30 days, this is how my schedule would look like:

  • on boarding: get new laptop, badge, internal training, HR (human resources) debrief
  • meet and greet with the business segment managers and the internal team
  • investigate my sales territory for the following KPIs (key performance indicators): revenue scope, clients who recently and frequently purchased from the company, geographic location of my clients, the product mix by revenue for my territory, etc. (the purpose of this exercise is to identify the low hanging fruit, aka opportunities that are ripe for quick wins)
  • review sales plan with my sales manager

from 30-60 days, this is how my schedule would look like:

  • engage in introduction level communication with all of my accounts
  • nurture prior conversations with customers that I have identified as a high probability of closing
  • review case studies, white papers and marketing collateral; place higher emphasis on internal resources for products with high margin/high ROI (return on investment)
  • follow through with all SQLs (sales qualified leads) and/or MQLs (marketing qualified leads)
  • continue with product training and engage with technical SMEs (subject matter experts) at a deeper level
  • close low hanging fruit opportunities (at least one)
  • target for 50-70 client engagements or at 110%+ of target activites
  • job shadow 3 top sales reps to identify successful sales behaviors

from 60-90 days, this is how my schedule would look like:

  • close low hanging fruit opportunities
  • target for 80-100 client engagements or at 110%+ of target activities
  • identify 6 strategic opportunities for EOY (end of year) to next year
  • identify 4 key accounts that have the greatest future revenue potential based on the following: past purchase behavior, stock indicators (if publicly traded), sales forecast from prior reps, current product mix, etc
  • continue to build product knowledge via internal conversations with SME and internal resources
  • demo a product to at least 3 SMEs (subject matter experts)
  • recalibrate tactics for quota crushing goals with sales manager
  • crystalize daily workflow to reach optimum sales effort
  • regroup with internal sales team and capture best practices (past/current)



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