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Submitted by pjkraft on



A company I'm interviewing with for a country manager role (in Asia) has asked me to write a business plan to grow their business.

I can hear Mark voice in my head, "Unless you got something, you got nothin'." So perhaps I just buckle down and do it?

However, doing all of that and not getting hired means that they have a great plan and I have nothing. (I would normally charge for this kind of work)

Lastly, I'm not 100% sure that the company is a good fit for me. They clearly don't subscribe to Manager Tools.

One piece of advice I received is to write an Executive Summary of my recommendation and then tell them they can have the full report if they hire me.


Thank you very much!

timrutter's picture

I'll caveat this with the warning that this sort of practice boils my blood PJ!

The Executive Summary idea is a really good one. If they want detailed consulting advice from three or four people, let them pay for it rather than dangle a job in front of peoples' noses.


kevin_cross's picture

It sounds like there may be no actual position available and the company wants some outside help but are being too cheap to pay someone for it so they turn to manipulating "candidates" into doing it for them.

I have heard that doing the business plan is fine but you hand it to the manager in paper and make sure a condition of you handing it to them is that it leaves with you and doesn't leave your sight (they'd just make copies of it if it did). 

I'm not sure if that's the best way to go about it because it seems confrontational and is accusatory to the company.

I think offering an executive summary is a great idea. I think it should be offered before it's done because their surprise that they aren't getting what they asked for can lead to negative feelings (I think a lot of peoples satisfaction is related to managing expectations). I'd also add that you'll write a business plan as your first task once hired.

delete_account_per_reacher_145083_dtiller's picture
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I was asked to do a similar exercise and I declined.  The recruiter thought I was a good fit and advocated for me and spoke directly with the hiring manager, the CFO, and he had no desire for this request.  It turned out to be a requirement of HR and not the CFO so in the end I didn't need to do and got the job.  I think sometimes HR doesn't know how to qualify seniior candidates and comes up with tests to prove competency.  I support behavioural interviewing instead.

In my experience, I don't believe credible hiring managers make this request as frankly you could outsource the work and there is no way to know if you did it or someone else did it. 

Hope it all works out for you.



Gk26's picture

I just landed a VP role and as part of the interview process, I created a 40 page first 100 day/transformation plan.I was not asked to do it, but did it to impress them and to show them I was serious. I walked them through it, and they wanted me to leave it, but I declined. I flat out told them this was my intellectual property and if they wanted my plan, they had to hire me.

There is a difference though between what I did and what some have been asked to do. My sister is out of work and she had to create some thing and surrender it, basically doing free consulting.

timrutter's picture

For a VP role, you'd be expected to do a lot of groundwork up front GK26. I was asked to do something similar for a very senior role with a construction project for the Olympics a while back.

For us ground troops now, it really rings alarm bells with me when I get requests like that as part of the selection process