Success on the Job Starts Day One
Starting a new job is the perfect time to make a good impression. You want the employer to be confident that they made the right decision in hiring you for the position. The first hundred days in a new job can be one of the most critical times of your career. Here are some recommendations based on feedback from our employers.
- Be Punctual – This is a way to show you are serious about the job. You can worry about flexibility later after you have proven yourself. Always arrive a few minutes before starting time so you are ready and eager to begin your day. Managers notice when employees are not punctual. If something comes up and you need to ask for some time off, give as much advance notice as possible. Try to minimize the negative impact on your work deadlines and offer to make up the time if appropriate. Always be mindful of critical work deadlines.
- Show Respect – Honor the culture of the organization you have joined and respect those in authority as well as your peers. Put your cell phone on vibrate and avoid taking personal calls except in an emergency. Do not use company property for personal reasons – this includes the internet. Follow the company’s dress code. Take the lead from your manager. Don’t gossip or participate in the office rumor mill. Also show respect of their current processes and procedures. Don’t start out telling them their systems are antiquated and their processes don’t make sense. Learn the systems and processes first. Listen to why they do things the way they do. There may well be significant opportunities for improvement but you need to invest the time in understanding the status quo and earn some credibility before you start proposing changes.
- Open Communications – Identify your supervisor’s communications style and preferences and work to accommodate that style. Also identify the style and preferences for your colleagues. Discuss any concerns you have with your manager. Provide your supervisor with progress reports. Avoid surprises – such as a project not completed on deadline. Let them know in advance if there are issues. Keep your manager advised of any concerns that could impact results and deadlines. Set the pattern for open, frequent communications early. Ask for feedback regularly so you can fine tune your performance to ensure you are meeting or exceeding expectations.
- Ask Questions – Do not make assumptions. You are learning the company and the role. Ask questions to be sure you understand. Clarify requests to be sure you understand what you are being asked to do. Inquire how your work supports the department’s goals and the company’s objectives. It is not a sign of weakness to ask questions. Don’t waste time and energy doing the wrong things because you didn’t ask.
- Take Notes – Take notes so you don’t ask the same question again. Review your notes and apply what you have learned when faced with similar tasks or issues. Keep a record of your accomplishments – details of projects competed and impact on the organization, skills you developed or enhanced, knowledge you gained. They know you are new and you will need to ask questions as part of the learning process but they will quickly grow frustrated if you keep asking the same questions.
- Be Fully Engaged – If possible ask what you can do prior to your start date to learn more about the company, the team and the position. Do your homework researching the company, competitors, industry etc. Demonstrate your energy and enthusiasm. Remain positive. Show you are hungry for a challenge. Pay attention to both quality and timeliness of your work. Look for ways to exceed expectations.
- Identify Solutions not Problems – When you encounter problems, try to find possible solutions. Identify unmet business needs and ways you can help meet them. When identifying a problem, always offer at least one reasonable solution.
- Listen – Learn as much as you can by listening to others as they talk about the industry, the company and the department. Listen carefully to instructions for assignments and clarify as needed. Pay attention to deadlines, guidelines, and procedures. Always ask for feedback and think about how you can apply what you learned going forward. Seek continuous improvement.
- Earn the Challenging Assignments – Employers don’t give the most challenging project to the rookie in most cases. Demonstrate with your early assignments that they can count on you to deliver high quality and timely work and you will begin to earn more challenging assignments.
- Show initiative – Look for ways to exceed expectations. Identify unmet business needs and determine ways you can help. Offer to assist a busy colleague with a big project. Volunteer for a project that needs a home.
- Be Flexible and Adaptable – Accept all assignments cheerfully and give every assignment your best effort. Be open minded about new ideas, new procedures and different work. Anticipate change and embrace it.
- Curiosity – Ask open ended questions to demonstrate your interest. Offer ideas and suggestions for possible improvements. Seek opportunities to learn more about the company and the industry.
The manager hired you instead of all the other candidates because he/she believed you could make a difference on their team. Show them from day one that they made the right decision.