You’ve finally scored your dream job, and now you want to kick off on the right foot and make a positive impression. The first few weeks are always awkward; ‘I’ve not had my full induction…but the phone’s ringing…do I pick it up?’ ‘Is it business formal or business casual attire on my first day?’ You want to be careful not to make any career-ending mistakes.
So, what should you NEVER do when starting a new job?
1. Don’t show up late.
Ah, tardiness…your best friend: Being on time matters. Especially in a new job. Showing up late on the first day (or even in the first few weeks) is guaranteed to make a negative impression. To ensure you’ll be on time, ‘dummy run’ the route to your new job before you start via your car/bus/train, so you’ll know how long it takes to get there. Factor in extra time if there’s traffic, construction, or other reasons to expect a delay.
2. Don’t dress unprofessionally.
Tricky one, but before starting your job, talk with the hiring manager, HR or Recruiter, to make sure you understand what constitutes acceptable attire for your new workplace. There’s nothing more embarrassing than showing up in your ‘Sunday casuals’ when you should be wearing your Monday ‘professionals’ — a good first impression it does not make!
3. Don’t ignore your induction.
Many companies require new employees to go through an induction or training process before starting a new position. While it may be tempting to skip these sessions or treat them lightly, don’t! Even if those showing you the ropes won’t be your direct supervisors, they are taking time out of their day to help you understand the business, their role and your role within the company. Give them the time of day and they will be great allies in the end.
4. Don’t expect too much ‘hand-holding’.
No matter where you’re working, there are certain processes, tools, and forms that make up the standard operating procedures of your company. You may have been introduced to these through a very organised, systematic induction, or you may feel like you’re expected to absorb them naturally. If you were formally informed, consider yourself fortunate. If not, don’t feel short-changed or frustrated. Instead, take initiative and master the basics on your own.
5. Don’t ask co-workers to do your work.
Understandably, you may need help or guidance during your first few weeks at a new job, and asking co-workers for assistance or just to answer questions can be perfectly acceptable. But there’s no quicker way to make enemies than to ask or expect your new co-workers to do specific parts of your job for you Remember, you were hired because managers believed in your ability to get the job done. Ask for help if you need it, but believe in yourself and prove that you can do the work yourself.
6. Don’t take too many personal calls.
The time you spend at work is for, well, work. If friends or family members are prone to call you during working hours, remind them before you start your new job that you will now be working during certain hours and give them a heads up to not call you, if it’s a genuine emergency then, fair enough. Other than that, you can always call them back during a break. We can live without phones for a few hours.
7. Don’t ask for more money.
‘What? Surely people don’t do that’ you say. But it does happen on a rare occasion. Most likely, you and your employer agreed to a certain salary during the hiring process. So don’t change your mind before you even show up at work. If you agreed to the salary offered, be satisfied with that. Don’t expect more money (and don’t ask for more) until you’ve worked long enough to prove your value to the employer.
8. Don’t try to change things.
Of course, you want to make a good impression as soon as you arrive at a new job, and show your new employer they made the right choice in hiring you. However, be cautious of suggesting new policies or strategies during your first few weeks, as it may not be the best way to demonstrate you are a team player. Plus, it could prompt some of your new co-workers to think twice about you as the right person for the job. At first, take time to understand and learn your job, then over time, when you are more knowledgeable in your environment! Make suggestions and changes as situations arise, and as your input and expertise are called upon, change will come…so let it.
9. Don’t be dishonest.
In a new job, there will always be a learning curve, and effective supervisors understand that. Inevitably, you’ll be asked to do something or expected to know something that you don’t yet know or know how to do. Rather than saying you can complete the task on your own, be honest. It’s fine to admit that you may not know. Honesty is a huge differentiator.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
I get it, you’re excitable…it’s your first week and you want to impress, but it’s also fine to reach out to your co-workers if you're struggling a little. By skipping even the most basic questions, you could set yourself up for failure. Rather than hiding under in your notebook and pressing on making mistakes that could cost the company time and money, ask questions about everything you need to know; job responsibilities, IT to sort out your inevitable system problems, how salary is processed and when and loads more. Be inquisitive. It’s fine.
These are just some basic tips and reminders that we can all be guilty of at some point.
For more guidance, feel free to get in touch with us at Engage and we will give you the best advice we can offer.