By Gerald Walsh ©
Once the initial excitement of accepting a new job has worn off, it’s time to think about how you can start off your new job on the right foot.
If you’re nervous, that’s understandable. For many people, doubts start to creep in. Will I like my new job? What will the people be like? Will they like me? Can I do the work? Will I fit into their culture?
The transition to a new job does not have to be filled with tension and anxiety. Here are 7 steps you can take to ensure you’re successful, productive, and confident from day one.
1. Prove what you told them in the interview.
Whatever you said in the interview, make sure that you demonstrate you can do it early on. For example, if you said one of your strengths is motivating staff, start holding regular staff meetings or communicating better with staff.
You don’t want to be left in a situation where your actions fall short of your boss’s expectations based on what you told them in the interview.
2. Make a positive first impression.
You made a good impression in the interview. That’s why they hired you. Now you have to carry this same impression into your new job. Here are a few tactics to follow:
Come to work early and stay late to demonstrate good work ethic.
Ask good questions and listen more than you talk.
Smile (a lot) – there’s nothing like a friendly face.
Build personal relationships with co-workers by inviting them for coffee.
Ask for help when you need it.
And, never tell people how much better it was at your old company.
3. Adopt the behavioural norms.
Every office has its own unique set of unstated behaviours which all employees are expected to follow. Not doing so can cause irreversible damage to your reputation starting out. Even simple things like: Where do people eat their lunch? Are desks cleared off at end of the day or can work be left out? Is it okay to take the occasional personal call? Is it acceptable to come in 10 minutes late and stay 10 minutes longer at end of the day?
You may think of these as small things. But they become big things when you don’t conform.
4. Define the relationship with your boss.
The most important relationship you will have is the one with your boss and you should define this as early as you can. For example, you should establish the frequency with which they wish to meet and the depth of information they require about your work.
You should also be prepared to adapt to your boss’s style, not the other way around. If they want to know everything you do and you prefer a lot of freedom, don’t resist it at the start. You will be better off if you build trust over time and eventually you will gain the freedom you want.
5. Be respectful of the person you are replacing.
You should be aware of the person you have replaced. That person may have left for any number of reasons: retired, fired, or just left to assume a new job somewhere else. Whatever the reason, it’s best to leave your comments to yourself as that person may have had friends in the company who wouldn’t appreciate your attitude.
6. Sort out the office politics.
Beyond understanding the formal organization and who has authority by virtue of their position, you should find out who the real influencers are and develop an understanding of the social networks that exist within the organization. Who gets along with whom? Who are the groups and cliques that connect?
It’s best to not align yourself with any one group. Instead build your own social network by associating with many groups and networks across the entire organization.
7. Stay in touch with your old boss.
Technically, this is not a strategy for being successful in your new job. But it is a smart plan to follow just in case your new job doesn’t work out. Assuming you left your old job on good terms, you can maintain a relationship with your old boss and past employer by:
Sending a holiday card.
Extending best wishes on their birthday.
Letting them know you’ve received a promotion or moved to a new job.
Sending them articles of interest or any competitive intelligence you may have.
Dropping in the office for a visit from time to time.
Staying in touch through Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn .
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Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and author. During a 25+ year career, he has interviewed more than 15,000 job candidates, completed hundreds of successful searches for a range of organizations and guided many individuals – from young professionals to senior executives – to successful career change. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career.” You can follow Gerry on Twitter @Gerald_Walsh and LinkedIn.