Congratulations, you got the job! That’s brilliant news – your hard work throughout the interview process clearly paid off. You deserve to celebrate – but once your night out is over and everyone’s toasted your new role, it’s time for the real hard work to begin.
The first 100 days, or three months, of a new role are the most crucial of all. Your new boss and colleagues will form their opinion of you and your abilities during this time and it can be hard to change. So make sure you make the right first impression!
The mistake that many people, especially recent graduates, make in a new role is to believe that ‘making an impression’ is synonymous with behaving like a bull in a china shop. If you tell everyone what needs changing and how you’re going to do it in your first week, chances are you’re going to put someone’s nose out of joint. So follow our top five tips for your first three months and you’ll fly through your probation period.
If we could only offer one piece of advice, this would be it. Listen, listen, listen. To your manager, of course. But also listen to your co-workers, the finance team, the receptionist, and anyone else you come into contact with. You want to absorb as much information about the company as you can in these early days. You want to know about your job role, how it fits in with other teams within the business, what everyone else’s roles are, what the kind of working environment is like, and what sort of relationships your colleagues have with one another. As a guide, you should probably spend about 80% of your time listening and only 20% talking in your first week – and that 20% will mainly be asking questions!
Ask for help
You aren’t expected to know how to use the computers, or the printers, or the phones, or anything else for that matter, if no one has told you. It’s much better to ask about these things early on rather than a few weeks in when you’ve gained the confidence – people will be wondering what you’ve been doing all this time. If you’re not sure who to ask, or your manager or members of your team aren’t around, the receptionist is always a good place to start. If they can’t help you, they’ll point you in the direction of someone who can. If you’ve been set a task and you’ve got questions, make sure you ask your manager. It’s far better to clarify early on than be too shy to ask and find out you’ve got the wrong end of the stick.
Bond with your team
First impressions count, and so you need to develop relationships with your colleagues. First, watch and learn. What is the general office culture? Do people seem to have genuine friendships with their co-workers, or is the environment more one of professionalism? Are people chatty as they work or is it a quiet office? Do people tend to lunch together or at their desks? Your team is likely to guide you on this, so try to fit in and get to know your team mates. If they invite you for lunch or drinks, make the effort and go, even if it isn’t normally your scene. Your working life will be much more pleasant if you have a good relationship with your colleagues.
Don’t feel silly carrying a notebook around with you everywhere and making copious notes on everything. You can’t possibly remember all that you’re told, and while no one minds being asked a question, if you’ve asked it 50 times before, people will think you’re a bit ditzy. It takes time for everything to sink in, so try to read through the notes you’ve made from the day on your commute home each night and pick out the key points. Even making notes of names and where people sit can save you some potential embarrassment down the line.
So you’ve listened and learned as much as you can, you’ve diligently written everything down and understand the company culture, goals and challenges. Now is the time to diplomatically discuss any ideas you may have for your role. If you work in sales, don’t go suggesting changes in the finance team. Any suggestions you have need to directly relate to your own role and how you can make it more successful.
For example, in a business development role, suggest new types of company that you want to target and give your reasons why. Never criticise the way things have been done, and never pursue your own avenues without first discussing it with your manager. Ultimately, performing your role well and coming up with positive suggestions will ensure your success in your role.
And remember, if you landed your role through Aspire, your consultant is always on the end of the phone even once you’ve started your job. Any questions or problems that you don’t want to discuss with your boss, give them a call – they’ll be happy to help.
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