Posted 08 January 2016 | 0 Comments

Starting a new job brings a rush of mixed emotions. There should be excitement of course, but anxiety is also pretty likely. To help you manage the first days and weeks in your new role, check out our top tips for starting a new job!

Be prepared

For your first day, make a list of everything you need to do and stick to it. It should probably go something like this:

  1. Find out the dress code and prepare your outfit the night before – this will save you precious minutes in the morning and help avoid any time consuming surprises like losing your lucky socks!
  2. Pack anything you’re expected to have (or think you may need) like ID documents, P45 / completed P46, payroll information, outstanding references, signed contract and offer letter, medical questionnaire, details of medication to be brought on site, pens, a notepad and any tools required for the job.
  3. Take a lunch. Even if you plan to buy a lunch everyday, make sure you have something with you just in case the shops are further away than you thought or don’t stock things you like. Most importantly, you don’t want to miss the chance to socialise with your new colleagues if you are asked to sit with them while they eat theirs. Likewise, if you can afford to, you may wish to ditch the sarnies if you are invited out instead.
  4. Plan your commute in advance, allow extra time for unexpected delays and make sure you have a plan for parking. (if applicable) Sure, you went to the office for your interview but unless you were there at 9am you might not know what the journey is like in rush hour traffic. Be certain you know the way, leave enough time to get there and then give yourself at least ten minutes more than that. You don’t want to be late on your first day!

First impressions count

Being on time and dressed for the part is half the first impressions battle but it doesn’t stop there. Remember to smile and be polite to absolutely everyone you meet, from the cleaner right through to the CEO. It’s nice to be nice, and even nicer to have everyone thinking the sun shines out of your… winning smile.

You may remember from reading July’s blog, Job Interview Nightmares, What We Can Learn?, that you should NEVER badmouth past employers in an interview. Well that doesn’t change once you’ve started your new job. Always assume the person you’re talking to knows the person you’re talking about – if that turns out to be true, they probably won’t like to hear any bad reviews. Moreover, it can reflect badly on you if you seem hateful towards those you’ve worked with before and you don’t want new colleagues thinking you’ll speak the same way about them in future.

Read the room

Be aware that you are in a totally new environment. Hold back and learn the culture before blasting new colleagues with your “epic bantz ”. Banter is in the eye of the beholder, so what you think is funny may not be to those around you. If you’re unsure of how something will be taken, keep it to yourself until you know your audience better.

Be patient with training

Even if you have experience in a similar role, training is necessary. You need to learn the way they do things in your new workplace. If you are being shown things you see as simple (like using a photocopier or going through the first aid process) be gracious and accept that some companies require new staff to be trained on certain things regardless of prior experience. Smile, pay attention and get through it – no one likes a smart arse.

If you are being shown how to use something new, like a bespoke CMS, don’t do anything before you have been told to. Even if you think you know what to do next, you won’t impress anyone by trying to rush through things. You’re more likely to frustrate by clicking ahead, especially if the trainer had something to show you before you went click crazy!

Other training notes include:

  1. Never leave your training manager waiting while you get a drink/go to the loo/ finish a conversation after lunch. If you want to do something before you are due to begin, just ask. Your new manager won’t appreciate twiddling their thumbs while they wonder where you are.
  2. Avoid doodling or staring out of a window in a training session. If you are too tired to concentrate, ask for a short break. Don’t waste your opportunity to learn (or the trainer’s time) by not paying attention.
  3. When being trained at the same time as another employee, resist the temptation to talk amongst yourselves. This isn’t school and the person you are being rude to is more than likely your new boss. Chat later.

Save those grand ideas for when you are known

As we said in the last point, it’s likely that things will be done differently here to wherever you worked before. It’s also possible that you will see quicker, easier or more productive ways of working. Here’s the thing; if change wasn’t what you were brought in to do, you should steer clear of making suggestions right away. You’re trying to help, but this can ruffle feathers at a time when you should be making friends.

Learn the way they want things done and wait it out. It doesn’t look great to stroll in and tell people they are wrong straight away, and you may not feel the same way in a month’s time. If you still see changes to be made when you’ve settled in, suggest these to your line manager and try not to be too put out if they disagree.

Be yourself, everyone else is taken

You should always try to be the best you that you can be (especially when you have the fresh start that comes with a new job) but don’t try to be something you’re not. Being friendly and hard working is not the same as pretending you can do things that you can’t. Nothing frustrates a manager more than an employee who fails to deliver because they nodded and smiled when they should have admitted they didn’t know how to complete the task.

The same goes for seeking a huge workload when you start. To begin with, this can make you seem like a wonder employee but if you take on more than you can handle you’ll come off looking worse in the long run. Manage your own expectations just as much as everyone else’s – you can always ask for a bigger workload once you have mastered the duties you were brought in to manage. Simply do what is asked of you in the first instance and build from there.

So there it is. Good luck in your new job, we hope our tips have been helpful! If you have suggestions of your own please leave a comment below.

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