Your first day on a new job may be among the most memorable – and the most stressful – of your career. There’s a heightened pressure to impress your new employer and colleagues, now that you’ve landed the position. You can lessen this anxiety by being prepared and planning ahead, just as you did during the hiring process. Day one sets the tone for your tenure at an organization, so make it count.
First Day Pointers
Follow these tips to ease your first-day job stress – which, by the way, is a completely normal experience:
- Look and act the part. Be as professional as you were when you interviewed. Take a conservative approach to how you dress, speak and act. Ideally, you want to blend in and make yourself and others comfortable.
- Ask questions. The first day is really about listening. You should do just that – and in the process, ask questions whenever necessary. This demonstrates your curiosity and desire to learn and quickly become engaged.
- Get a feel for office politics. Power is an interesting, important and sometimes elusive quality in a workplace. Try to begin understanding the positional hierarchy in your new company. Above and beyond learning co-workers’ titles, this means knowing who actually answers to who on key issues.
- Pay attention to how decisions are made. As you listen and observe, you should be able to learn the decision-making system. In any culture, there is a norm: either ad hoc (decisions made after an event occurs) or ex ante (decisions made beforehand). Understanding this is imperative to fitting into a new culture.
- Relax, smile and be friendly. Arrive well rested and optimistic. First impressions matter, so smile and shake hands when meeting new people. Make it clear how happy and eager you are to be there. Remember to be happy and enjoy the experience.
- Talk and interact with your peers. It’s important to show that you’re ready to begin building relationships with your new team. If you establish early on that you’re friendly and approachable, you’ll start off on the right foot in cementing that trust. So don’t turn down that lunch or coffee break invitation.
- Project high energy. You will be observed from the moment you walk in the door. Your work ethic and attitude are at maximum visibility at this point, as no one has had a chance to evaluate your skills just yet. Everyone wants to work with enthusiastic, upbeat people, so let them know that this is what they can expect from you.
- Be 100 percent present. Focus and show concentrated interest in everyone you meet. While they try to learn more about you, make a similar effort to get to know them. Leave non-work issues at home, put your cell phone on silent, and allow no personal interruptions unless it’s a dire emergency.
- Go easy on yourself. You may look back on the day and second-guess some things that you said or did. In most situations, employers don’t expect you to knock the ball out of the park in your first at bat. They realize there will be a learning curve, and there will be an unofficial grace period. In reality, you probably did just fine. And besides, there’s always tomorrow!
The specialized recruiters at Select Group, Inc., know the importance of making the right career move – and the right first impression, whether it’s during or after your successful job search experience. To