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Starting a New Job? Don't Wait to Make a Good Impression

Business News Daily Editor
Business News Daily Editor

Most new hires have less than 90 days to prove their worth.

  • Getting the job is just the beginning; first impressions can make or break how people perceive you in the office.
  • Work to meet as many people as you can so you can control their first impressions of you.
  • From starting the day early to expressing gratitude, there are a variety of ways to make a positive first impression in the office. 

You don't have time to ease into the flow of things when starting a new job. 

Employers expect you to hit the ground running, with more than 60% of executives saying new employees have less than three months to prove their worth, according to a 2016 study from the staffing firm Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

Less than 10% of the employers surveyed in the study said they give new hires up to a year to show their value, and just 4% said they don't put a time limit on how long new workers have to prove themselves.

Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half, said making a good first impression starts before a new position does.

"During the interview process, candidates should ask what will be expected in the first 90 days, and new hires should come to the job knowledgeable about the company, the competition and how to make the greatest impact," McDonald said in a statement. "You don't need to know everything, but managers are going to expect you to get up to speed in a short amount of time."

It's important for new employees to quickly meet as many people throughout the organization as they can. [See Related Story: ]

"Understanding their roles and priorities will allow you to start adding value right away," McDonald said.

To help new employees get off on the right foot, Robert Half offered several tips:

  • Start early each day. Getting to work early gives employees time to get settled, review what needs to be done for the day and organize their schedule.

  • Don't act like you know everything. Just because things were done one way at your old job doesn't mean that's how your new employer wants it done. Before suggesting any changes, it is important to first try to do things the way your new employer prefers.

  • Ask for help. Try to learn as much about how your new company operates as quickly as possible. If you aren't sure about a task or how it should be completed, ask someone who knows. It's better to ask for help than to get it wrong. Also, get specific feedback from your boss each week so you know what areas you need to work on and what additional training might be beneficial.

  • Don't rock the boat. When first starting, observe the company's corporate culture and act accordingly. In the beginning, don't ask for a flexible schedule or more time off. If those are things you're looking for, discuss those possibilities before accepting the job.

  • Say "thank you." It's important to show your co-workers appreciation when they help you out. Showing gratitude lets your co-workers know that you valued their assistance and will likely lead them to help you again in the future.

  • Find common ground. If you see something on a co-worker's workspace that you can relate to, like a picture of a specific landmark you have visited or a sticker of your favorite sports team, take it as an opportunity to talk about it.

  • Don't be a loner. You want to be known as part of the team and not just the new person. Try inviting co-workers to lunch or out for coffee to both get to know them on a personal level and to learn more about their job. The better you know what everyone else is doing, the more you can assist them and show how valuable you can be.

  • Be careful with humor. For many people, humor is an important part of daily conversation in the office. However, when you first get to know people in the office, it is important to remain upbeat and positive. Using sarcasm too early might make it seem like you are not committed to the job or that you do not take it seriously. If you use dry humor, your co-workers might not understand it.

  • Be open to feedback. If someone tells you that things are done a certain way, accept it and move on. Often, people do not mean it as criticism but guidance. Consider their feedback thoughtfully to make improvements rather than taking it personally.

  • Ask for advice. There is no better way to show people in your office that you value them than by asking what they wish they had known when they were in your shoes. Many people love to talk about themselves, so give them the opportunity to do so. 

The study was based on surveys of 2,200 chief financial officers from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

Image Credit: seb_ra / Getty Images
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