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

Starting a New Job? Don't Wait to Make a Good Impression
Credit: Vinnstock/Shutterstock

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 percent of executives saying new employees have less than three months to prove their worth, according to a recent study from the staffing firm Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

Less than 10 percent of employers give new hires up to a year to show their value. Just 4 percent 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."

After starting, it is important for new employees to quickly meet as many people throughout the organization as they can. [See Related Story: 5 Scientific Ways to Make a Good First Impression ]

"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 offers 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 and do things the way your new employer likes.
  • Ask for help. You want 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, you want to observe the company's corporate culture and act accordingly. In addition, you don't want to start things off by asking 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 is 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 to them helping you again in the future.
  • Don't be a loner. You want to be known as part of the team and not just the new guy or girl. Try inviting co-workers to lunch or out for coffee to both get to know them on a personal level and 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.

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.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.