Creating the right impression on your first day
The first day you start a new job can be a mix of excitement and nerves. Like in the interview, it is essential that you make a good first impression with your new manager and your team.
How you act in your job sets the tone for the relationships you will build at work, especially in the first few days, as it will typically involve meeting new faces and learning new names. These will be people that you will likely be working with on a day-to-day basis, so it is important that you make the effort to set the right tone.
'Make sure you have a restful weekend and a good night’s sleep before your first day and eat a healthy breakfast prior to heading into the office,' says Phil Sheridan, managing director at Robert Half UK. 'It may sound simple, but feeling refreshed and energised will help you begin your new job at your best.
'On your first day, you will be meeting your new team and colleagues within the business. When you are introduced, act with enthusiasm by smiling and shaking their hands. Your introduction should typically go beyond "Hi, I’m Mike", so have some points to hand that you can share with your new acquaintances. Take the initiative to build a rapport with your new colleagues and learn about their roles with interact with your own.'
Prepare by asking questions before you to start, to help familiarise yourself with relevant company or project information. The more you know about the role and the company before you start, the better off you will be. You also want to ask your boss insightful questions on the day, stick to business subjects.
Within your first couple of days, look to meet with your manager to discuss your responsibilities and how your position fits into the overall business objectives. Consider asking about the immediate priorities that need to be addressed, how you should provide project updates and how your performance will be evaluated.
What you wear on your first day can impact how you feel and the impression you make on your co-workers. If your company doesn’t have a formal dress code, take cues from your manager. It’s better to be safe rather than sorry, so dress a step above what you think is expected of you.
Sheridan adds: 'Pay attention to unwritten company rules and adopt them as your own. Consider arriving 30 minutes early and leaving half an hour late on your first day or two to get a sense of how many others in your department do the same. This will give you a chance to note whether your co-workers and manager are fielding calls or emails from home, as well as the prevailing communication styles and dress code.'
Karen Young, director at Hays Accountancy and Finance, adds: 'You only get one chance to make a first impression, so it needs to be the right one. Remembering people’s names is also a good way to help build rapport with your new colleagues.
'If you are working in an open plan office, noting down a floor plan with who is who after you are introduced is a good way to settle in quickly. Everyone likes to be remembered and the sooner you build a trusted new internal network, the easier it will be to settle into the team and get included.'
Five top tips to help you make a positive impression
1. Start your day right
2. Act with enthusiasm
3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
4. Look the part
5. Assess the corporate culture
Source: Robert Half UK