Hit the ground running

Articles five people round desk

You aced the interview and managed to snare your dream job in accountancy but now it’s showtime on your first day in the office. So how to you go about ensuring you hit the ground running?

The best place to start is by going over your original research about the firm, especially if there’s been a long period between the interview and your start date. ‘Look for updates on the firm’s website, check out their social media pages and see if they have been mentioned in any online news,’ advises James Brent, business director at Hays Accountancy & Finance.

A firm’s website often has a ‘meet the team’ section that will help you find out about your new colleagues. You might find there’s also a company LinkedIn page, so use it to see what career background they may have.

Questions, questions

‘You then want to find out what challenges you are likely to face in your new role,’ says Brent. ‘You may have already asked questions in your interview but, if you turn up on your first day inquisitive and ready to go, your new employer will be even more impressed.’ He suggests asking about the current focus of the team you’ll be working in, what the current business objectives are, or what the main challenges the business is currently facing are.

And then establish what your own objectives or KPIs are for your probationary period so you know how your progress will be measured, adds Brent. ‘Highlight any concerns to your manager and make them aware of any further training you feel you need to fulfil your role,’ he says. ‘You should ensure that you are fully aware of what good performance looks and feels like in your new job, so you can aspire to achieve it. This will ensure that both you and your new manager know when to celebrate success but, equally as important, where you need to improve.’

Check out the key people

Like many areas of life, things can go a lot smoother if you know the right people, so try to find out about the key people in the firm. ‘These are the people who may make decisions about your future,’ says John Lees, a careers expert and transition coach. ‘Spot the people who can make your job easier or can make it hell. If procedures seem odd or flawed, run with them temporarily, as you don’t inadvertently want to make life enemies now. But seek out information brokers – the people who know how the machine works – but also identify future work partners.’

This will all take a bit of work on your part, so don’t just rely on the round of introductions that will probably happen on day one. ‘Try to join colleagues for lunch, seize opportunities to visit other departments or branches,’ urges Lees. ‘And, when introduced to new colleagues, don’t just smile and nod – show interest in their jobs and problems. Ask open questions about the way you can support what they do.’

This article was first published in the August 2019 edition of Student Accountant magazine

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