How to Enjoy a Successful First Day at Your New Job
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July 2019, by Lidia Griss
Candidates
3-minute read

A new job, a new team, a new environment – on your first day at work, you’ll likely feel a combination of anticipation, nerves and eagerness. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of it and benefit from the experience.

You’ve passed all the screening tests. You’ve signed the contract. Now, the first day in your career’s next chapter is fast approaching. How can you get off to a good start? What kind of attitude should you adopt? Lidia Griss, Talent Acquisition Specialist, takes a practical – and reassuring – view of the matter.  

“The most important thing is to be yourself, keep an open mind and be willing to listen. It’s completely normal to be slightly intimidated on your first day. All change involves feeling uncomfortable for a time, but that will pass.”  


Be people-focused

Generally speaking, the first day is a time for introductions. You’ll meet your new co-workers. Show them you’re happy to be there, stay flexible and be receptive. It’s important to maintain the positive image which – along with your abilities – got you the job.

In terms of dress code, your visits to the company for the interview and to sign the contract should give you some idea of what to wear. When in doubt, err on the side of caution. On your first day, the key is to abide by four basic principles:  

  • arrive on time
  • dress and speak appropriately
  • pay attention to what people tell you
  • show your eagerness 

 

At some companies, the first day also includes information sessions or briefings on safety regulations. These on-boarding activities often involve several new hires and may provide an opportunity to meet future colleagues from other departments. Take advantage by getting to know them.

Concentrate on practical matters

Briefly introduce yourself and listen to what your new colleagues have to say. Answer questions, but don’t get too personal. Keep the discussion general and practical (e.g., how to get office supplies, whether the kitchen has a microwave). Technical or strategic questions can wait until later.

“If you’re reserved like I am, the first day offers an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone. It’s a good idea to ask questions about your colleagues’ work background. For introverted people, a good tip is to focus the attention on others.” 


On the first day, most teams will take the newbie out to lunch so everyone can get to know each other better. That means there’s no need to bring your lunch. If it doesn’t look like a team lunch is going to happen, you can always ask where to grab a bite nearby.

Observe and take notes if needed

If your colleagues are otherwise engaged, which could happen if an unexpected situation arises or there’s an urgent request from a client, use your free time to read up on the company and familiarize yourself with its procedures.

You could also propose observing a colleague on the job for a short time.

“Shadowing is a good way to understand how the company works while remaining unobtrusive. The best advice I can give about shadowing is simply to listen, listen, listen. You’re there to acquire new knowledge, not to demonstrate your own.”

 

At the end of the day, don’t hesitate to ask a few questions about things you missed or that require further explanation.
You might also consider observing various colleagues in work situations. This will expose you to different working methods and help you determine the best one for you. 

There’s a lot of information to take in during your first day. If things don’t go the way you’d hoped, don’t get discouraged. One day is not nearly enough to get a proper idea of what your role in the company will be.

“In conclusion, the goal during your first few days on the job is to learn. You need to be realistic and understand that you won’t be able to master your new duties in one week. Have faith in yourself and recognize that it will take some time to become independent and effective.”

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