Once upon a time, it was fairly common for employees to start working for a company directly after high school or college and remain with that employer for the rest of their career. That type of career longevity is virtually unheard of these days. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the typical millennial holds six different jobs just between the ages of 18 and 26.
The more jobs you have, the more first days at a new workplace you’ll have to navigate. Starting a new job is a chance to start fresh with a brand-new group of colleagues. It’s an opportunity to build on the skills you learned at your last job and develop additional areas of expertise.
But before you become a full-fledged member of the team, you’ll have to establish relationships and build trust, and the way you handle your introduction to the company can either leave a great first impression — or build barriers you’ll struggle to overcome later. In this slideshow, Dominique Jones, vice president of human resources at Halogen Software, a leader in talent management, has identified five mistakes to avoid so you can start off on the right foot at your new job.
Dominique is Halogen Software’s vice president of human resources and has over 15 years experience in the talent management industry both in Europe and North America.Using her extensive industry experience across the retail, manufacturing, financial services, consulting and professional services sectors, Dominique is focused on providing practical insights that help HR positively impact business performance. Prior to joining Halogen Software, Dominique was most recently a regional vice president with a global talent management consulting firm. Dominique holds an M.A. Honours degree from St. Andrews University in Scotland, as well as the Institute of Personnel and Development (IPD) certification from the United Kingdom. Dominique spends her free time with family on their farm, tending her horses and rescued donkeys.
Five Rookie Mistakes to Avoid
Click through for five rookie mistakes new hires should avoid when beginning a new job, as identified by Dominique Jones, vice president of human resources at Halogen Software.
Failing to Ask Questions
Sometimes employees are so excited about taking on their new role and impressing their supervisor that they are reluctant to ask questions. Don’t fall into that trap — it’s essential to ask questions so you’re clear about your responsibilities and get the information you need to perform tasks correctly. If you fail to ask questions now, you can set yourself up for even bigger mistakes later. So don’t be afraid to ask everything from what high-priority projects you should work on first, to how to start an IT ticket or operate the breakroom espresso machine. People expect new employees to have questions, so it won’t be perceived as a sign of weakness; rather it’s a signal that you’re proactively learning all you can about your new job and workplace environment.
Not Paying Attention in Orientation
When you’re starting a new job, it can be tempting to breeze through the preliminaries so you can dive right into your new role, but it’s important to be attentive during orientation and truly focus on the information and training you receive in that period. The orientation program can give you vital information about your new company’s culture and its competitive position in the marketplace, information you’ll need to maximize your contribution to its overall success. Orientation is also typically when you receive critical contact information that can help you resolve technical issues and understand how to navigate the operations of the company, so pay attention — it’s a great sign that you are engaged.
Avoiding Opportunities to Connect with Colleagues and Managers
New employees occasionally get so caught up in doing their jobs that they don’t take the time to meet with team members and managers across the organization. That’s a missed opportunity because colleagues and supervisors can be a terrific resource when you’re trying to navigate a new company culture and understand who is in charge of which functions so you can get assistance when you need it. If meeting coworkers isn’t a formal part of your on-boarding process, ask your manager for insight on who you should meet with and when. It’s also a great idea to meet with your manager to set goals and discuss how best to integrate with the team.
Being a ‘Know-It-All’
As the new guy or girl in the office, you may want show that you are confident and competent. But walking in on the first day and thinking you have it all figured out can come across as cocky and condescending to your team members. Jumping right in with suggestions about “better” ways to do something can end up making you look foolish since you are basing ideas on incomplete information. You may have some great ideas, but when you start in a new position, it’s advisable to spend the first few weeks familiarizing yourself with the organization. Consider offering your ideas for improvement once you have a good understanding of how things work and why current methods are used. Framing your feedback as a suggestion rather than criticism can also make your coworkers more receptive.
Criticizing Your Former Employer
While this may seem like a no-brainer, things you might think are harmless gossip can reflect negatively on you. You may be asked about your past work by new coworkers, but it’s important to remember that what you say is not only a reflection on your past boss but also on you. Complaining about your previous employer can flag you as unprofessional and disloyal. Keep the conversation professional and focus the discussion on the length of time you spent at your previous job, what your responsibilities were and what skills you learned that can help your new company. While office politics and gossip are a part of any workplace, keeping it professional makes a good first impression.