The first few weeks in a new job are critical. In this section, we’ll go over how to get off to a good start.
You should understand the company culture, your role and responsibilities, the team you’re working with and its priorities and issues. You should also know your manager’s expectations for your performance during that time and what’s changed since the job description was written (if any).
Do Some Research on Your Role Before You Start
When you start a new job, it’s important to learn about your new role before you begin. Research the company, the team, and the job description. Research the company culture and industry trends. And research your customer base to make sure their needs match the tasks you’ll be doing on a day-to-day basis.
Once you’ve done all this research, it’s time to prepare for your first day on the job!
Research the Company
The first thing you should do is research the company. Every company has an ethos, and if you understand that ethos, you can better assess what they expect from their employees and how they want to be perceived by customers. You can do this by:
- The vision statement/mission statement
- The strategy statement (if any)
- The culture of the organization (what values are important to it?).
- The positioning in the marketplace (what does this company do that others don’t?)
- The story
Have a 360-Degree View of the Company and the Team
When you start a new job, it’s important that you get to know the company and its culture. You should be able to answer these questions:
- What are the company’s set goals?
- What’re the company’s values?
- What’s the company’s vision for the future?
- What’re the goals for the next year or five years?
- What’s the strategy to achieve that goal (e.g., plans to reduce costs and increase revenue)?
Identify the Company’s Priorities
Research the organization’s structure and culture, as well as other factors that affect the way it operates (e.g., whether it’s an ad hoc or formal organization).
Sign up for training at the company! If there is training for your job duties that you can sign up for, ask your supervisor if it’s a good idea to subscribe to them. This will show you’re interested and get you on the right track quickly.
Example: If you start a job in sales and see on the intranet that employees can participate in sales and communications training, check out what’s on the program and whether you think it might help you in your role. If your manager asks you if you’ve any questions about the company and you feel it’s the right time to bring it up, just ask if this training is something they think you should do.
Know What the Company Expects From You
First, understand the company’s goals, vision, mission, and values, as well as its culture and strategy. The better you understand these things, the easier it’ll be for you to integrate into the company and work toward meeting its expectations.
Then find out what the company expects from you. You should also try to be familiar with the challenges your new employer faces so that if there are opportunities to help them overcome those challenges (or even just offer support), you can take advantage of those opportunities accordingly. Of course, you shouldn’t ask your supervisor out of the blue what challenges they’re facing.
Just pay attention to email traffic, conversations, and anything else that’s going on in front of you, but avoid getting involved in gossip between employees. If you find yourself getting caught up in it, just listen, but don’t get too involved.
When you’re just starting out, you don’t yet know who’s who and who gets along with whom. You don’t want to be a troublemaker from day one.
Try to Integrate as Much as Possible
When you start a new job, it’s important to do your best and do what you can.
In your first few months on the job, you’ll be expected to hit the ground running. You may not have all the details in your head yet, but it’s important that you put in the effort and do your best.
Be open to new ideas, willing to learn from others and help them as well. If you’re flexible, you can adapt better than someone who’s not so flexible.
Not only should you be a team player, but you should always know what’s going on around you. If someone asks for something or needs help, you should make sure they get it right away. If you notice a problem, let them know so they can take care of it before it gets worse than it already is.
Don’t Pretend You Know Everything
When you start a new job, the first thing you need to do is be specific about what you don’t know yet. If you’re smart and motivated, there are probably a lot of things that are new to you. Use this opportunity as a chance!
Ask questions, but ask the right people in the right way. Don’t just ask everyone at work, “What do you want me to do?” or “How do we do our jobs here?” because that sounds like you’re trying to get information without doing anything about it yourself (and no one likes that).
Instead, ask your boss what he expects from his employees and how he wants his employees to spend their time; then figure out how you can meet those expectations.
Talk to people who’ve been with the company longer than you (or at least have more experience in your department), and ask them for advice on how to best succeed in the job if you feel you can trust them (observe how they behave toward others first). Beware of those who might try to trap you. New people are usually the new stars when they’re just starting out, and not everyone likes having the attention on someone else. Don’t be paranoid about everyone either, but keep your ears and eyes open before you start talking about your challenges to a colleague.
Take Advantage of Training Opportunities Offered by Management
Work on your first project as soon as possible
While you’re new, you can’t be expected to know everything. But it’s important that you learn quickly – and that means asking questions and being curious about the work. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
But also remember: the first project isn’t necessarily the most important project on your plate (or in your inbox). Make sure what you’re doing is worth your time, and make sure it fits with your overall goals and role in this company. Do the best you can and focus on the result.
I have seen situations when bad management gives the wrong work to new employees and blames them for not providing results.
Ask the Right Questions
Asking the right questions is another important part of getting started. You should ask questions that are relevant to your role and that will help you succeed in your new position. You should also ask questions that are relevant to the outcome you’re expected to deliver.
When I used to work for companies, I always tried to find out if my predecessors made any big mistakes so I could make sure the same mistakes didn’t happen again. Usually, leaders like it when you make sure nothing goes wrong for them.
You should also ask questions about your team and your supervisor. Find out who you need to report to when your supervisor is away.
Take Notes So You Don’t Have to Ask Again
You’ll probably be very busy. Your supervisors and co-workers are also busy, so it’s likely you’ll forget something they said that’s important to you in your day-to-day work. Taking notes during meetings and one-on-one conversations with your supervisor can help ensure that the information isn’t lost or hard to find when you need it later.
Even if your supervisor doesn’t specifically ask you to do it or it’s not in company policy, it’s an easy way to show them that you care about doing a good job – and it can be mutually beneficial!
I’ve had a few people tell me that I don’t have to take notes, and I’ve always replied that I don’t have to ask them twice. They usually appreciate that, and if they insist you don’t take notes, at least they can’t blame you for asking again!
Sometimes it’s hard to focus on the positive, especially when you’re dealing with colleagues who’ve been with the company for a while.
Usually, there are some who criticize anything and everything (ex: the new manager, working relationships, another team member or new employee, and mostly unimportant things for your daily tasks).
It’s hard to avoid them, and it’s easy to get lost in the negative and forget that there are always ways to look at things positively. So if you’re feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, here are a few things I’ve found helpful:
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions of those who’re positive and successful. If something confuses you or you don’t understand how something works, chances are someone else does too – maybe even more than one person! You can try asking your colleagues for help when you need it. By doing so, you’ll not only make their day (and give them a chance to show off their knowledge), but you’ll also clear up the confusion in your head so that everyone can continue working with confidence.
- Don’t worry about saying “I don’t know.” “I’ve made that mistake”! Remember, as a newbie, no one is judging you yet and you aren’t expected to know everything. I always tell my team that there are no stupid questions, and there really aren’t. Everyone functions differently, and a good leader understands that. If you’re in a place where questions aren’t tolerated, you should think about applying to other jobs, just in case, this one goes wrong over time.
Find a Mentor
One of the most important things you can do when starting a new job is to find a mentor. A mentor is someone who’s the skills and experience you need and is willing to share their knowledge with you. He or she should also listen to your concerns and answer any questions that come up during your job search. A good mentor will help you manage your career path in a way that benefits both parties.
A good mentor can take you far, even after you leave the company. Sometimes he or she’ll even recommend you to another company or give you great career advice if you work with your mentor long enough to trust each other.
Mentors can also be great role models, not only when it comes to career progression, but also when it comes to work-life balance. Working with a mentor can be exhausting, but a good mentor can help you better identify your career goal and figure out how to handle a difficult task.
Congratulations on Your New Role!
Now that we’ve gone over the priorities when starting a new job, I want to congratulate you on your new role. First, you’re no longer in the job seekers’ world, and second, you’ve proven yourself in your job search and successfully passed the interview process and background check from human resources.
Getting a good job offer these days that fits your long-term goals takes a lot of talent, and I suspect that if you’re reading this article, you’ve probably found a job that will help you with your long-term career goals.
If you haven’t found a job yet, reading this is still a good sign. It means that you’re looking into it while job hunting, not everyone looks beyond the job search process. Knowing about priorities before getting a new job can help you in your interview process and when with a hiring manager.
I hope the above was helpful. I’m not a career coach, this is only what I’ve observed from my personal experience and observation. Every person and every business is different, so my best advice is to follow your gut and talk to the successful people you trust.