||Starting A Job on The Right Foot
By Nick Corcodilos
You've got a great new job. Now what? How do you parlay the wonderful impression you created in your interviews into success
during the first few weeks on your new job? Here's the key: don't wait for the company to "assimilate" you. It's up to
you to establish yourself as a valuable employee as quickly as possible.
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Get adopted by
someone on your new team, so you can learn quickly the ins and
outs of how the work is done. Having a mentor is crucial. This
gives you someone to bounce your ideas off of, someone to ask for
guidance and someone who can introduce you to others in the
Pick the team member who
seems to be the informal leader and express your interest in his
(or her) work. Don't be a pest, but ask questions. No matter how
good you are at your work, what matters most in the first few
months is how well you are accepted. The credibility you build
among your co-workers will support your efforts to do a good job.
The key to initial success is people: become part of the team.
Jump in and start doing the job. If you've tried other Ask The
Headhunter suggestions you already know that "doing the job
in the interview" is critical in winning an offer. You must
carry this approach into the job itself. Don't wait to be given
work to do.
Find work, do it, then go to your manager and ask him to grade
you. I call that a pre-emptive employee review. The
earlier you know what your boss thinks of your work, the sooner
you can learn how to score high on the boss's measuring stick, and
the sooner you will establish a reputation for wanting to
Many new hires expect that new ideas they bring with them are just
what the company needs, and they often go overboard in acting like
a breath of fresh air. While it's good to jump right in and
participate, it's important to respect the culture and social
structure of the team. Earn your way in by helping, not by taking
responsibility for solving problems.
Everyone wants a "win" when starting a new job, because
it's a good way to score points with the boss and the rest of the
team. In fact, there's a better way to stand out: become "the
fixer". Identify the problems your predecessor left in his
wake, take ownership of them and solve them. This may not seem
very glamorous, but it's a great way to get noticed while
accomplishing something important. And, there's little downside.
Almost anything you do to "fix" existing problems will
be regarded as improvements.
When I joined a company
early in my career, I devoted the first few weeks to getting to
know everyone. I was head of a sales team for a company that had
several locations, and our customers were spread all over. I spent
half of each day getting to know people at my own location and
half locked in my office calling everyone else, including our
I wanted to learn firsthand how others -- including internal
people and our customers -- regarded my team. I wanted to give
them all a chance to complain, and many of them did. This gave me
a great opportunity to learn, and it showed them that I was now
taking personal responsibility for any problems they were facing
that my company was causing.
The reaction was very positive. Everyone was willing to give
the new guy a chance to "do the right thing". As I
solved each problem I learned more about the operations of the
company. Each person I dealt with immediately got to know me as
the guy who fixes things. It got me off on the right foot because
I quickly met the important people in my company and among my
Ultimately, the way to succeed at a new job is to make
everyone's life a bit easier by doing your job well. To accomplish
that, you must mix it up with your team and your customers, figure
out where the challenges lie, tackle the problems and get the job
done. This may sound trite and obvious, but few people actively
dive into a job. Instead, they wait to be assigned work, and they
seek to avoid causing problems rather than solving them.
Winning a great new job is exciting. Creating your own
initiative quickly will help pave the way to your success.
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