It can be easy to make the wrong impression on your first day at work. We humans are judgmental beings, and we judge fast.
How fast? When it comes to hiring:
- Recruiters spend six seconds per resume before deciding whether an applicant is a good fit.
- Interviewers “know” within 10 seconds whether a candidate is right for the job.
As a job seeker, if you make it past these 16 grueling seconds of judgment and get hired, you’re still not home free.
No, now it’s time for the next round of judging: your first day of work.
Put your best foot forward by avoiding these nine off-putting behaviors:
1. Showing Up Tired
Fact: fatigue kills your performance and productivity. Don’t give your employer second thoughts on your first day. Get plenty of rest and show up ready to bust your butt.
2. Dressing Inappropriately
People judge books by their covers, wines by their labels, and you by your first-day attire. You should know what the company dress code is by now, so pick a clean, wrinkle-free outfit that reflects it. While you’re at it, make sure you’re hygienically sound.
Being an open book is fine, but tone it down at first. Your new co-workers probably aren’t ready to hear why you were let go from your previous job or that you conceived your 16-year-old son on a first date in high school.
Your parking spot is a mile away, the training for new hires is putting you to sleep, and you’re not that fond of your cubemate. Annoying? Perhaps. Worth mentioning? No. Workplace negativity is toxic and will send your new co-workers running.
Are you there to work or find a date for Friday night? Even if your company is all right with office relationships, jumping into one right away brings your professional brand into question.
Would you rather be labeled “the new guy who’s amazing at sales” or “the new guy who’s dating Jane”? Establish yourself first, then decide whether dating Jane is worth it.
6. Saying ‘No’ To Lunch Invites
As the new face around the office, you’ll be invited by co-workers to lunch, coffee, happy hour, and other events outside of the office. Don’t turn them down. This is how you become part of the company’s family, an important step for both personal and professional growth.
7. Trying To Make Your New Job Like Your Old Job
Organizations have deeply rooted ways of doing things. If you come in and insist others do it your way, it’s not going to go well. I have a good friend who experienced this recently. He works for a company with a fast-paced, startup mentality. A new guy just joined from the slow-moving corporate world (The Land of Red Tape, as I like to call it) and continues to add in the extra steps and checks he’s used to.
It’s fine to make suggestions, but first ask yourself why you’re making them. Do you really see room for improvement or are you just being stubborn in your ways? If it’s the former, go for it; if not, then let go and move on.
8. Forgetting To Say ‘Thank You’
It takes time to train new hires. Even those with years of experience need to learn the nuances of the company and its culture. So thank co-workers who take the time out of their busy day to help you, even if all they did was point you to the nearest restroom.
9. Concealing Your Excitement
Excitement, like negativity, is contagious. The difference is that excitement is a great feeling to catch. It’s easy for long-time employees to lose sight of why their job is so great. Having a new, excited face around the office is an excellent reminder. If you’re that face, people will be drawn to you.
None of this is to say you should lie to your co-workers or not be yourself in front of them. Just be a more tactful, selective version of yourself for a while.
P.S. Sound like too many things to concern yourself with? We agree. That’s why, in addition to recommending the behavior above, we encourage you to be aware of your own judgements and give the next new employee a break.
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