You’ve been successful in your job search, made it through the job interviews, and now you’re looking forward to your first day at work. Congratulations on making it this far! You obviously put in considerable effort to outshine competing applicants and convince your new employer that you’re the best candidate for the job. Now your job is to reassure them that they made the right decision. Don’t worry! In this article, we offer our top twelve tips on how to start a new job well, no matter whether you’re office-based or working remotely.
How to Start a New Job Well
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. To get this far, it’s likely you’ve made a good impression on your manager and probably HR. Now, your first few days on the job will be about fitting in with the rest of your team.
1 – Be Prepared
You would have already done your research on your new employer throughout the interview process. However, it’s good to refresh your knowledge of the company again before you start. If you haven’t already, check out their social media feeds to find out what the company have been up to. The information you glean here may also give you hints and tips on how to start a new job well.
Your new employer will usually contact you before your start date to let you know what to expect on the first day. If you haven’t heard from them a couple of days before your start date, it’s wise to give them a call to make sure they’re expecting you. Alternatively, if you applied via a recruitment consultant, they will be your best port of call.
The vital pieces of information you will need to know include the following, but you may also have a few of your own:
- What time do you start?
- Is there anything your new manager would like you to prepare for your first day?
- What is the dress code?
- If you’re on site:
- Who do you report to?
- Will you have an allocated parking space? If not, where should you park?
- Will you need a pass to access the building? If so, where do you get this from?
- Do you need to bring anything with you?
- Are there any hygiene rules you must adhere to in the building?
- If you’re working remotely:
- Where do you get your tech kit from?
- Is there a specific system you need to log in to by a particular time?
- What are your login details?
Your new employer will likely send your contract to you in the post ahead of your start date. Along with it, they may ask you to bring some documentation with you on your first day. Typically, employers expect to see the following items:
- Photographic ID, such as driving licence or passport
- Two proofs of address, for which you could take utility bills, a bank statement or your driving licence, providing you’re not using it for your photo ID
- UK visa (if applicable)
- P45 from your previous job
- If your previous employer has not yet processed your P45, something with your national insurance number on it. Such as a payslip, P60 or letter from HMRC
You should also take a pen and paper with you so you can take lots of notes on your first day. You’re not superhuman and won’t remember every single detail. Although, taking lots of notes throughout your first day allows you to review them in your own time until they sink in.
2 – Show Up on Time
If you work in the office, plan your route in advance and allow extra time for sitting in traffic. Bear in mind that travelling time, according to Google Maps, won’t be the same on Monday morning as it is on Sunday evening.
When working remotely, obviously, you don’t need to take traffic into account. However, it’s good to familiarise yourself with your new tech spec and iron out any issues with your setup. It’s a good idea to log in ten or so minutes early. This way, you can check your emails or Slack messages before you start.
3 – Take Care with What You Wear
Many workplaces have a smart casual or even casual dress code these days. That said, even if you work for the most casual employer and you’re home-based, be sure to present yourself well.
By that, we mean clean, ironed clothing with no rips and save the pyjamas under your pillow until bedtime. Have a shower and brush your teeth before you’re due to log in. Nobody can smell you on a video call, but it will help make you feel more alert.
Even if you’re working remotely, you never know when your manager will want a quick chat over Zoom. Always be prepared for a surprise meeting!
4 – Make an Effort to Meet People
Meeting people is easy if you’re office-based but can be challenging when you work from home. Nevertheless, bonding with your team is an essential part of fitting in.
Your manager will probably arrange a team meeting to introduce you to your colleagues. It’s also a good idea to book time in your teammates’ diaries to make a more personal introduction with individuals.
Try to remember the names of anyone you meet. When you’re meeting many people in a short space of time, this can be easier said than done. Names can be particularly tricky to commit to memory when you’re not meeting them in person. Nonetheless, people appreciate it when you can remember their names, and it will make your job more manageable if you can.
If you do forget someone’s name after being introduced to them, own up as soon as possible. ‘Hey, I’m so sorry, you’ll have to excuse me; I’ve had a lot to take in, and I’ve completely forgotten your name! Could you please remind me?’ Will sound more acceptable in your first few days than after a few weeks on the job.
5 – Pay Attention
As well as your colleagues’ names, you will have lots of other information to remember on your first day at work. You will likely have an induction, where you will learn about internal policy and company culture. There may also be on the job training, which will give you an overview of your role.
Despite the overwhelming amount of information, you must pay attention to anything existing staff give you and make lots of notes.
6 – Ask Questions
You will likely have lots of questions when starting a new job. From finding your way around – physically or virtually – how to perform unfamiliar tasks to specifics about the company culture. There may also be things you’re struggling to remember or don’t understand. So don’t be afraid to ask questions; nobody expects you to be an expert on day one.
Asking questions when you first start a new job is perfectly acceptable. In fact, not asking questions is not just OK, but expected. Managers often worry about new employees who don’t ask questions because it could mean they’re struggling but too afraid to speak up. Staying silent can cause more significant issues further down the line, so don’t be scared to ask questions in the early days of a new job.
Conversely, people who ask lots of questions when starting a new job usually go on to outperform those who don’t.
7 – Prioritise
While asking questions is essential, prioritise who you want to ask, what and when. For example, let’s say you’re halfway through your first day in the office, and nobody has shown you around. By that point, you’re probably dying to know where the bathroom is! That’s a need to know right now. Similarly, if you’re working from home and can’t get a piece of tech to work, that’s a question you need answering right away.
On the other hand, queries about your first marketing strategy meeting are not so important on the first day. What’s more, questions of this nature are probably best to ask in a 1:1 review meeting with your manager.
You should also be mindful of who you direct your questions to. For example, someone with 20 years of experience is likely to be more knowledgeable than someone who started two weeks ago.
Write down anything that comes into your head, and be sure to direct the right question to the right person at the appropriate time.
8 – Manage Your Time Wisely
When you’re working in the office, you will find you fall into a natural rhythm of checking your emails before work, grabbing a coffee on your way to the 9.30 scrum meeting etc.… How to stay productive while you work from home is not always so obvious. If you’re unsure, ask your team for advice on how they prioritise their day.
9 – Use Positive Body Language
Career coaches often focus on body language when giving interviews and career advice. That’s because our body language gives away so much about us that we don’t want to share.
For example, when we are nervous, we tend to avoid making eye contact with the person we’re talking to. Your team may misinterpret this as a lack of interest in your new role.
It’s almost impossible to keep your body language in check all the time. However, a few habits are good to get into if you want to appear more confident and approachable.
- Stand up straight
- Make eye contact with whoever you’re speaking to
- Don’t fidget
- Keep your hands out of your pockets
- Have a clear desk at all times
- Work on your handshake or other more hygienic greetings
10 – Steer Clear of Office Politics
Every workplace has its popular characters and cliques. As a newbie, it’s wise to observe office politics from a distance rather than getting involved in an attempt to fit in.
As a rule, if someone is doing something unsafe, unethical or against company policy, discuss it with your line manager. Besides that, your only job as a newcomer is learning your job and getting on with it.
11 – Stick to Your Personal Brand
Your personal brand is something you would have worked on throughout the interview process, whether you were conscious of it or not. You might have made an effort to be polite, well mannered, dressed to impress, demonstrated good organisation skills. Whatever image you presented to your employer, there’s no doubt that was one of the reasons they hired you. Therefore, one of the biggest tips we have to offer on how to start a new job well is just to keep displaying the same character traits.
12 – Relax
A relaxed mind absorbs information more readily than one that is stressed and uptight. Remember, this is the job you wanted and worked so hard to get. Now that you’re here, you can relax and enjoy it!
A Few Final Thoughts on How to Start a New Job Well
Candidates often ask us how to start a new job well. During the application stage, we always advise candidates to be themselves throughout the interview process. Anyone who follows that advice should have no problem settling into a new role. That said, we all have personal qualities we would like to improve upon, and a new job gives us the perfect opportunity to get into better habits.
The above list might look like a lot to think about, but they are all things that we know from experience that managers like to see in new starters. Some will come to you more naturally than others. So instead of trying to remember all of the above all of the time, focus on areas you know you know are your weak spots.
After reading this article we hope you have a better idea of how to start a new job well. If you found it useful, please share it on social media, where others can benefit from it too.