Finding a new job can be time-consuming and it can take months before you find that perfect role that suits your interests and you eventually secure.
The stress and anxiety leading up to that point is jubilantly released when you receive your letter of offer and resign from your position. Celebrate good times, come on! Many people have limited time off before starting their new role, and before they know it, they are the new kid on the block with lots to learn. That old friend, Self-Doubt, appears and we start to question our choices on leaving the safety (and boredom or discontent) of our old job for all the uncertainty of the new role. As a recruitment consultant, I catch up with candidates that I have placed within their first month and almost all of them talk about this uncertainty. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
It is commonly said that the first 90 days of employment are the most critical for both employee and employer. Both are forming their first impressions of each other and negative opinions can be hard to shift if formed early on. This topic is discussed by Michael D. Watkins in his book The First 90 Days.
Here are 5 great tips inspired by Watkins and my years of recruitment experience to help you in your first 90 days of a new role.
1. Invest time in getting to know your peers and leaders.
The saying ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ holds some value here. It is easy to be focused on the technical side of a new job and to forget the importance of getting to know those around you. In the first three months of your role, people will subconsciously form an opinion of who you are and how you will fit into the company and the team. This is the time to build relationships as it will allow you to be more successful in your role and increase the flow of information you may need to complete the technical side of your role. Offer to shout someone a coffee, invite someone to lunch, and say yes to the invitation to join others for drinks or eat lunch in the kitchen. If all else fails, take muffins into the office as an excuse to walk around and introduce yourself to others.
2. Nail the little things.
In your last role, you may have had some flexibility to arrive late, dress slightly less corporate or have a longer lunch. When starting a new role, you need to build that trust and demonstrate the highest standards as people will building a profile of you. Always be on time, always pay attention to your attire, be friendly to everyone, don’t ask for too much time off, make sure you meet every deadline and don’t be that person that never puts their dishes in the dishwasher and leaves them in the sink!
3. Take time before you change the world.
In your eagerness to impress, it can be easy to want to start your new job with lots of new ideas and suggestions for improvement. A big tip is to keep these close to your chest for the first three months. Take some time to be an observer and to find out how things are currently done. Demonstrate your eagerness to learn and your appreciation for how things are currently done. This will allow you to build relationships and will not isolate you from your new colleagues or your team due to them feeling judged or unheard.
4. Take time to understand your manager and be proactive.
Managers come in all shapes and sizes. We would all love to have the perfect boss; however, this is not always the case. Trying to change them is a battle you are likely to lose. You either have to work out how to work with them or move on. If they have not arranged a time to meet, approach them about it. Go prepared with questions and ask them what their expectations are and how regularly they would like you to check in with them. Take the time to try to get to know their idiosyncrasies and how you will best be able to work with them.
5. Stay positive and be kind to yourself.
When I first started my current role, it took me three months before I felt I was being my natural self and was an accepted part of the team. When I have mentioned this to my colleagues, they are shocked that I felt that way because they had felt that I settled in immediately. Be aware that others are likely to not notice how nervous and uncertain you are feeling. We are often much harder on ourselves than others can ever be. Stay positive, even after a bad day. Tomorrow is a new day and before you know it, the dreaded 90 days will be over and you will be well on your way to being a seasoned member of the team.