Your new job

Settling into your new job quickly and comfortably is very important. During the interview process you will have met at least one person or, at best, a small number of people from the organisation you are now joining. You have impresses them and they feel confident that you are the right person for the position. However, it is unlikely that you will have met the staff who will be working for you or many of your peer group.

All that we said about making the right first impression applies here. You will be meeting people for the first time who may be concerned about their new boss or colleague. They will be assessing you and drawing their own conclusions about what sort of person you are and how they are going to get on with you. How can you make the move into your new job as smooth as possible?

Before you start, gain as much information about your new employer, the market and your job as you can. You could ask the company to provide you with reference material before you join. You can research more in the reference library and add to the information gained at your interview. You can ask your network contacts for information and any insights into the company and the people you will be working with. Be as well prepared as possible with background knowledge.

You know more about the company now, so dress and behave appropriately. In your first few days, spend time listening and evaluating. If possible, arrange an opportunity to introduce yourself to your department. Keep it brief, smile genuinely, tell them how much you are looking forward to working with them and ask for time to find your feet and for their help and support. Try to spend a little time with everyone over the first month. Don’t jump to conclusions or put people into pigeon holes. While first impressions are powerful, they do not always stand the test of time, so give yourself time to get to know everybody.

Do not be too action oriented. You may do something that you will regret later. Both your staff and your boss should give you breathing space to settle in.

Talk to your boss, your peers and staff about how they see things. What are the issues and the problems? What are the goals to be achieved? What do people think of you taking over? Was there any internal candidate for the position and how does he or she feel about you? Is there a consensus view?

Your first weeks with the organisation are unique. You have the opportunity to view the company as an outsider and you can take an unbiased look at what is going on. The longer you are with a company, the less you are able to do this. Make notes so that you can refer to them at a later date.

Spend as much time as possible with your boss. Be clear about what is expected of you. Confirm the job description and how he or she expects you both to work together. Identify the long and short term goals and how you will be expected to contribute to their achievement.

Understand the structure of the organisation and who does what. Identify the formal and informal lines of communication. Build a picture of the culture and values of the organisation. Do they fit what you have been told and seen in company literature? Get a feel for company politics and how the grapevine works.

Identify the key players and those with in-depth knowledge of the company and its products. They can be useful in increasing your knowledge and providing answers quickly when you are stuck.

Be friendly, diplomatic and enthusiastic. Establish your responsibilities and your level of authority. If in doubt, check with your boss. Be clear about induction training and how often you will meet your boss in the first few weeks. Identify your key tasks for the first few months and plan them into your schedule.

Most important, be yourself and live the vision that you have created for yourself. It is a new start and an opportunity to have things the way you want them. If you work long hours in the first few months to impress this will be expected of you for ever after. Any attempt later on your part to reduce them may give rise to concern. Create a powerful first impress and one that you will be happy to live with while you are in the company.