Starting a New Job: Some Tips for Early Success
The Wall Street Journal article titled "Why Companies Aren't Getting the Employees They Need" published 10/24/11 made the point that there has been a steep fall off in companies training employees. Companies expect employees to "walk in the door" being able to handle their responsibilities; so it's critical that new hires be able to get themselves up to speed quickly; and establish early credibility with their new company and new boss.
I’ve been a financial consultant for ten years; and my job is to go to other companies (mostly Fortune 500) and provide whatever accounting or financial resources they need. I have to “hit the ground running” in whatever situation I find myself because my firm bills hourly for my time, so I don’t normally have the luxury of a slow ramp-up period. Clients want results as soon as I walk in the door.
This background has given me some insight into what new employees can do to help be effective on their first day. We all know the cliché “you don’t get a second chance at a first impression.” This is never truer than in the “new boss, new employee” dynamic. If you impress your boss at the start, you’ll be coming from a position of strength as you move forward; so when you ultimately do make a mistake – in your boss’s eyes, the mistake will be the exception. On the other hand, if you turn in a string of sub par work in the beginning; your boss is now going to accept all your work wondering “where’s the mistake?”
So, here are your tips to getting that critical, strong start with your new boss.
Make sure you’re clear from your boss on what you need to do.
As obvious as this sounds, make sure you’re clear on what needs to be done, and how the boss likes it. Ask them where to get the information, who to see, and make sure you’re clear on when it’s due and what priority level it is. If the job has been done in the past, do it the same way. If it’s a new project, share your plan of attack with your boss to make sure your method is sound, or give your boss a “mock up” of what the finished product will look like to make sure he gets what he wants. It’s much better to learn you’re not doing something right early on than to spend hours, days, or weeks on something and find out at the end you weren’t on the right page.