You wowed them with your CV, impressed them at your interview and have been offered the job. Now you can relax, right?
Wrong. Starting a new job can, in its own way, be just as important as the interview process – at the very least, for the first few days, all eyes will be on you.
So it’s vitally important not to make any heinous errors in your first few days or weeks on the job – or you may find that one minor indiscretion is remembered for the rest of your time with that employer, however long or short that time may be.
For a start, you’ll do yourself absolutely no favours if you turn up late for your first day in your new job, whatever your excuse.
Rolling up 20 minutes late looks like you aren’t taking your new job seriously – and it will be remembered. And complaining that you didn’t realise how long the journey to work would take just won’t wash – presumably, if you got the job, you weren’t late for the interview!
If you described yourself as a team player on your CV, it makes sense to put in the same hours as everybody else. Also, when the end of your working day arrives, don’t just down tools and walk out, especially if nobody else does. Just hang back and see what the company culture is – and don’t be the first to go home.
Some people need no excuse to moan about their job and workplace and most of us do at some time or another – but complaining on your first day is just no good.
However strong the temptation to moan about that uncomfortable chair, the colleague sitting next to you with a personal hygiene problem or the air conditioning that’s so loud you have to shout to be heard, don’t. You’ll immediately be marked out as a whinger.
Another great first day faux pas is getting people’s names wrong. This isn’t so bad if you forget the names of your colleagues, because that’s hardly surprising when you have to deal with so many new faces, but if you get the names of the people who interviewed you wrong, they will wonder if you care about the job at all.
And even if you really don’t care about the job, it’s generally wise to keep quiet about it.
Getting into an argument on your first day is another sure-fire way of getting noticed for all the wrong reasons – and possibly the quickest route back onto the streets.
If you ridicule the business plan or call your boss a rude name you may be right, but you’ve just started there, they haven’t invested any time in you or got to know you, so they will have no qualms about showing you the door.
Even on your first day it’s likely that you’ll hit it off with some of your co-workers – but don’t get too friendly.
It can be easy to get carried away in conversation and start exchanging gossip, swearing like a trooper or even bitching about other colleagues, but don’t – if you talk too freely, no one will trust you before long, and if you talk too much, those who hired you will notice.
Also, never chat anyone up on your first day – you’ll look like a sexual harassment case in the making, and never fall asleep, no matter how dull your job is. But most important of all, don’t forget what you put on your CV, especially if you fibbed about something fundamental – like your age – to get in. Don’t go spouting your real age – or anything that may give it away – because you’ll only be undermining your own credibility.