Starting a New Job? Here Are 6 Ways to Get Off on the Right Foot
When in doubt, don’t shy away from asking questions.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Starting a new job is as exciting as it is overwhelming. In your first few weeks, you will be memorizing a lot of names and asking a lot of questions. But you can set yourself up for success and impress your boss by harnessing your excitement and soaking up new information like a sponge.
These six entrepreneurs share what new employees did that made them feel confident they made the right hire. Step one: Show up on time and ready to learn.
Make sure to set an alarm for your first day; you don't want to be running into the office 10 minutes late. Cynthia Johnson, co-founder and CEO of digital marketing agency Bell + Ivy, knows that being on time is the best way to show that you're ready to get down to business.
"It sounds simple but works immensely, especially when so many people are casual about when they arrive for work," she says. "Being prompt and ready to work makes a huge difference."
Blair Thomas, co-founder of high-risk merchant account provider eMerchantBroker, appreciates a new hire who comes prepared to learn. There's no such thing as a stupid question -- especially when asking thoughtful questions about your role and the company helps you pick things up more quickly.
"When a new employee comes to the office with questions, I know they have done their homework," says Thomas. "Taking the initiative to come up with questions shows that you not only looked deeper into the company, but you want to master the job you just landed and likely have goals beyond your current position."
"A new job brings a barrage of information," says Ryan Wilson, founder and CEO of digital marketing company FiveFifty. Keeping pen and paper handy to record anything you may need to refer back to makes it easier to absorb all the information that is being thrown your way.
"Writing things down for future reference is one of the best ways I've witnessed new hires own their onboarding process. It's important to ask the right questions, but it's equally important to keep the answers handy," he says. "That kind of person clearly feels responsible for their own success, which is good news for everyone."
Learn everyone's job.
If you treat your new job as a one-man show, you won't gain a deeper understanding of the business -- or how to do your own job well. That's why Anthony DiFiore, president and owner of celebrity management and e-commerce solution Neverland Events & Artist Management Corp., likes to see employees breaking down silos.
"The most successful new team members are those who invest in learning how other departments work and how to perform the everyday tasks of their coworkers," he says. "Those who complain that a task is not in their job description don't climb the ladder, whereas an employee who understands the mechanics of the entire business is indispensable."
Take initiative to improve processes.
Alex Fedorov, co-founder of boutique web design firm Fresh Tilled Soil, LLC, appreciates that a fresh set of eyes can offer a new perspective on how to improve the business. Even though it may be intimidating, don't hesitate to speak up if you notice a change that would make processes run more smoothly.
"The biggest success stories I've seen are cases where a new hire listens and asks questions and then offers suggestions to better processes or outputs," says Fedorov. "We had a pretty lousy employee onboarding process. We brought on an operations/HR person who went through it, documented everything she wished it was and immediately implemented it as a policy. The next few hires were impressed with how comprehensive the process was."
Don't be afraid to show your enthusiasm.
"We made a full-time offer to an intern, and he accepted the offer with an elaborate (and very entertaining) PowerPoint game show," says Kevin Bretthauer, co-founder of fuel tracker app FuelCloud. While a game show presentation may not be your style, it doesn't hurt to show how excited you are about the opportunity.
"Besides being a lot of fun for us, the PowerPoint showed us how enthusiastic he was about the team and the offer, and it got him off on the right foot," he says. "When a new team member isn't afraid to express themselves and their enthusiasm, we're more excited to work with them."