Career Advice Career Doctor

Rocking your first day at a new job

Starting a new job brings the excitement of a fresh opportunity, coupled with the nerves of being the newcomer. Elaine Lam — Managing Director, Robert Half Hong Kong, looks at how to put your best foot forward and make a great impression from day one.

Nail the introduction speech

As a new employee you may be asked to introduce yourself to the rest of your team in an informal meeting. This can be an unnerving experience, so it’s worth taking a moment before you start the new job, to think through what you will say about yourself.

Consider how you’d like to come across to your new colleagues, and style your speech around the environment you’re transitioning into — whether it’s relaxed or formal.

Introduce yourself by your name and job title, briefly explain where you previously worked, and describe what you’re most looking forward to in your new role. Add a personal touch by outlining your hobbies and interests. Make your speech short, keep the tone positive, and definitely avoid any negative comments about your former employer.

Master the meet and greet

A first day in a new job can be a blur of faces, names and job titles as you are introduced to new colleagues. A useful way to remember your coworkers, and put a name to a face more quickly, is by asking HR for an organisation chart or seating plan if it’s not already provided in your welcome pack.

When meeting colleagues for the first time, be aware of your body language — it can say a lot about you, and a poor first impression can be hard to shake off. Opt for a friendly handshake, and maintain open body language so that you come across as receptive and approachable. Avoid crossing your arms or putting your hands on your hips — this can give the impression of shutting people out.

Embrace the induction process

Considerable effort will have gone into the design of your induction program, which will aim to help you integrate into your new role sooner. At Robert Half we recommend making the most of everything the induction program offers by being an active participant: Ask questions, take notes, complete any training exercises and absorb as much knowledge as possible. This will help you get up to speed sooner, and showcase the skills and talents that made you the successful candidate for the role.

Triple check your work

As the newest recruit, it is especially important to work extra hard and ensure everything you do is of the highest possible standard. Triple check your work to pick up any errors. Mistakes will happen, but ensuring your work is consistently of a high standard, will help you create a great impression and cultivate a reputation as a high achiever.

It’s only natural that some errors may be made as you come to grips with company policy and procedures. If this happens, you’ll gain the respect of your team and manager by acknowledging any mishaps immediately. Make a point of understanding where you went wrong, what you need to do to fix the error, and how you can avoid slip-ups in the future.

Cultivate relationships

Building positive working relationships with your new coworkers can help you be a more effective team member. Accepting invitations to lunch for instance, can help you form connections and give you a better idea of the office culture. Avoid getting drawn into office politics or workplace gossip. Instead, focus on maintaining a positive outlook and a can-do attitude — this will help you become accepted as a valuable team member.

Importantly, use the first few days in your new job to get to know your manager. Aim to understand how they operate as a leader, their approach to the business and how they strive for excellence. These observations can help you forge a highly productive partnership.

The first few days and weeks in your new job will see your company invest considerable training in you, and you do not get that time again. Use it wisely and make it count. The early days in a new role can go a long way to helping you settle in sooner and achieve your career goals.