There’s a lot of pressure that comes with starting a new job. Aside from learning new systems (and, inevitably, having to remember everyone’s name), there’s also that underlying urge to impress. After all, it’s important to show your boss that he or she made the right decision in hiring you.
The question is, how can you stand out without being over the top?
To get some ideas, we asked 10 entrepreneurs from YEC to share one thing a new hire did to impress them in the first few weeks on the job. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Get a Head Start
A new employee once arrived on his first day of work having already completed the first week’s training material, which we’d sent out with his offer letter. He had also familiarized himself with the tool we were using. Getting the introductory work out of the way on his own allowed him to really dive right in.
2. Take Initiative
A new hire created new financial spreadsheets with different margin assumptions across multiple business channels. And when I say a spreadsheet, I’m talking about the mother of all spreadsheets. The new hire saw an opportunity and took the initiative to solve a problem and improve something she thought could be better. To this day, we still use it, and it’s become the go-to for financial modeling.
3. Shadow Other Teams
One thing a new hire did that really impressed me was shadowing every department in the office. It demonstrated that he had a genuine interest in not just his silo, but in understanding the big picture and how the whole business operates, which helps in finding opportunities for improvement and collaboration between all the different units.
4. Make Great Suggestions for Improvement
We recently hired a young guy to run our operations. He’d worked for Lockheed Martin previously, and we knew he was detail-oriented. On his first two days, we walked through the business, and I told him to assume we were doing things incorrectly. On day three, he drew out our entire business and highlighted the biggest pain points, laying out changes he wanted to implement. He was right on!
5. Find Ways to Increase Efficiency
With a fast-growing company like ours, there’s always an opportunity to create a business process or increase efficiency. In the recent hire’s first week, he developed a tool that allows managers to see resource utilization for each project and availability across multiple teams, which improved our bottom line by 15%. It wasn’t his task, but he saw a pain point and took initiative.
6. Ask the Right Questions
Not only did she do her homework on the company, offering up details from our history and suggestions for how we could improve certain aspects of our marketing and product rollout (while maintaining a politeness), but she asked the right questions. I was blown away when a new hire made it her mission to see what solutions had been tried before so she don’t retread.
7. Loop Your Network In
I was very impressed when one of our new hires inquired about sending out a company e-blast to her personal network to announce her arrival. Not only was this a great way to let her network know she had changed jobs, but it also added a few hundred new contacts to our startup’s database. Although this employee didn’t work in business development, her great idea helped us secure new customers.
8. Admit What You Don’t Know
I appreciate new employees who read our press and know the website cover-to-cover. That’s awesome. However, when a new employee is willing to say, ‘I don’t know,’ that takes guts. This person wants to give me, the boss, affirmation that I hired the best candidate. I don’t expect a new hire to know all the answers. A new person willing to admit he or she is still growing is a gift to any company.
9. Get to Know Your New Boss
Executives often walk into an office where nobody will look them in the eye and actually say something. It can be scary, but a ‘good morning’ and ‘enjoy your evening’ every day to the people you work with (regardless of their role) goes a long way. I’m always impressed by employees who come into the job on the first day and make an effort to talk to everyone around them, including their bosses.
10. Act as an Owner
‘Founder’ is an attitude, not a title. One of our new hires at a previous startup distinguished himself right away by looking beyond his role and responsibilities and made an impact all over the company, particularly in ways that improved the productivity and effectiveness of others. It’s no surprise to me that he ended up leaving a few years later to start his own successful startup.
Photo of people working courtesy of Shutterstock.