No one expects you to know everything on your first day—or your first month!—on the job. But that doesn’t mean you can’t impress your new employer and co-workers even while you’re still figuring things out.
So, if not expertise, what exactly do employers want to see from new hires on day one? To find out, we asked a panel of 15 successful entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council, "What’s one thing you expect all new hires to start doing on their first day of work to ensure their long-term success?" Here's what they had to say.
1. Get an Early Win
Consider ways you can build momentum right away. Try to identify an immediate contribution you can make to the team. People who do this generate a positive perception and tell me we have a long-term winner within the company.
2. Bring One Big Idea
Don’t be worried about getting your boss coffee or ordering the team lunch accurately. Instead, propose an audacious new idea to improve the business every week. Bring these ideas to your boss or (even better) post them publicly, and offer to lead a team to execute the new idea. Compliance isn't scarce. Leadership and initiative are.
3. Get to Know People
If you sit at your desk for the first few days and spend little time interacting with other people in the company, it’ll take longer to figure out how to navigate the office and find answers to questions. Walk around, eat lunch in the kitchen, and ask people what they do, what they work on, and what gets them excited about being here every day.
4. Put in the Extra Hours
The first thing we notice about new employees is the time that they clock out—mentally or physically. If we notice that someone is out the door by 5 PM, we know the type of person we will get. If we see the person makes the extra effort and time to learn more about what we are teaching and stays a bit later, we know this is the person we want.
5. Make Jokes
We are very proactive in evaluating the cultural fit of candidates for full-time positions. By the time we’ve actually hired someone, we expect that he or she knows our current staff well enough to start cracking jokes and having fun from day one. If you aren't comfortable enough to laugh a little, that’s a sign of a problem.
6. Express Curiosity
On the first day, work to identify all of your internal customers, introduce yourself, and schedule time with those customers to interview them on a broad range of subjects. Be curious, thoughtful, and open.
7. Understand the Vision
To ensure long-term success, understand the long-term vision of the company on day one. Asking questions to fellow team members about strategy and key performance indicators is critical to getting acquainted on the first day. As you master the long-term vision, you'll be able to ensure that your day-to-day work aligns well.
8. Be a Sponge
Before you try to change the game, you must first learn how to play it. Rather than worrying about socializing or making an impression, focus on learning how the organization and the people within it operate. First learn, then do, then teach.
9. Remember Everyone's Name
My main goal for a new team member is to have him or her remember everyone's name. Nothing helps a new team member more than walking in on day two and saying, "Hey John." It instantly builds credibility and relationships with the team.
10. Research at Home
There are a lot of things that need to be learned on the job, but some things can be learned by reading and researching at home. When a new hire asks me what he or she should be reading to get up to speed, I know that person is devoted to adding value from day one.
11. Understand Everyone's Roles
It's critical to understand how you fit into the larger organization and what each part of the company actually does. It will help ensure that your team works more effectively and that information is communicated to the right area of your organization.
12. Ask Lots of Questions
It says a lot when a new hire comes to work with a long list of questions, inquiries, or comments that demonstrate not only his or her understanding of the job and the expectations of the position, but also a projection of where he or she is capable of taking the company.
13. Organize and Prioritize Work
The first thing I expect new hires to do is organize and prioritize their work responsibilities. This is important because it gives direction and determines the priority based on the deadlines and importance of each task. It can be overwhelming when you are in charge of executing multiple tasks, but creating a to-do list can help you focus and accomplish more.
14. Interact With Others
Show that you aren't shy and that you want to be part of the team. Introduce yourself to people who work near you, and make sure you meet some new people each day. Your long-term success, as well as the company's, depends on the team, and you need to become part of that as soon as you can.
15. Have Energy
One way to ensure a bad start is to show a lack of enthusiasm on your first day. Show people you want to be there. Give them no doubt from the start that you are committed to the team and your role.
Photo courtesy of George Doyle / Stockbyte / Thinkstock and Shutterstock.
TopicsNew Jobs , Changing Jobs , Startups , Syndication , First day , Career Advice , Getting Started
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.More from this Author