OK, so now you’ve actually started the job. Look around you. You are embarking on a seemingly endless series of first impressions – and those can have a lasting impact on your career at your new company.
People are making snap judgments about you:
- Will you make my job easier, more difficult, or are you irrelevant to me?
- Will you help me with my challenges?
- Are you my competition?
- Are you a potential superstar, or just the average employee?
Once made, those impressions are very hard to undo, so go about making the best ones you can upfront. In fact, one of the first impressions people will have of you is beyond your control – the memo or email your boss sends out announcing your hire, or what he or she says about you in advance of you getting a chance to meet those people. And what message does it send to people if no announcement is made, and you are basically a surprise on your first day?
This provides another reason to reach out to your boss in advance of your start date, as I mentioned in the previous entry. Perhaps you can influence what is sent out, or even whether something is sent out – and at the very least you could get a copy of the announcement.
So what do you want to do to make strong impressions?
Think of this as your chance to go out on a series of mini-interviews. Yes, I know, you thought you were done with interviews when you landed this job! But here the intent is a bit different.
When you are interviewing prior to landing the job, it is never in the company’s best interest to air all of their dirty laundry. After all, if you are a good candidate, they want to attract you! That doesn’t mean they are actively trying to hide things from you, just that they aren’t going to make a point of telling you every detail of the negative side of things.
Now that you’re an insider, that dirty laundry can be aired. Your job is now to uncover it so it doesn’t trip you up later. Make a plan to:
- Find out who all the key people are with whom you will need to interact in your new job.
- Set up 1-on-1 meetings with each of them over the first weeks on the job.
- Dig deep into their own challenges, particularly how they relate to anything you might get involved with, or have the option to get involved with.
- Build rapport, and figure out ways to help them with their challenges, even if it’s just by being a sympathetic ear.
This will at least get you started on the road to creating the best first impressions you can…