Your first day at work is exciting but pressured at the same time. In this post, we will be looking at making a good impression, setting the tone and getting orientated in your new surroundings.
Leave half an hour earlier to get to work on time
Whatever time you’re told to start work on your first day, build in some buffer time for any transport delays or hiccups even if you’ve already done a practice run.
You can always grab a cappuccino and calm your nerves by going for a walk around the building if you’re too early. The main aim is not to be late through the door – being punctual leaves a great first impression and shows management you’re keen to work.
Take a notebook and pen with you at every opportunity
Listening and learning about your new role and the company culture is your top priority in your first day and weeks in a new job. People will understand that you can’t possibly take everything in at once and will expect you to ask questions.
Jotting down people’s names, their emails and room numbers/locations, your tasks, and any questions you might have for Human Resources or your boss is one way to orientate yourself and will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.
Walk around and get to know your environment
If you had an orientation tour, you were probably told the location of the toilets, copier and coffee machine. Spend some time walking around. It’s a practical way of getting adjusted to your new surroundings.
Asking colleagues to point you in the right direction is a good conversation starter. You could introduce yourself to your co-workers while making a hot drink.
Introduce yourself to colleagues with a smile
You’ll endear yourself to colleagues and make a good impression if you show an interest in them and their role in the organisation in a relaxed and friendly way.
Even better, why not offer to help a co-worker if you can see that they need a helping hand? Then they’ll know from the start that you’re proactive and enthusiastic.
If you’re offered lunch or a drink in the pub, take it
Save those sandwiches you made in the morning or forgo that quiet walk in the park if lunch is offered. It’s an opportunity to get to know your boss and informally socialise with the team. However, if your boss isn’t there, make sure you get back to your desk within your allotted lunch time.
If you’re invited out in the evening, show your personality but be careful not to drink too much – you’ve got another day at work tomorrow!
Questions to ask HR when starting a new job
The employee handbook will give you a lot of information but it may still leave questions unanswered. These questions for HR are a good place to start.
What time should I report for work and where should I go?
Before you start work, you’ll need to know the time you’re expected to enter the building and whether you should go straight to Human Resources or tell your boss you’ve arrived. If You’re driving, you should also ask HR where you could park.
How do I get into the building?
In many office buildings, you need to pass through reception and sometimes security gates to get into your workplace. Your boss or HR may give you keys, a password or a key/ID pass to get into the building, although you may have to sign in at reception on your first day.
What documents do I need to bring with me?
As well as your P45 if you have worked before, HR will also ask you for your National Insurance number and passport or other proof that you’re a UK resident, such as a bank statement. It’s better to have too many forms of identification with you than too few.
Does the company have a dress code?
You’ll need to know about the company’s policy towards appearance if it has one, and whether you need to bring anything with you or leave it at home. If you work in healthcare, for example, you might be told not to wear jewellery at work. If you’re going to work in construction, they may ask you to wear steel-toed boots.
How long will I have for lunch?
It’s an important question if your employer wants you to keep your energy up! As well as how long you can expect to have for lunch, you’ll also want to know whether you have to take it at a particular time or between certain hours.
Smart questions to ask your new boss
You’re new to the job, so your boss will be expecting intelligent questions from you. This section gives you some great questions to get you off to a good start.
How was your weekend?
Everyone likes to chat about their weekend. It’s not something you’d say on a Wednesday perhaps. But if you start work on a Monday it’s a legitimate conversation opener and will make your boss feel that you’re interested in them and care about people as much as the job.
Is there anything I can do to support you today?
You may have only just started in the job but that doesn’t mean you can’t take some of the load off your boss’s shoulders. They’ll probably want you to do your orientation first and meet HR before giving you any work to do, but it doesn’t do any harm to show you’re willing to help.
What’s the best way to communicate with you?
Your boss may prefer an email or a call or their door may always be open. Asking this question shows you’re thoughtful about them, which is a plus. You can also ask them how best to communicate with your colleagues in other teams while you’re on the subject.
Do you have any goals for me or the team this month?
Most bosses have an idea of their team’s goals and will have thought about how you will fit in. If not, asking the question shows them that your priorities are in the right place and you’re focused and ready for action.
How often should I update you on my work?
You’ll impress your boss by asking this question, as it shows you’re planning ahead and looking at ways you can make their life easier. As a new member of staff, and until you’re settled in, they may want you to send in an update more regularly than your colleagues.
Questions to ask when meeting new colleagues
Talking to your new colleagues is about more than breaking the ice and showing that you’re friendly. Your questions should be a mix of small talk and positive work-related questions that help you to settle into your new job.
What do you do in the company?
Asking your co-workers about their roles will help you to find out more about the department as well as what they do. It will give you a more solid understanding of their job than their title. It will also pave the way for your next question.
What are you working on right now – can I help?
Asking this question is a great way to show you’re engaged and willing to support your colleagues from the off. It will also give you insight into the project they are working on.
If it’s obvious that your colleague is under pressure, don’t miss off the “Can I help?” part of the question. They may not want to explain their project when they’re busy unless there’s a possibility you might take some of the burden away from them.
Do you want to grab a cuppa?
It’s an opportunity to start a conversation and connect with them. You can then ask them other questions about their life inside and outside work.
Would you mind telling me what it’s like working with [client]?
If you’re going to be working with a client, it’s always useful to know your co-workers’ experiences with them – good or bad. It shows that you value their thoughts on the subject.
If they say the client is challenging, you could then ask about how they manage them – showing that you have a proactive approach to work.