Got the dream SuccessFactors contract? Great company, great position? Make sure your first couple of weeks really count and give a great impression. Remember most companies re-hire and once you’re known as that exceptional asset to the team the likelihood is they will extend the contract or at least remember your name for the next round of hiring.
Be alert and responsive
Being ‘on it’ is vital. Reply promptly to emails even if you have to say you don’t know or that you can’t answer a question now. Give people timescales and keep to them. It is so much better to say “I don’t have that information at the moment but I will at 4pm and I’ll get straight back to you” than just ignoring the email until 4pm. Answer your phone, even if you are busy working. You like to be kept in the frame, so does everyone else!
It’s a difficult balance to achieve when you first start. You don’t know the business well enough to start making changes to the systems, but on the other hand you have been brought in for your expertise. You need to demonstrate that you are a problem solver and that you show initiative but realise when it is best to ask. If there’s an issue, work out some possible solutions before going to your manager. Don’t make assumptions in those first couple of weeks – you don’t know the situation well enough.
Bond with colleagues
For some people their colleagues are a chief social group, others would rather keep work and home separate. In your first few weeks it’s important to engage on a social level with colleagues. You don’t need to go on an all-night bender with the team (probably best not to!) but a coffee break with a colleague or a quick beer after work can break the ice and develop a stronger working team. It’s also nice to ask a few key questions in an informal environment – a great way to learn the subtler aspects of the project, the relationships and the organisation.
Avoid dentist’s appointments and the like in the first couple of weeks. We’ve all had colleagues who appear to have other commitments all the time – children’s sports day, furniture delivery, blood test etc. It doesn’t make a good impression in the first weeks. If you are too ill to work and risk spreading germs to your colleagues, stay at home – unfortunate but unavoidable. Any avoidable absence should be postponed.
Your job may not require you to be sat at a desk ready to go at 9am but your timekeeping will, in all likelihood, be monitored in the first couple of weeks. Ensure you are where you are expected to be all the time. Any whiff of persistent lateness will convey a lack of commitment. Don’t leave on the dot either. You don’t need to work into the night (unless, of course, it is required and agreed) but you shouldn’t look too keen to flee the building.
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