How to survive the first hundred days in a job

Eager beaver or time server: find out how to make the first hundred days in a new job work for you

What can I do to best prepare myself?

Do your homework on the company by checking out relevant information sources such as the corporate website, company reports, industry and trade publications and online resources. 

Include social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube where the company could well have a presence. 

Many organisations post 'day in the life' or 'what it's like to work here' videos on YouTube which can give an insight into real-life at the company and its culture. 

Minimise distractions in the first week so you can focus on the job: decide what you are wearing on the first day if not the entire week; plan your commute and factor in extra time just in case; and avoid booking lots of social events in the first week so you aren't burning the candle at both ends.  

How do I get the most from the induction process? 

Many people see induction as a mere formality they have to get through but it should be viewed as an opportunity to find out everything you need to know to do your job effectively. So approach it seriously and ask plenty of questions. If you have any concerns about conditions raise them politely. 

The first few days in a job can be frustrating as far as setting up email accounts, passwords and similar, so be patient.

 Above all, bear in mind that what you do in the induction is not representative of what you'll do in your position so keep an open mind and don't pre-judge the situation. 

How do I make the best impression? 

Arrive early on day one and ensure you are prompt and punctual thereafter. #

Demonstrate a willingness to learn and a positive attitude at all times. 

Be amenable to those around you and observe any protocols. 

Work on building a solid relationship with your manager and start by making sure you are crystal clear on what is expected of you. 

Elicit feedback on your work regularly and use every opportunity to demonstrate your potential. 

Demonstrate that you are prepared to go the extra mile and volunteer for projects or tasks that are above and beyond your remit. 

Perseverance is key says Emma Altman, training consultant at Maven Training, and while over-delivering won't get you promoted overnight, it will begin to build a sturdy reputation. 

"Over time, this will help put the individual in the frame for future development and career opportunities," she says.  

What do new starts often overlook? 

Remember you are there to deliver a service to your employer. Altman says new starts need to make a key distinction between time and effort. 

"Employees are not being paid to just turn up and spend 37-, 40- or 48 hours at work – the company has effectively bought an employee's time and efforts," she says, adding that this "business transaction" aspect of a job is often overlooked.

 Duncan Verry, strategic development director at HR consulting group Penna, adds that new starts can often struggle to prioritise, especially if they fail to understand the wider landscape of the organisation and the implications of their work. 

"Aligning and prioritising work with key objectives is far more effective than spending time doing non-urgent and unimportant tasks," he says.

What shall I do if it isn't working out? 

Request a meeting with your manager as soon as possible, rather than letting things fester, as your disenchantment will quickly manifest itself and others will notice. 

"It is professional and mature to at least have a conversation with your manager explaining the differences from your original expectation, job description or from anything within the hiring process," says Verry. 

"A good manager, in turn, should be able to honestly articulate the reasons why and what can be done. The first step should not be to seek an immediate exit or other job."  

Altman adds that you should find out if the job can be shaped and that this is often a way to improve a position that turns out to be more junior that you initially thought. She advises that if a job elsewhere seems appealing, assess why and explore the possibility of incorporating some of the duties into your current role. 

"Otherwise, ask your employer if it would be possible to move into that type of role," she says. "If, after considering the above, it's clear the job still isn’t right, it’s important to weigh up the risks of handing in a notice now, or whether a new job should be found first. Either way, make sure that a job has been given a fair chance.

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