How to Survive the First Weeks on the Job

Recruiting Raya is introducing a new, bi-weekly series called Ask a Recruiter. In these blog posts, we’ll give our readers insider advice about the topics you’re most interested in. We’ll feature an interview with one of AKRAYA’s experienced recruiters to give job seekers the info they want – straight from a recruiter’s mouth. You want answers? We’ve got them.

It’s day one of your first day on the new job. You’re a bit nervous – and rightfully so. During the first few weeks there is a critical window in which you must impress upon your coworkers that you are the right person for the job, fit in well with company culture and are a team player… all without stepping on anyone’s toes.

This week we asked Deepika Y, one of our most knowledgeable recruiters. Deepika has been recruiting for Akraya for 5 years and specializes in the Java skill set in the Silicon Valley. Deepika knows the inside scoop on the latest hiring trends, and can help you find that ideal IT position.

We all want to go from “The New Guy” to “The Go-To Guy”. How do you recommend establishing credibility with co-workers?
“No one expects you to start building an empire on day one. When you first join a company, your managers will already be in a certain mindset. You’re new and trying to orient yourself, so they’ll expect only so much from you. Remember, the first few weeks is a transition period for everyone, so just meet the expectations instead of focusing on trying to exceed them right away. Get a feel for the environment. Learn exactly what you’ll be expected to do. Do that, and you will automatically build your credibility. Organic growth is always the best way to go.”

When we’re new on the job, we all want to prove our worth. Should we focus on small wins initially, or aim to be an All Star right away?
“Let me tell you a story. A few years back, when one of my consultants first joined his team, the company was not able to provide him with a laptop right away. A first day on the new job is stressful enough without a huge mixup like that, right? Instead of just sitting idle, he tried his best to set up his personal laptop, configuring the VPN and other necessary programs with the help of tech support. He was up and running in less than a day without any major help. Needless to say, his manager was quite impressed with the initiative that he took. His actions showed he was an independent person who simply hurdles over any roadblocks in his way instead of stopping at them. That’s a classic example of a small win that made a big, lasting impression.”

What about arrival times? Do you think it’s always better to get there early and stay late?
“This can vary. In some companies, people come at 10:00am and stay until 7:00pm. In other companies you look like a slacker if you aren’t there at 7:30am sharp. I would say for the first week or so, it’s a safe plan to be there about 25 minutes before the bulk of the employees arrive. Yet on the other hand, you don’t want to be there too early and set expectations that you’re unable to maintain. That’s like digging your own grave, so be reasonable about it.”

How should one go about making friends, especially if they are naturally on the quieter side? Should they mix in with the office gossip, or should they stay clear?
“The best advice is to just be a bit nicer than you might usually be in an effort to present a positive image. However, if someone is talking about your boss or other coworkers and invites you to join in on the gossip, do not entertain it. Insert some neutral, noninflammatory comment and gently ease your way out of the conversation. When you’re new, you don’t have a good idea of everyone’s personalities and there could be some ulterior motives involved.”

We all have our set office routines. I know I need my morning coffee before being approached by anyone in the morning. How do recommend mixing in with the office culture?
“You might have to step out of your comfort zone on this one. If it’s a part of your new job’s culture to have lunch as a big group, go for it. It’s a bad idea to say something like, ‘No thanks, I was just going to eat at my desk and work through.’ If a bunch of folks go out for afternoon coffee, tag along and treat the group! It’s the little group outings and chats in the breakroom that go the furthest in helping to make you a part of the team.”

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