Burnett Specialists recruiter offers six ways to avoid new-hire pitfalls in HBJ October 2013 articleCareer Tips , On the Job Tips
We've all been the new employee at some point and understand that the first few months on the job are the most critical, but new hires may not always know how to avoid common pitfalls.
The first 90 days is a period in which new employees should learn about the company culture, said Marla Barnard, human resource specialist and direct hire recruiter at Houston-based Burnett Specialists.
Although the first few days and weeks on the job are filled with questions of who does what in the office, Barnard said there are several approaches to stand out in a positive way:
Dress for success. Business casual doesn't mean sloppy, Barnard said, so dress for the job you want to be in one day.
Disconnect from your cell phone. Barnard advises against new hires placing their cell phones on the desk. Put it on vibrate, put it in a drawer and don't check emails or texts.
Ask the right questions. Think (and ask) about things that can add value to the company instead of complaining. "Someone at my husband's company came in and asked when they were getting new coffee and asked about the types of pens they were using," Barnard said. "People wanted to know why he was worried about coffee and pens. Why wasn't he asking about the software or processes?"
Don't get caught up in office gossip. Barnard said to walk away from such discussions. In addition, conversations about personal life or situations are not in good taste. "You don't know those people," she said. "You never know when someone is going to be your boss. Companies can move around in a lot of different ways and a lot of changes can be made in a year or six months."
Go above and beyond. Volunteer for work projects, participate in lunch and learn events or any other special training offered through the company. Barnard said she also recommends asking about mentor programs at work.
Communication is key. Double and triple check outgoing emails. "In a new environment, you only get so many chances to make a good impression," Barnard said. "If you send an email and you have grammatical or spelling errors, that leaves a really bad impression."