What You Should – and Shouldn’t – Do During Your First 30 Days in a New Job

You’ve just landed that job of your dreams! Now comes the tough part. According to this hiring expert, to succeed you must be proactive. Seek frequent feedback, set sound expectations, and above all else survey your new landscape, often. Read on.

Congratulations – you got the job!

Its great news, but you shouldn’t relax just yet. Your first 30 days in a new role are critical for getting off on the right foot with your new company and cementing the belief that they’ve hired the right person for the job.

You have to learn how to crawl before you can walk or run, regardless of how much experience you bring to the table. Every organization is different, and the first month on the job is really about active observation. Once you have an understanding of what’s going on, you can begin to contribute as you put the pieces together.

Here’s what you should – and shouldn’t – do during your first 30 days in a new role:

Ask Your New Manager for Frequent Feedback

Even if you’ve only been in your new job for a week, it’s important to open up the discussion for feedback as early as possible with your new boss. This works two ways: it allows you to air any concerns with your employer, while also giving them the opportunity to help you improve before you get stuck in any undesirable or unproductive methods.

Starting a feedback dialog with your new manager also allows you to brief each other on preferences regarding meetings, project deliverables, and day-to-day communication. Everyone is different and you don’t necessarily know what another person prefers unless you ask them. Don’t be afraid to take this opportunity to broach the subject of how to deliver bad news – your manager’s preferences may be eye-opening while also helping put you at ease in your new role.

While you’re looking for feedback, ask your manager questions about company culture and what you can do to embrace it. A focus on positive aspects is good but talking about bad behavior (and what won’t be tolerated) can be even more enlightening.

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In my role as an executive recruiter, I’m looking for a candidate to demonstrate two things during these first 30 days: skill and will. A new hire who fails to exhibit these things may need to be reconsidered. Skill equals ability to do the job. Will equals desire to do the job.

 Set Expectations & Agree on Priorities

While you’re meeting with your manager in your first week as a new employee, make sure that you don’t end the discussion before bringing up priorities and expectations.

Ideally, you’ll create a plan for what to focus on in the coming weeks, your first month, and the first quarter. Though things will likely to change, the more granular you can get on deliverables and due dates, the better.

Learn the Lay of the Land

It would be difficult to be a truly great employee without an insider’s understanding of the company you’re working for.

It all starts with proactively seeking information about the company’s mission, vision, history, priorities, and major initiatives. Many of these things can be gleaned from your own research on the company website (and relevant news portals), but there will likely be gaps to fill in. Take the opportunity to get your questions answered while getting to know other employees you’ll be working with.

You should also have a basic understanding of the company’s financials. How do they make money? How are they doing this year? If your company is publicly traded, it will be beneficial to look over the latest financial statements. Of course, the best information will come from within – don’t be afraid to ask for it.

Areas to Investigate

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Though an onboarding process should be considered essential for new hires, not every company takes it as seriously as they should. Here are some additional areas to investigate within your new company to get a lay of the land:

Who does what? What are the key functions? Who are the leaders of those functions? What’s important to them? What are the key responsibilities?

Who is our competition? How many others are there? What’s the market share? On what basis do they compete? Who tries to be the low-cost provider? Who tries to be a high-service company? How do we differentiate ourselves?

What are our key messages? Who are our target customers? How do we acquire customer leads and convert those leads? Advertising? Email? Referrals? How do we keep customers? What are the customers’ concerns, objections, and fears?

The first 30 days likely won’t make or break your tenure in a new job – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be making efforts to put your best foot forward. By establishing an open line of communication with your new boss, setting priorities, and undertaking a deep dive study of your new company, you’ll position yourself as someone worth paying attention to.

Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor

Contributed by Jeff Hyman, chief talent officer of Strong Suit Executive Search, and bestselling author of Recruit Rockstars.

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