So – you have landed the dream job. You have negotiated the salary you want, you have told your friends and family about your job – everything is ready. Except – how do you start a job? What is the etiquette? How do you make sure you will give the right impression and get on with your new colleagues. Below are a few pointers that might help – though they will only go so far, the rest is down to your winning personality…
People are cheap and easy to buy off – buy cake for your first day!
Homemade works well, but if you buy, get the good stuff. Bring a selection to hit different groups and make sure there is something for those with allergies (fruit is a good idea as it works well for those on a diet too!). Point out that you made an effort to cater for everyone – the gluten free/dairy free people will appreciate the additional effort. This is a really obvious and cheap way of buying affection – but it works. Almost everyone likes cake. If you don’t know what your office is like, how many people there are, or existing cake etiquette, then leave cake until the second or third day. This can then be badged as ‘thanks for making me feel so welcome’ cake.
If they go out, joining them is a great way to become part of the team.
Dress is important
This isn’t always the case, but remember that you are likely to be introduced to people of all levels in your first few weeks and the impression that you make may impact your future. I was taught to dress for where you want to be, not where you are. This means that my dress tends to be more formal than that of others on my level. That said, some of my friends who are in creative jobs feel that a shirt and tie are redundant and everyone they work with is in jeans and a t shirt. Be appropriate, be comfortable and see what the culture is of the organisation.
Sort out your handshake
If you have not had much experience of shaking hands, you should learn. There are whole books written on this simple act and how you do it says a lot about you. There are lots of guides out there – try this one for a start.
Use a note book
Write everything down, they don’t want to have to tell you twice.
Timing is everything
On your first day, you will be given an arrival time. The person who is meeting you chose that time to fit in with their day, so don’t arrive too early, and certainly never be late! Make sure you have their contact details to hand, especially their name to ask for them at reception. With regards to going home – unless you are told or you urgently have to leave, I would advise against being the first to leave. There will be reading and all sorts of activities for you to do. Plus, you will find that many of the influential people will stay late – this provides a good opportunity to do some networking.