The first 90 days in a new job can be stressful. Use this expert advice to smooth the transition while making a strong first impression

Source: The Enterprisers Project – You never get a second chance to make a first impression, as the saying goes. And while a misstep on the first day is understandable and surmountable, it’s the first few months in a new role that tend to matter most. “First impressions are important in most situations in life,” says Charley Betzig, managing director at technology executive search firm Heller Search Associates, “and this is no different when you start a new job.

This is your time to “subtly and directly impress upon your subordinates, peers and managers that you are the right person for the job.

Those first 90 days are when you demonstrate your priorities, establish that you understand why your employer hired you, and lay the foundation for the relationships you will need to success. Most importantly, this is your time to “subtly and directly impress upon your subordinates, peers and managers that you are the right person for the job,” says Lisa Rangel, former recruiter and managing director of Chameleon Resumes.

It can be a time for skilled adaptation and negotiation. “Ideally, the first 90 days are important for two reasons: Building human relationships and negotiating between new employee skill sets and the needs of the organization,” says Dr. James Stanger, chief technology evangelist for CompTIA. “That negotiation is critical and involves adjustments on both sides.”

A new wrinkle: The hybrid work model

That can be challenging when physical face-to-face time is minimal or non-existent in the remote or hybrid work environment. “With colleagues or yourself or both out of the office in a remote/hybrid setting, getting spontaneous time with colleagues at all levels is tough, witnessing behavior among co-workers is near impossible, and understanding the power dynamic that you can’t witness is challenging at best,” Rangel says.

What’s more, most IT hires are in such high demand that the compulsion to hit the ground running can be intense. “Not only are you learning your new company’s culture, values, and overall structure in the first 90 days, you also carry the weight of holding a role that generally comes with a sense of urgency. IT professionals feel extreme pressure to get ‘up to speed’ in their roles faster than ever before,” says Maddie Harris, talent acquisition recruiter at security and privacy compliance assessor Schellman & Company.

8 tips to make the most of the first 90 days

Following are eight tips for creating the space to understand your new environment while also producing some early wins to wow your new employer.

1. Build your intra-network

“Avoid being a wallflower,” Rangel says. “Don’t wait for people to come to you or to learn you were hired.” Instead, make yourself diplomatically and humbly known. One of the best ways to expand your network is by asking for suggestions or introductions. “After every conversation at the beginning of your tenure, ask your colleague who else you should be speaking to within the organization,” says Rangel. “Ask who they find most helpful and resourceful and network purposefully within your company.”

2. Take advantage of newbie status

“When walking into a new job you have a fresh perspective that you will never be able to replicate,” say Tony Zorc, author of Iconoclasm: A Survival Guide in the Post-Pandemic Economy. Use that power for good: finding out how the organization operates and why.

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