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Classic faux pas on starting a new role

On starting a new role, making the right first impressions can be vital. So, here we look at some things you might want to avoid doing in your first few days and weeks in the new job.

Being late on the first day. You should already have a good idea of how long your commute to work is likely to take when you choose to accept the role. Employers generally understand that there will occasionally be delays to your journey, but it’s much more awkward if you have to ring and tell them you’re running late for your first day. Consider allowing extra time for your first day commute.

Not knowing who you should ask for on arrival at reception. Will it be enough to simply state ‘I’m starting work here today’, or do you need to give the name of your boss or a human resources representative on arrival?

Misjudging the dress code. If in doubt, dress more smartly than you think you might need to, as turning up looking scruffier than everyone else will not be a good start. If you find you are too smart, then you can change your work outfit accordingly for your second day. 

Forgetting something you were asked to bring. If your new employer asks you to bring any documents or information with you on the first day, make sure you remember them. You may for example be asked to bring your passport, NI number, bank account details, P45 and qualification certificates.

Breaching informal office procedures. There may be all manner of things your new company expects from its staff day-to-day, such as: leaving your desk tidy at the end of the day, locking your PC when you leave your desk, clearing up your own mess in the communal kitchen, making sure any smoking breaks are taken in the designated spaces. If you’re in any doubt as to the company’s expectations in these areas, ask before you start doing the wrong thing.

Always talking about how your last company did things, or otherwise querying company practices. Different companies inevitably carry out similar tasks in very different ways. However, it can come across as arrogant if you give the impression that your last company’s methods were better. If you are employed in a compliance, audit or other quality control role, then it is quite likely that, at some stage, you will be required to give your views on how your new company does things. Here though it is much better to keep your opinions to yourself during your initial induction, and wait until you have had a chance to talk to your boss before giving your opinion on the way your new company does things.

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