How to Make a Good First Impression
So, you’ve got the job. You obviously made a great first impression on the people interviewing you, but how do you make a good impression when you turn up for day one at your new job?
We asked two HR experts, Lucy Boomer, the People and Culture Advisor for Greenpeace New Zealand, and Becca Harvey, the People and Capability Manager at the Fred Hollows Foundation, for their tips on making a good impression on your first day at work.
#1. Be yourself
“Firstly be yourself, day one is about learning, talking to people, starting to understand what everyone does. Most of all it is about being yourself, being who you actually are. You’ve been hired for the role because you have the right skills, because you were the best candidate for the job. Be that person, be part of the team.” says Lucy.
Lucy also says walking into a new place of work also provides an opportunity to “get a vibe of the place, and allow you to create the impression that you’re also one of them. Especially if you’re going to be in a management position, it means not going in with all guns blazing. Establish good relationships and give respect to others. Establish that vibe of being genuine without trying too hard.”
Becca echoes these comments and also notes: “You were hired because of how you presented at the interview, who you told us you were… When people start their new role and it turns out they aren’t really ‘like that’ at all, that can be a pain. People are hired because of how we think they will fit into the new environment. Be yourself!”
It is only natural you will be nervous and apprehensive on your first day. “But relish the fact that you were picked for the role. Get in there and have fun with it.” says Lucy.
#2 Ask questions
“Don’t assume things, ask lots and lots of questions,” says Becca. “Even though you’ll usually have been given an induction of some kind, having been bombarded with information you can’t possibly remember everything, so don’t be afraid to ask again. It’s also a good idea, and something I prefer to see at the interview stage, if new employees ask a few questions to get a lie of the land, and an idea of their work environment. Aspects such as car parking, public transport, dress code, culture, job hierarchy, and the facilities present in the workplace indicate someone more likely to get on from the get go.”
Likewise, Lucy reiterates, “New people (and old) should never be afraid to ask questions, especially as there are no stupid ones. Not-for-profit organisations often operate as ‘one big family’, so getting to know everyone’s name extends this attitude. Try to remember something distinctive about them, the department they’re in. Writing down their names can be useful. Sometimes organisations will have organisational charts (with pictures if you’re lucky), so you can use this to jot their names and notes down.”
#3. Keep an open mind
“Showing that you have a willingness to learn and get stuck in, and are open-minded to the information that’s being thrown at you is also a good thing,” says Lucy. “Especially at the beginning, you probably shouldn’t be too disagreeable. It’s more about asking the right questions to find out more.”
“Generally people are quite passionate, quite excited and energised. People are looking to train others, learn and give back. If you’re not like that, you’re probably going to get disenchanted pretty quickly. It is better to be open minded, and be nice to everyone.” says Becca.
#4. Get to know the culture
“When people start with the Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, they’re given a notebook on their first day and encouraged to write things down,” Becca says. “But fewer people do this these days – maybe they’re waiting till they’re online later and retrospectively noting it somewhere”.
Lucy, who will often interview 8-15 people a week for roles in at Greenpeace ranging from roles such as fundraising, office roles and volunteering says each new recruit at Greenpeace goes through an induction. “Obviously it’s really hard to remember all the information you’re given in the induction,” says Lucy. “Learning about the organisation’s culture is another important factor, including the formality or informality of clothing.”
#5. Stay positive
“In interviews, and in the new role, people should avoid talking badly about their previous employer. Keep a positive profile – don’t knock people down,” says Lucy. “There are a lot of different ways you can say the previous role wasn’t for you without going out of your way to say the boss was terrible.”
“Don’t be bolshy and come across as if you know everything…even if you think you might. All in all, you’re part of a partnership, and ideally, you’re working somewhere that suits your personality, skills and beliefs. That’s as true for not-for-profit as it is for any job.” says Becca.
We hope these tips help for anyone starting on their new job. Remember, they selected you over others for a very good reason, so above all, just be your amazing self. Best of wishes for those first days!