These executives share top tips for making a good first impression at your new gig – and what to avoid doing

You got the job, now what? Image, Getty.
  • Four Aussie executives share what advice they would give new starters aiming to make a good first impression at their job.
  • The executives also described some of the biggest mistakes you can make when starting your new job.
  • Find out what executives from Employment Hero, Vinomofo, SafetyCulture and Think & Grow had to say.

Congratulations, you got the job. Now what?

It’s always exciting when you get the job you want. Now that you’re in, it helps to make a good first impression so that employers know they made the right choice in hiring you in the first place.

We asked executives from Employment Hero, Vinomofo, SafetyCulture and Think & Grow to share what advice they would give to someone starting their new gig and what mistakes they should avoid.

Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer, Employment Hero

Alex Hattingh, Employment Hero

Tips to succeed

Hattingh suggests being hungry, humble and smart.

“Be ambitious in your new role by setting goals – no matter how big or small – and set out to quietly achieve them,” she told Business Insider in an email. “Learn to find value in self satisfaction by rewarding yourself on your achievements without validation or praise from others.”

Hattingh also suggested asking questions, listening a lot, being proactive in networking, being on time and being presentable. “When it comes to presentation, invest in a few professional pieces for your wardrobe and learn to love ironing,” she said. “Remember it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed in professional environments.”

Some extra tips? Avoid office politics, take lots of notes, be reliable and do your best. “To an employer, nothing beats a hard worker,” she said. “It can be easy to feel out of depth in a new role, but remember so long as you are trying your best, the results will shine through.”

Avoid these mistakes

Hattingh said one of the big mistakes a new employee can make it being too shy. “As a new starter, your first weeks and months are the perfect time to be asking questions and putting yourself out there,” she said. “Don’t feel silly getting clarification – you’re new so take advantage of the fact that you’re not expected to know everything.”

Some other mistakes people make, according to Hattingh, include not getting to know the culture and values of your company, being over confident — “be sure of yourself, but practice being humble” — and drinking too much at events.

“If office events are part of your new workplace culture, be mindful when socialising with team members that you don’t overdo it by drinking too much,” she said. “Gauge the crowd and ask a trusted team member to tell you if you’ve crossed the line to avoid embarrassment.”

And finally, Hattingh warned of the pitfalls of not being upfront. “Don’t say yes to everything or you will find yourself overwhelmed — be honest about the workload you can handle,” she said. “Before you accept a role, be upfront about any pre-planned holidays or flexible arrangements you need — such as school pick up and drop off — so your new manager is aware. Being honest builds trust.”

Jonathan Jeffries, Co-founder, Think & Grow

Jonathan Jeffries

Tips to succeed

Jeffries believes that small gestures that don’t take extra work matter in a new role.

“Being positive, happy and making a proactive effort to introduce yourself makes a big difference,” he said. “Standout new starters remember people’s names first and coffee orders second.”

Jeffries further emphasised the value of arriving on time, as it is a sign of respect and self awareness. “Make this a priority in a new role,” he said.

Avoid these mistakes

Turning up to work late or on the wrong day, Jeffries said, shows disorganisation. “It’s also important to take time to mentally and physically prepare yourself for the effort it takes to transition and onboard, otherwise you’ll show up panicking, which is unsettling for any employer,” he said.

Another mistake Jeffries mentions is “bringing an unnecessary attitude to the workplace”. “Be proactive, positive and willing to learn,” he said.

Finally, Jeffries mentioned the huge mistake of taking food from the fridge that isn’t yours. “It’s a quick way to put new workmates offside,” he said.

Robyn Djelassi, Head of People and Culture, Vinomofo

Robyn Djelassi, Vinomofo

Tips to succeed

Djelassi’s advice is to “start as you mean to go on”.

“A new job is a great opportunity to re-set and commit to bringing your authentic self to work every day,” she said. “So start as you mean to go on and just be ‘you’. That’s who your new employer hires after all.”

Djelassi added you should learn as much as you can about the culture, arrive on time and don’t be embarrassed if you forget someone’s name.

Avoid these mistakes

Djelassi warned against being late on the first day. “Manage your morning and plan your commute — it’s only respectful and professional,” she said.

Another big mistake Djelassi said is talking more than you listen. “You really should be like a sponge and soak up as much information as you can in your first few months,” she said.

“Opinions are great but ask questions before you jump to conclusions. Your new employer is in business because they are good at what they do. You’re there to make them even better … but first you need to learn how they became good.”

Djelassi also mentioned the mistake of not keeping an eye on cultural norms. “If it’s not ok to text on your phone during meetings, for example — don’t,” she said. “If it’s considered perfectly fine to take a walk around the block to clear your mind when the mood strikes, then go ahead. Every organisation has its own culture and cultural alignment, not just values, but ways of working.”

Chantal Madi, People Partner, SafetyCulture

Chantal Madi, SafetyCulture

Tips to succeed

Madi suggested being a “sponge” by trying to understand the work landscape, asking questions and requesting feedback. “Show that you are willing to learn, be enthusiastic and come with ideas and new perspectives,” she said.

Madi also mentioned taking the time to read and learn the company values and mission. “Values are guiding behaviours that will help navigate you in your new environment, understanding these is key to succeeding beyond your day-to-day role,” she said.

Avoid these mistakes

As for some of the biggest mistakes, Madi said assuming you know everything is a big no-no. “It takes time to get the lay of the land and understand the successes, challenges, pain points of each role and organisation,” she said. “As a new starter, it’s your responsibility to gather this information rather than assume it.”

Another warning Madi mentioned is applying the same processes you learned from your previous jobs and past workplaces. “A new environment means a new way of working, different values and ways of communicating,” she said.

“What works well in one organisation or industry doesn’t necessarily work in another. It’s the new starter’s role to assess their environment and respond accordingly.”

Now with these tips, go forth and prosper.

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