The countless hours combing through interview questions and agonizing over if you should wear a navy or black suit, the sweaty palms and nervous chatter of the first meeting with the hiring manager, and the brutally long wait by the phone for a call back now all are just figments of the past, because you’ve landed the job! Congratulations on all of your hard work paying off! Now it’s time to take all of the energy you spent GETTING the job into making sure you KEEP it. In a sad but true study, according to the book Hiring for Attitude, “out of 20,000 new hires tracked, 46% of them failed within their first 18 months of a new position.” Staggering as it may seem, the first leg of your professional journey at a new company is truly the most crucial, as it establishes from the commencement of the position if you will have long-term staying power with the company, and if so, what your particular career path might be. So make sure you are setting the tone for a successful and prosperous career in your new job by following these tips:
Check your Attitude at the Door: In need of a little attitude adjustment? Don’t worry, most people are! Hiring for Attitude also cited that “when new hires failed, 89% of the time, it was for attitudinal reasons and only 11% of the time for a lack of skill.” It even went on to say that “the attitudinal deficits that doomed these failed hires included a lack of coach-ability, low levels of emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament.” At the workplace, it’s important to keep your attitude positive and remain focused on your overall goals, allowing you to be open to constructive criticism and coaching/training. Be patient and keep your motivation turned on high, as your first 90 days will be under the microscope.
Be Flexible: When you first begin a job, it’s natural to have a plan in your head and agenda of what you’ll be tasked with on a day-to-day basis, as you’ve likely asked this in your interview to get a general idea of what a day in the position will entail. Remember it is just that: a GENERAL idea. Before you start combing over the daily tasks you’ve scratched in the notepad at your interview and start converting them to a laminated daily schedule, remember that things change. Responding to your boss that “this wasn’t listed in the job description during the interview” when they ask you to take on a task is a sure fire way to quickly find yourself back in unemployment. While it’s important to have a plan when you first walk in, it’s more important to be flexible and ready to make some changes. We are not suggesting that you let yourself be taken advantage of, but employers want to see that you are willing to roll with the punches and can adapt to their ever-changing business, and that you are a team player. The idea is to expand and grow as a professional along with their growing business.
Keep the Glass Half Full: Employers crave energetic, optimistic professionals. They keep the office fresh and enthusiastic and help to keep employees engaged, thus resulting in higher production and a better place to work. When you start your new job, overcome any shy urges to plant your roots in your cubicle and make sure to get to know your colleagues. Surround yourself with motivational colleagues who are helpful and energetic, and who will push you to produce your best work. Praise and encourage those around you, and create a positive aura for yourself. Coworkers will notice, and your superiors definitely will too.
Have the Confidence to Deliver: From day one, you need to display the utmost confidence at your workplace. Yes, this might be new territory for you, and you will have some training to undergo, but that doesn’t mean that you have to act timid. Remember, you ARE good at what you do, and if you weren’t, you wouldn’t have been hired in the first place! Confront your weaknesses, learn from your mistakes and remain confident in your abilities and value to the company.
Be a Goal Setter: Your goal for the last year may have been to land a job, but now that you’ve done just that, don’t let the goal setting stop there. Achievable goals allow you to stay focused and successful. Make sure to establish both short and long term goals that are realistic and specific, and make sure to communicate these with your supervisors to ensure the goals you are spending your time achieving are going to net both you and the company the most success possible.
Just remember, you are in control of your career and the success that comes along with it. You landed the job, now keep it and advance!
Mark Murphy. (2011). Hiring for attitude. McGraw-Hill Companies.