This week, the Recruiter’s office has been filled with young people on work experience. They are here to learn a bit about what we do, and one’s already decided that a life in recruitment is his future goal. A sensible choice!
Their presence got me thinking – what do people know about the ‘rules’ of the workplace?
Most large employers will have a policy setting out the expectations and regulations of the company, many small businesses won’t have this, but should explain the basic rules to you.
But I’m thinking about the ‘unwritten’ rules, which can make all the difference to success or failure in your new job. It can seem strange that everyone else apparently knows these rules – often you can feel a bit lost on your first day, during your first week, perhaps even after your first month!
Don’t worry – here are some top tips on how to settle into your new job smoothly:
1. The day before you start work, read the information the company may have sent you in advance. This should tell you what you need to wear, who to ask for on your first day, what time to arrive (and check where!) and, very importantly, what to bring. Most employers need to see documents proving you have a right to work in the UK, and bank information so they can set you up on the payroll. Remember – you might not get paid if you don’t provide these! Bring your P45 if you have one, and any certificates you may have.
2. Like your interview, arrive in good time. If the company tells you to be at your place of work at 9am, make sure you’re there by 8.45am at the latest – not 9.30! You certainly don’t want to arrive late, stressed and sweating! If you do get held up, call the company to let them know – apologise, and give them an estimated time of arrival.
3. Be friendly. Remember that all of these people – from the security guard at the gate, to the receptionist, to the HR officer who checks your documents – are your colleagues now. You will be working with them every day. If you are rude or unfriendly, it’s going to be noticed.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to, and to ask for clarification of tasks and procedures. Your manager may not have the time to show you again, and you want to get it right from the start.
5. Find out the basics. Hopefully your manager or a colleague will show you your workstation, where the toilets are, where to get drinks, the canteen and the fire escapes. If not, ask! Find out when your breaks are, and how long for.
6. Once you’ve been shown your workstation, take a few moments to look around you. How are your colleagues behaving? Don’t follow bad habits, but do try and fit in.
7. Remember – you are now at work, not at home. I’ve seen several new recruits sitting at their desks, swinging round on their chairs, wearing their coats (sometimes with the hood up). Even worse, one guy started playing his MP3 out loud! He didn’t last long in the company…
8. Be keen – if you’ve finished a task, it’s fine to ask for more work. You’ll settle into a rhythm within a few days and weeks of how long it takes you to complete work.
9. It’s fine to stick to your hours, but make sure you’re as productive as you can be for all of them. It doesn’t impress me when I see an employee with their computer off, bag packed and coat on 10 minutes before the end of the working day. You’re not at school!
10. Finally, do come back tomorrow! It takes a while to really find out what a job is about. You won’t get a full idea of all of the elements – good and bad – that make up a role for at least a month. If you quit after your first day because it’s ‘boring’ or not what you thought, you won’t have given yourself the chance to make up your mind and may regret it later on. Don’t throw away a potential dream job.
Good luck with your new job. You’ve earned it – now enjoy it.
That’s all for this week. Happy job hunting!