BLOG – New Job? Excel in your first 90 days, with Natacha Wilson
By Raheela Rehman and Dr Stephanie Höhn
Whether in industry or academia, there are two sides of the hiring coin, the application and the recruitment. Both are to be understood to ensure you make an impact in your new role. Recruitment is a complex process, with associated costs, the recruiter makes the choice using different tools to ensure the right person is selected, and therefore it is in their interest to make the right choice. The cost to the applicant can vary from relocation, establishing a new network, personal energy and investment.
The rollercoaster of sensations starts with the elation of securing your new post. Even in the perfect job this may be followed by first day anxiety, to Day-60 convincing yourself that it’s exactly what you wanted (or find out that it is not), and finally settled in at Day-90. Thus a final addition to the list as an applicant is the emotional cost. The biggest lesson to allay first day and first 90-days concerns is to prepare for a proactive and measured approach. The day before your first morning, plan your commute to your new workplace or if feasible carry out a physical pre-run, prepare your clothes, reread your job description, visualise your first day and if possible have an early night. The following sections provide a timeline with considered instructions for milestones.
Arrive early with an open mind. Meet with your line manager and team members, take the time to note the names of new colleagues and their roles. Examine potential training you may need, assess your strengths, skills gaps, networks, what you wish to achieve in the first month and ask any questions early on. Bring documents with you to read should you have down time. Remember, a good team will be as excited to have you on board as you are to join them. A conscientious manager or team will often arrange a joint lunch or after work drinks to welcome their new team member. Be open, positive and introduce yourself.
First few weeks
If you have started a new job, the first few weeks will be about learning and understanding. Try not to focus on “delivering” too much right at the start, a job well done needs preparation. If you are already a member of the company, starting a new position within the organisation, this is the period you may want to start thinking about what you wish to produce. In both cases, plan ahead, plan to learn, and actively listen. What would you like to be known for? Prepare a short pitch about yourself that you can share with new colleagues you meet, seek out new contacts and friends, identify new alliances and teams and explore the dynamics.
In the first month, observe, reflect and set your new routines. It is an opportune time to manage your own and others’ expectations. Agree goals with your manager, and personally set regular SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) goals. Now is the time to get to know your team and the stakeholders better. Although undeclared, but important attribute, retain your ability to see things with a fresh perspective before you are fully incorporated in to the company system, and become processes driven. Your unbiased feedback will inevitably add value to the company.
Take 15 minutes daily, or else weekly to reflect: what do you feel, as your emotions will change, what has bothered you so far, is this a true perspective, and finally what have been your early successes, or perhaps not so well. Maintain your energy levels, sleep well, eat well, exercise and manage your physical and mental power. Find your own personal outlets to deal with your emotions and get support from friends.
In order to make the most of your experience, seek out your network and a mentor. It is beneficial to understand the organisational structure, and the team or company culture; what behaviour is rewarded and what are the company or team success stories. Ask what the company’s overall mission is and “if a random employee can relay the mission (at least in general terms) during your conversation, it signifies a strong and unified workforce”.
After the first 90 days, Natacha Wilson advised that this is the time to define what success looks like for you. Ask yourself:
Are you happy?
Are you able to grow?
Do you have SMART goals set?
How is your relationship with your colleagues?
Is this what you have been looking for or is it a stepping stone to an even better fitting role?
Prepare and boost your confidence at each milestone of your first 90 days timeline in your new post!
CamAWiSE thanks Natacha Wilson.
Natacha Wilson’s recommended further reading:
- 10 must reads before you start a new job
- The First 90 Days, Updated and expanded: proven strategies for getting up to speed faster and smarter, Michael Watkins
- 3 ways to survive being promoted
- First job for famous scientists
On the evening, Natacha Wilson helped to draw the winners of the autographed copies of Radio Four Jenni Murray’s book, “The History of the World in 21 Women” in collaboration with One World Publications.