by Thomas Moran, CEO of Addison Group
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. This saying is never truer than when applied to a person starting a new job. While the thrill of landing a dream position can be exciting, joining a new company can also be quite overwhelming, and it can lead to awkward social interactions and overstepped boundaries.
It’s not uncommon for new employees to try and make a ‘big splash’ when they join a firm, especially if they are in a management position. They want to impress everyone and make nice with the staff, but in doing so, they can often make some social blunders.
Here are the top five mistakes that many people make when starting a new job:
1. You get too familiar too quickly.
Inside jokes and nicknames are part of office life, but if you are a new hire, it’s not your place to start ribbing the copy guy or trading wisecracks with the clients. Instead, take a chance to get a feel of the environment. Prove your work ethic and your skill set before you showcase your humor.
2. You want to be “in with the in crowd.”
Many workplaces have a “cool clique.” From happy hour to lunch to coffee breaks, this tight-knit group seems to be the center of the office’s activity. But don’t jump in and start trying to buddy up with the inner circle right away. Spend some time getting to know everyone in the office, including people who can be useful to your career going forward.
3. You try too hard at the office party.
Speaking of tossing back shots, Moran reminds people of the importance of moderation at company events. “You might feel tempted to drink like one of the boys or to show off your fun side, but you might risk your professional reputation. Have two drinks maximum, and spend the rest of the party getting to know your coworkers and learning about their lives and their jobs.”
4. You make big promises.
If you’re joining a new firm as part of a management team, it might be tempting to start making promises and putting changes into motion right away. After all, it’s easy to point out mistakes right away, especially if you think you know what’s best. However, it might be wise to spend a couple weeks getting to know the firm and the staff before you start throwing your weight around.
5. You open up too quickly.
If you’re an outgoing person who loves to connect with people, it might be tempting to start opening up about yourself right away. However, sharing about your recent divorce or divulging company secrets from your last firm isn’t going to win you any points with your boss or your coworkers. Instead, listen more than you talk, and ask people questions about their jobs and the company rather than sharing your own personal dramas. Everyone loves a good listener, especially someone who is willing to learn and work hard.
Thomas Moran is the CEO of Chicago-based staffing firm Addison Group. Addison combines a national network and localized service for broad reach with a personal touch. Specialized practices deliver the right candidate at the right time in Administration, Engineering, Finance & Accounting, Financial Services, Healthcare, and Information Technology.