First Day at a New Job - What Not to Do

First Day at a New Job - What Not to Do


So you've slogged through dozens of job applications, tweaked your CV so many times you can recite it by heart and have attended more interviews than you've had hot dinners. But you've made it. Day one of your new job and all that hard work has finally paid off.

You're not quite there yet though, you've still got one of your final hurdles to jump over, making the right impression on day one. Today we'll walk you through some of the most common mistakes you can avoid on the first day in a new role so you'll be able to relax and make a great start.

Preparing for the first day - What not to do

Don't assume anything

This covers every aspect of the role, from start times and dress codes to expectations of work required on day one. Never assume you know what to do, always get confirmation on anything you're unsure of.

Don't leave things to the last minute

This means not frantically reading the job description on the train to work to refresh your memory on what you're supposed to be doing. It also means arriving on time. Get up earlier than usual and bring forward your morning routine so you're not left in a rush.

Don't panic

Don't overthink everything you have to do on day one and don't constantly be worrying about what other people might be thinking. Just stay focused on the key tasks you need to get done on day one and you'll be fine.

Don't be unprepared

You should have covered a lot of this at the interview stage and relates to things like researching the company, knowing what their values are and what the core responsibilities of the task will be. However, there can sometimes be a large gap from the interview to day one, it never hurts to refresh yourself on the organisation you're joining and what the role entails to help day one goes all that smoother.

What not to do once in the office

Don't complain or come with a negative attitude

This is one of the most common office bugbears among managers. We all know people who never seem to have anything positive to say about any aspect of their jobs. So if you have a bad first day don't let this show by whining and complaining. Recognise what might have happened and assess how you can make things better from day two onwards.

Don't ask for a raise

You'd be surprised how many people chance their arm at this. Some feel that now they're securely in role they can ask for more money where they might have been hesitant at interview stage. Don't do this under any circumstances though. You haven't proven yourself yet and this will definitely work against you when you're up for your probationary review.

Don't ask for time off straight away

If you have any holidays already pre-booked when you start a new role, let HR know as soon as possible once they've made an offer so they can accommodate. Don't however start asking for additional time off on day one. Nothing says "lacks motivation" quite as much than someone who seems to constantly want to get out of the building.

Don't be antisocial

While this might be a little more difficult for the introverted types out there, being social can really pay dividends early. Try not to sit back and wait for people to come and introduce themselves to you. Be active in getting to know people and you'll quickly become a familiar face and go to person.

Don't try to change the way things are done on day one

New managers can be very guilty of this. Keen to prove their value straight away these times want to "Ruffle feathers and shake up the system". Please don't do this until you know exactly what the current system is like and what could actually do with changing. This is a fast way to be disliked.

Don't spend the day on the phone

We know first days can be difficult, despite all the preparation the office might do for your arrival, your coworkers have day jobs to do as well so you might be left with nothing to do at times. Don't default to browsing social media on your phone though, seek out people who can help you learn more about the organisation and look to do some independent research on the staff intranet if you're struggling to fill the day.

Don't make quick judgements

You might encounter situations on day one that seem clear cut to you at first glance. This isn't always the case though and things are often a lot more nuanced than you'd first expect. Make sure you gather as much information you can about an organisation and your coworkers before coming to any conclusions.

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