How to get a handle on your new job

It’s only natural to feel some initial pangs of uncertainty in the early days of a new job.

Ordinarily you’ll have a few weeks between the job offer and start date, which gives you plenty of time to start thinking about the new role and prepare for your first day. Make contact with your new boss before you start to obtain as much information as you can about the organisation and your position, including annual reports, strategic plans, mission statements and organisational charts.

If possible, have a decent handover with your predecessor. Ask for any information you haven’t previously received to help you determine current practices, products, policies and procedures. Make notes – even about the most basic of things – and don’t be afraid to ask questions and for help if you need it. It also pays to write down people’s names and titles as you go – remembering someone makes that person feel important, and also remember you.

Once you have absorbed all the information about your new position and have gathered initial impressions of the organisation’s strengths and weaknesses, you can begin to list preliminary thoughts on the short and long-term objectives.  Make a habit of consulting your colleagues before doing anything drastic and avoid making rash decisions.

When determining your plans for the future, keep in mind you don’t have to do everything on your first day, week or even month. Research shows it can take months for some organisations to see a return on its investment of a new hire. While noone is expecting you to move mountains on your first day, some jobs will however expect you to hit the ground running. Probation periods can often be up to six months but you need to prove you were the right person for the job long before your probation’s up.

As a final tip, don’t ditch the job description. It’s an important document that you can use when preparing for a performance review, applying for a higher duties allowance or requesting a review of your current job scope.

Last minute interview tips

Congratulations, you have a job interview! What are some last-minute, quick tips to make sure you give yourself the best chance at success?

During the job-hunting process it’s not uncommon to become disillusioned and frustrated by the number of hoops you need to jump through before you even reach the interview stage. You’ve probably already spent an hour responding to the key selection criteria and tailoring your resume, figuring out public transport routes and maybe even buying a new outfit to wear.

As exhausting as the lead-up has been, when it comes to your interview it’s important that you’re in the zone because you don’t want all the hard yards to be for nothing. Job interviews never seem to get any easier, but if you follow our last minute interview tips you might just land the job you’ve been wanting.

  • When to arrive
    The best time to arrive is five to ten minutes before your interview.  Any earlier and you become annoying, putting pressure on the interviewer and leaving them unprepared, any later and you’ll leave them waiting which reflects very badly on you.
  • Know who to ask for
    When standing at the reception desk, don’t go flicking through your phone trying to find the email from the recruitment agency containing the interviewer’s name. Know who to ask for and ask with confidence – introducing yourself.
  • Make a great first impression with everyone, including the receptionist
    Often employers will talk with their staff about you after you leave.  While the interviewer is primarily interested in how your skills relate to the job at hand, everyone else in the office will want to know what you’re like to work with as a person.
  • Answering interview questions
    Feel free to take your time and breathe.  Answer confidently and wherever possible, use a specific example.  If you need an extra few seconds to think of an example, rather than get flustered and say “um...”, tell them “that’s a great question” then go into deep (and confident) thought.
  • Focus on your body language
    Smile, make eye contact, have good posture and listen actively. Don’t fidget!
  • When they ask if you have any questions?
    This is an ideal opportunity to find out about the culture of the workplace. You could ask the interviewer to describe the culture of the company, how many staff it employs and how long it has been in operation. This is also the moment to sell yourself and let them know how interested you are in the position. Be careful not to sound scripted – you want to use this as a catalyst to turn a structured interview into a friendly discussion and put your best foot forward. A great example is: “I really love what you guys do here and it seems like a role I would be perfect in. Can you tell me where you see the company going in the next 12 months so I can start thinking of ideas on how I could contribute?”  You’ll score bonus points if you can think of some great ideas on the spot.

Good Luck!

Category: 
Interview