I’ve been a part of the Learning & Development Team at HubSpot for 6+ years. In that time, I’ve held many different roles and I’ve seen a lot of new hires come through our doors -- nearly 3,000 and counting. I’ve seen it all when it comes to your first day of work and have some advice to offer on how to make the best first impression possible.
Be on time.
This one seems pretty straightforward, but you might be surprised. When it comes to your first day of work—on time really means 15 minutes early (ie: if your first day is set to start at 9am, be there at 8:45am). Give yourself plenty of time to get to your new office. Worst case scenario: you arrive extra early and have some time to get a coffee nearby, relax for a bit and calm those first-day jitters.
Dress the part.
Take the time to figure out what the attire in your new office is. Do people wear jeans? Suits? Business casual? Ask your recruiter or new manager and plan appropriately. There is nothing worse than arriving in a full suit to find out everyone else is wearing jeans. When in doubt, overdress‚ but make it easy on yourself and ask someone. Your first-day-self who is confident in their choice of clothes will thank you.
You got the job because you are the best match for the skill set the job is looking for. That’s great and something you should be very proud of. With that said, you don’t need to remind every person you meet of that fact on your first day. A little humility goes a long way. Your job as a new hire at a company is to learn. Take that seriously and learn every single thing that you can. The most successful new hires at HubSpot are the ones that put all of their past experience and success aside for their first few weeks on the job and focus on soaking up every possible piece of information and knowledge they can. Once they have a good understanding of the company, the culture, the role they have and the team they’re joining, that’s when they start to apply their past experiences.
Hopefully you will be attending a thorough onboarding and training that gets you prepared and ready to tackle your job. Regardless of the length and thoroughness of your onboarding, the job is on you to acquire information and to ask questions. If you don’t know the answer to something, ask. If you don’t know how to find something, ask. If something isn’t clear, ask. If you need help, ask. The old saying “there is no such thing as a dumb question” really applies here. If you’re wondering it, there’s a pretty good chance that at least one other person is too. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to learning a new job.
Say yes often.
When you start a new job you will be presented with a ton of new opportunities. Most companies have all sorts of ways that you can get involved. When those opportunities come up, make it a general rule to say yes more than you say no. An after work networking event, lunch panel, social event or cross team project are all great ways to meet people and to expand your network at your new company. The more people you know and work with outside of your own team, the better. The worst thing that could happen is that you meet a new friend or have a new experience, and that’s not so bad at all.
There’s a good chance that there’s a big team of people who’ve put a lot of care and attention into your first day of work. That team usually spans well beyond your direct manager and includes people you may never even meet. Be gracious to everyone you encounter on your first day‚ hold doors open, say thank you, tell people how excited you are to be there. Those small actions go a long way and make a huge impact. If you’re going to make yourself memorable for anything, make it be this.
Don’t be so nervous.
I’ll let you in on a secret—first days of work are scary for everyone. Whether it’s your very first day in the workforce or you have 25 years of experience, first days are hard and nerve wracking. Out of all of the new hires that I’ve met and trained, I’ve never met a single one that wasn’t nervous on their first day. So take a deep breath, ask questions and take it all in. Before you know it there will be another crop of new hires coming in after you and all of a sudden you aren’t the new one anymore.
You only get one first impression when starting a new job, so make it one that lasts. Remember that you were hired for a reason, and that everyone else in that orientation room is in the exact same boat as you. So, take a deep breath, pick out that first day outfit, and set your alarm to show up 15 minutes early. The rest of day 1 will fly by faster than you could even imagine, and before you know it, it will be 6 years later, and you’ll be giving this same advice to another 3,000 new hires.