Ace your first 90 days in a new job: Tips from Hays Executives

6 mins | Travis O'Rourke | Article | Starting a new job

Ace your first 90 days in a new job

Starting a new job can be overwhelming, just like those back to school nerves and excitement. But the first 90 days are critical to making a good impression and setting yourself up for success. This is your chance to prove your ability to perform, work well within a team and demonstrate to all of the people watching that you have the potential to move upwards in your career. Follow these tips from Hays executives to make the most of your first 90 days:

Start preparing before day one 

Get a head start and before you start your new job, refresh your memory on the company background, and the products and services in its portfolio. Make sure you are also as clear on what your new role entails, and how it fits with the rest of the team and wider business goals. 
Now start planning the more practical elements such as your journey, what you are going to wear, and if there is anything you need to bring.  Get a good night's rest, get up early, have a decent breakfast, and give yourself plenty of time to get to the office. 

Arrive with no pre-conceived ideas 

Forget about your experiences at your previous employers. Even if you are staying within the same industry, or going to work for a similar company, keep an open mind. No two jobs will be the same, so approach your first 90 days as a fresh start, and embrace the unknown. 

First impressions count 

Make a good first impression by remembering people's names, engaging in polite conversation, and show interest in your colleagues.

As you are introduced to people, deploy name remembering tactics, like repeating their name back to them as you introduce yourself. If these introductions don’t feel rushed, and there’s a gap for small talk, then make polite conversation, for example, “It’s great to meet you, Laura, how long have you been with the company for?” This demonstrates that you are interested in them and personable to talk to. 


Build a network of support 

Get to know your colleagues, starting with those closest to where you are working.  A good network of support is essential to your performance. 
Karen Young, Director of Accountancy and Finance recruitment, Hays UK, points out that “taking the time to meet each colleague individually, can pay huge dividends later. These are the people who can offer you guidance, answer your questions and help you to feel settled in this unfamiliar environment.” 
Once you get back to your desk, map out a seating plan and write down the names of the people who sit at each desk. From this point on, take advantage of any opportunities to socialize, whether it’s at work social events, or just being in the kitchen at the same time making lunch! If these colleagues need your help on something work related, willfully step up. The people can be your allies during those first 90 days, so it’s important to keep them on your side. 

Find a team you’ll enjoy working with – search and apply for jobs  


Celebrate early successes, but don't get complacent 

If you experience a quick win, congratulate yourself, and let this spur you on to continue along this trajectory, but whatever you do, don’t get complacent. 
The bottom line is, don’t rest on your laurels and remember, your first 90 days can never be too successful. 


Identify missed opportunities 

On the flip side, you may experience defeat during your first 90 days, whether it’s failing to close a deal or meet a personal objective that you set for yourself. The key here is to learn from the situation, but don’t dwell, and certainly don’t let this throw you off the rest of your game. 
Stay focused, in control, and confident, and look to your colleagues for support.


Stop and reflect 

Use your halfway point to assess what has gone well and what hasn’t. Ask your manager to provide some input and guidance. This is your chance to change tact and make the most of the second half of this period. 


Consider your next steps 

Robby Vanuxem, Managing Director, Hays Belgium, recommends that you “consider whether you enjoyed working within this organization so far.  Have the people been supportive and welcoming? Do you still think this company can offer you a promising career where you are able to develop yourself further? Ultimately, are the reasons that you joined this organization still valid?” 
If so, then brilliant. Sit down with your manager, and start planning the next step in what I hope will be a long and prosperous career within this company. If not, then have an honest conversation, explaining your concerns. With any luck, your manager will be able to address these concerns and put a plan in place to make the next 90 days a lot more promising. 
By being strategic, diligent, and self-reflective, you give yourself every chance of acing your first 90 days in a new job. Good luck!

About this author

Travis O'Rourke
President of Hays Canada & CCO, Hays Americas

Travis is a Marketing graduate from Fanshawe College and was the 2023 recipient of their Distinguished Alumni Award. He joined Hays after holding various leadership roles elsewhere in the Canadian staffing industry. Travis setup and established Hays' outsourced talent solutions business and played an integral role in building Hays’ temporary and contract divisions throughout Canada. Initially joining Hays with a deep background in Technology, he holds extensive cross functional knowledge to provide clients with talent solutions in Financial Services, Energy, Mining, Manufacturing, Retail, and the Public Sector.

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