So you’ve been through the interview process, had an offer, and accepted the role. Time has passed and you’re getting nervous. What will your first day be like? What should you expect and what should you do?
The most important thing to remember about your first day is that there won’t be any huge expectations of you. No one is expecting you to sit down and write features and fix urgent bugs straight away. Focus on the people, get to know your Line Manager and your team. Find out where you will sit or whether the company has a hotdesking policy. Take a notebook and use it because you will be overwhelmed.
Your top priority for your first day is to get to know people, to make a good impression by being polite and friendly to everyone you meet and to ask lots of questions. It’s quite likely you’ll be bombarded by so many pieces of information you’ll start to lose track so don’t forget that notebook! Remember, people’s names are more important than every detail they’re telling you – you can always ask them for clarification later, but only if you remember who to ask.
Many companies have a formal HR training on the first day which can last anywhere from half an hour to a full week depending on the company and the role. These often run through basic Health and Safety and in some cases legal/data protection rules. These aren’t the most exciting sessions you’ll attend during your time at the company but they are important. If you’re starting with other people you’ll likely take part in the same training as them, say hello and ask a few questions. I still remember many of the people I attended inductions with with even though we’re scattered across the departments (and in some case companies).
You’ll also likely be given your computer and be expected to set it up. Focus on things like email, calendars, and whatever IM program the company is using. Over time you will also need to connect to your team’s source control repositories and install your development tools but I’d often recommend waiting until you’re guided on this. It can be quite easy to get it wrong which can cause more challenges than simply asking for some support. Be careful about installing software you’re not authorised to do so – always check with your manager before installing something if you’re not sure if it’s allowed on work hardware.
Make sure you know what to do if you’re sick on your second day (I hope you won’t be) but it help to be prepared. It often helps to get your manager’s phone number if you don’t already have it.
It’s fair to say that first days can be a little overwhelming so wanting to get a second opinion I asked a colleague of mine, Lizzie who joined our department last year as a junior engineer. She said
Most all all try to relax. You’ve worked very hard to get this job and you should be very proud you’re there. Focus on building relationships with the people in your team. Be humble and be willing to learn and take advice. Because when you need help, and you will need it, it will be those people who will support you.
What are you most nervous about when you start at a new company? What do you wish you’d known before you started? Drop me a message on Twitter or post your questions below.