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Setting Out Your First 90 Days

When you’re about to start your new job, chances are you’re feeling on top of the world. After all you were chosen above everyone else who applied, so you’ve probably had more than your fair share of compliments and ego boosts over the last few weeks. Add to that the excitement that you and your new employer have about you joining their team, and it’s understandable that you might not be thinking about how to approach this new chapter. My advice to anyone reading this blog is really think through how you should go about things once your new job starts.

Focus on the business, on competitors, on market opportunities and threats and also who you’re likely to meet in your first few weeks. Maybe do some research on line about their careers and prepare some questions you’d like to ask about the things you need to work on in order to be successful.

Once you’ve thought about the wider business, then I recommend you think about how you’re going to build a working relationship with your direct line manager.

Go into your first meetings with an open mind but also use it as the platform to check priorities with you manager and team mates. A simple way to do this is to ask;

  • What are we trying to achieve as a team?
  • What’s my role within the team?
  • What are the biggest challenges likely to be?
  • How should I prioritise and address these things?

Once you’ve got that discussion going be sure to document and email your line manager to tell them how excited you are and these are the things you’re going to be focussing on over the coming days and weeks.

Set clear direction and goals for yourself, and be sure to be seen as someone with positive energy and focus.

I often advise candidates to think about starting a new job in four time periods;

The first 30 days

We all know first impressions count, so the first 30 days in your new job are going to be some of the most important.

The first thing you need to do is get a good feel for the way things work; what’s the company culture like, how do people operate and communicate with one another and even what do people wear? In particular pay attention to those people who have been promoted within the company and if you can, ask them their advice on how to be successful.

The other thing to do is take notes on everything you do in a book called ‘First 30 Days’ (or something similar) that you can refer back to whenever you need to remember something from your induction and first few weeks.

You should also take time to have lunch or coffee with your co-workers to learn a bit about them and get to know them. This is the time to ask as many questions as you can.

Once you’ve got through all of your first meetings with the key internal people and agreed on your targets and objectives, you should take some time to build a plan for the next three months.

Make sure you share this with your manager before launching into action, and be proactive about regularly checking in with them to get their feedback on how you’re doing.

Days 30-90

Once you get into your second and third month you should have a stronger understanding of how things work and what’s required to be successful at your new company.

You should also have a good sense of who you can trust and ultimately show you the ropes and give you the honest, constructive input that will help make sure you keep fitting in and are on the right lines.

Continue to have regular check ins with your boss and ask them outright how they think you’re doing and where you can improve. It’s always best to approach your boss about your progress instead of waiting for them to speak to you, this way, you can get ahead of any issues before they arise.

Finally, it’s important to remember that you’re likely to be working through a probation period for the first six months, so by setting the stall out early on, showing initiative, asking questions and taking an overall thoughtful approach to your new job is going to stand you in great stead.

Beyond 90 days

By now you should have a good sense as to whether things are going well for you or not. You should already be showing signs that you’re on the road to success.

This is now the time to consider bringing fresh ideas to the table. My strong advice is to do this one idea at a time to prevent bombarding your manager and team mates with a range of items they’ll never likely implement.

So, choose the one thing that you think will really make a difference and focus on presenting this in an objective way so that people can see you’ve thought it through from several perspectives.

If you get agreement that’s great, but more realistically you may have to amend your idea based on feedback from the team. Agree an implementation plan, and then stick to this so people can see the tangible outcome of your thoughts and the value you’re bringing to the company.

Alternatively, if things are not going too well don’t get too disheartened. It’s still early days and after all the first few months of being at a new company can often be challenging. It can take a little time to find your momentum in new surroundings.

Rather than worry, double your focus on what it takes to be successful and make sure your manager is helping you to prioritise. Remember, you were selected ahead of everyone else for this job and keep faith in your own ability. With hard work, proper focus and a positive attitude you will make it work!

If you’re interested in looking at your career options and would like to speak to a member of the team simply call 0131 553 6644 or email

Helen Weller
Senior Recruitment Consultant; SW London / Surrey / Hampshire / Dorset