Posted: by HRNasty in Climbing Career Ladder, Manage your Manager, Recent Graduate

Career momentum

Momentum will mean the difference between a career that moves and a career that stagnates.

Career Momentum

Wondering how you establish credibility and career momentum as a new hire? Whether you are a recent graduate or a veteran of the corporate game, credibility is the one thing that doesn’t take any special skills to acquire. If you just landed a job and feel like you have no credibility in a sea of experienced peers this post is for you. HRNasty is here to guide you through your first couple of weeks on the new job.

The goal on the first day and with the first couple of weeks on a new job is the following and not necessarily in the order listed:

  1. You have a great opportunity. AKA, “Don’t fuck it up.”
  2. Get on your team’s good side. AKA, Don’t piss anyone off.
  3. Build momentum with your career.
  4. See rule number 1

Number 1 and number 2 should be obvious. If they aren’t obvious, god help your company and your new manager. If number 1 and number 2 are not obvious, god cannot help you. New hires have momentum coming into a new job. The hiring team just went through a lot of work to hire you. The team sifted through 100’s of resumes, conducted phone screens, interviewed candidates in person. When they found you, they pitched your candidacy to the finance department for budget and the VP of the department. They wouldn’t have gone through this effort if they didn’t believe in you. You have credibility. 

Momentum in sports

When two sports teams are playing against each other and one of the teams makes a couple of big plays, there is an electricity in the air that doesn’t just run through the entire team, it runs through the stadium. Michael Jordan was an electric player that could get on a hot streak and literally change the momentum of a game. When a team has momentum, you can see it in their performance and you can feel it. It is the exact same team with the same players and the same coach but they are unstoppable. The difference between a team with momentum and a team without momentum is the emotional tide in the air.  Momentum can be built to where the team can do no wrong. They are literally creating their own luck. The team with momentum can get lucky breaks and more importantly, will seem to magically capitalize.

Momentum in your career

Career momentum can be both positive or negative in your career. There can be times when you can do no wrong and there can be times when you do no right. When you have forward momentum in your career, managers will give you more opportunity. Your name will come up in closed doors meetings as someone who will make a difference.

All employees have momentum when they are hired and the trick is to capitalize on this momentum and turn it into credibility.

Even if you lack experience in an industry or a job, you have momentum. You may not have credibility just yet, but you have forward momentum and momentum can be turned into cred.

As a new hire, the team is excited about you joining them. Don’t worry about if you are personally liked or not liked. You are an extra set of hands that can help make their lives easier. If they didn’t have the work for you to do, they wouldn’t have opened up your position. They need help and you are there to provide it. This means:

  • The hiring team is looking forward to you starting.
  • After going through the interview process they have a high degree of confidence you will not only do the job but do the job well.

During the interview process, the interviewers are wondering if you can do the job and be successful. This is the reason you are asked so many different types of interview questions. Once they conclude that you CAN do the job successfully, their mentality turns. They believe in you and convince themselves you will be the next “best hire.” No one is going to say “We offered the job but we don’t think they will be successful.”

Why your hiring team believes in you

No one wants to admit they made a bad decision. No one wants to admit their interview skills are lacking and they made a bad hire. To the contrary, they move away from a mentality of doubt and towards a mentality of confidence in their decision. The manager owns the decision to hire you. As a group of interviewers, the team owns the decision to hire you. The tribe doesn’t just own the decision, they celebrate it. And this is the forward momentum you can capitalize on.     

Build momentum with your career

We have momentum. The hiring team is excited for you to learn and help. More than likely they were short-staffed. There are several moves you can make to build on that momentum.

Dress code

If I can see up it, down it or through it, it is inappropriate. If I can see a tattoo up it, down it or through it, it is inappropriate. 

Even if you are going to a small tech startup, dress appropriately. Dress a half step above the company’s dress code. Like most candidates, you showed up to the interview dressed professionally. This was the first impression you made with the hiring manager and the team when you interviewed. If you show up in flip-flops and a baseball cap is worn backward, you will be giving the team a shock. They will feel like they got a bait and switch. Continue to dress appropriately for the first week and let the illusion of the first date continue. Don’t worry, the team will tell you to dress down.

Volunteer

As a new hire, we are not adding much value until you are done with training. Once we are done with training, we still need a babysitter to answer our questions. Not only are we NOT adding value yet, we are taking time away from other team members productivity with our questions. Volunteer for all the grunt work and bring some value to the team. No job should be too small for you at this point in your learning curve. Department birthday party? Volunteer. Need to pick up sandwiches for a lunch and learn? Volunteer. You may be making $15.00 an hour, $50K a year or more with this first job, but relatively speaking, compared to the rest of the team, grunt work is what we are good for at this stage.  

Build relationships

No one wants to have a new hire on the team that doesn’t talk with anyone, eats alone or doesn’t take breaks with the group. When ANYONE asks you to go to lunch or take a break, you participate. No hesitations. Just smile and get out of your chair.

 You are working with this team for 8 hours a day, so it is in your best interest to be known as someone who gets along vs. someone who doesn’t want to put in the effort.

Ask questions

A lack of questions is the equivalent of a lack of interest. I take that back, it is worse. A lack of questions is equal to “I don’t have any questions because I don’t care”. Ask questions during training. Ask questions when you meet with your VP or your manager. In the least ask for advice on what successful employees do at your new company.

Attitude

No company or team wants to hire a naysayer. Having a positive attitude may not build us credibility but having a negative attitude will crush it. We are hired to solve problems. Problems are not solved by people who don’t believe. Your initial goal is to be trained quickly. It is tough to train someone with a negative attitude. No one wants to train someone in a new skill if they have a downer attitude towards life.

None of the above require specific training or specialized talent so we have no excuses. As a new employee, remember that you are NOT expected to solve any complicated problems. You are NOT expected to know the in’s and out’s of the company’s products. We do have an expectation that you will chip in where we can, make lives around us easier and have a great attitude.

See you at the after party,

HRNasty

nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.

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