6 Ways You're Instantly Making a Bad Impression At Your New Job

Many talented people make bad first impressions at a job which can damage reputations and careers.

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Cecilia Harvey16
May 28, 2024 at 1:51PM UTC

A new job can be an exciting time that offers new challenges, connections and experiences.  But unfortunately, many talented and capable people make bad first impressions, which can damage professional reputations and derail careers. 

Below are 6 mistakes that you should avoid to keep from screwing up in your first few weeks:

1. Claiming to know it all.

Many people make the mistake of immediately trying to solve problems. As the new person, at least initially, you want to observe and listen. Observing and listening provides helpful information which allow you to make the best decisions — both in your role and in your professional relationships. Take time to assess the situation, ask people their perspective and then make moves. 

2. Complaining.

You are insulting your new colleagues when you criticize how things are done at your new company. Also, constantly comparing your former company  to your new company will make your new colleagues wish you were still there. Be positive and mention what you feel is going well. Discuss solutions rather than highlighting problems.

3. Hiring lots of new people.

If you are a manager, take time to assess your existing team’s talent before hiring new people. Be transparent about your hiring plans, and give current employees the opportunity to apply for new roles before making roles available to external candidates. After exhausting these options, be sure to ask current employees if they have referrals for open roles. Even if you select an external candidate, your team members will appreciate that they have been engaged.

4. Being an ivory tower.

Don’t isolate yourself from others. Walk the floor and take the time to get to know your new colleagues. Each Friday, make an effort to take someone for coffee or have lunch with different people.  Participate in team activities or even suggest have a team get together.

5. Not being considerate of your co-workers’ time.

Last minute requests, meetings scheduled late in the evening, and setting weekend expectations are not the way to make friends. Of course, there may be times when we need to work overtime to meet a deadline. But plan ahead and be considerate of your new team's time. Think proactively, anticipate issues and schedule meetings and work in advance. This can be tough on a new job, but it's worth it. 

6. Gossiping. 

Do not say anything about a coworker to others that you would not say to your co-worker directly.  I remember a former boss that insulted her team in front of other colleagues. Not only did she demonstrate a lack of loyalty and respect to her team, she also lost any hope of getting the loyalty and respect of the other colleagues.  Be respectful and transparent by having face-to-face meetings with colleagues that provide specific and constructive feedback. 
Unfortunately, many people do not have the self awareness to realize that they are making a bad impression. Do NOT be one of those people! Ask your boss about how others perceive you. Ask your co-workers if they have any feedback for you. Clearly and frequently communicate with your colleagues. A new job is your opportunity to start fresh and advance your career. Demonstrating humility, respect and teamwork will allow you to make a good first impression and accelerate towards success.

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