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The Daily

For New Hires, the First Few Months Matter

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Mar 29, 2016

CalendarJust because you were hired doesn't mean you're free and clear yet. A recent survey by Robert Half, a finance and accounting recruiting agency, has found that 54 percent of CFOs give new workers between one to three months to prove themselves. The second biggest response, at 25 percent, was between three to six months. Nine percent of CFOs give new hires a month or less, while eight percent give six months to less than a year. Finally, four percent said new hires can take as long as they want to make an impression. 

"You don't need to know everything, but managers are going to expect you to get up to speed in a short amount of time," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half. 

How can new hires make a good impression in the time given? Robert Half recommends: 

  • Do show up early.Arriving ahead of schedule will give you time to settle in, review your calendar and organize your day.
  • Don't be a know-it-all.Resist the urge to tout how things were done at your previous company; instead, learn how to do it your new firm's way before suggesting any changes.
  • Do ask for help.Seek assistance if you need it. Request a weekly check-in with your boss to get feedback on your progress and discuss further training. Be an information sponge.
  • Don't rock the boat.Avoid kicking off your tenure by requesting a flexible schedule or extra time off -- that should have been handled during the negotiation process. Also, observe the corporate culture and model your behavior accordingly.
  • Do say "thank you."No gesture of help is too small to warrant appreciation. Showing sincere gratitude goes a long way and will make coworkers more likely to want to lend you a hand in the future. And, of course, return the favor when they come to you for assistance.
  • Don't isolate yourself.Invite your colleagues to lunch or coffee to network and gain insights into their jobs. As you learn more about their work, look for ways you can assist them.

The results were based on a poll of 2,200 CFOs across 20 cities, asking them "How much time do you allow a new hire to prove him or herself in a new role?"