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Fitting in With the Team

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 27 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Fitting In With The Team Fitting In At

Beginning a new job with a whole new set of colleagues can produce a mixed range of emotions. You might be excited by your new role and can’t wait to start, but as the day draws closer you may be overcome with nerves and apprehension and start thinking about things such as how you’re going to have to prove yourself all over again and thoughts of “will I fit in with my new colleagues?” Everybody tends to feel a little daunted to one degree or another when they start working with a new bunch of people, most of whom will have already formed a close-knit team but there are certain things you can do to help yourself fit in more quickly and Impress in Your New Job.

First Rule – Remember THEY hired YOU!
When HR departments are looking to recruit a new member of staff, they are looking for someone who meets all the credentials in terms of skills, personal qualities etc, which the job advertisement specified.

However, when it comes to interview time, things aren’t quite as straightforward as that and this is the time when they’re not only looking to see if you can DO the job but, perhaps even more importantly, they’re looking to see whether or not you’re likely to fit in with the rest of the team. Many HR managers will tell you that they can teach people the relevant aspects of the job but they can’t teach them to fit in with the rest of the staff, so if they think you’ll slot in with the rest of team easily, you’re going to be considered very seriously. Therefore, once you’ve been hired, there’s a likely chance that you’ll find you’ll fit in anyway.

What You Can do to Help Fit in
First impressions count, so before you start your first day at work, you should find out what the dress code is and dress appropriately when you arrive. A common answer to this question is ‘smart/casual’ but that can mean very different things in a variety of settings, so seek clarification if you’re not sure. You’ll probably have a good idea of this anyway from when you attended the interview.

Try to get your bearings when you first arrive. You’ll probably get taken on a ‘guided tour’ during your first day so get to know where the toilets are, any refreshment areas, cloakrooms etc. Then, find out where any essential equipment to help you do your job is located, e.g. stationery cupboard, fax machine, photocopier etc. This is just to prevent you from having to constantly interrupt someone to ask these kinds of questions.

If you’ve completed your work, don’t just sit there twiddling your thumbs – ask your colleagues if there is anything you can help them with. Not only will this be viewed as a positive gesture but you’ll get to learn things a whole lot quicker too which will boost your confidence further.

Don’t abuse the e-mail or the phones and, before you head off to work, ask your friends not to call or e-mail you at work even if they’ve been used to doing so at your previous job.

Remember, you’re the ‘new’ person on board and, what might have been taken for granted at your previous job may be entirely different in the new one. Find out about lunch breaks – when you can go, how long you have etc. Be natural but be careful. In other words, you’ll have been employed for your personality as well as your skills but, if you’re a bit of an extrovert by nature, you may need to dampen that down during work hours until you get to understand your new working environment and how people tend to communicate with each other there. You’ll be able to release your full personality in good time, the more comfortable you settle in and have had a chance to see how others behave.

And, get off on the right foot and don’t indulge in idle gossip. You don’t know if the person who’s gossiping themselves has a grudge against somebody or the company in general and if you’re seen to encourage the gossip and indulge in it yourself, it will ultimately make you very unpopular and untrustworthy.

Learning Names and Being Social
It’s a daunting task to learn everybody’s name on your first day and perfectly natural to forget the name of any of your colleagues. After all, you may have to learn the names of many co-workers, they’ll only have to learn yours. The more sociable you are, however, the easier it will be, so take up any invites to nights out (within reason) and interact with people as much as you can, especially in the early stages when you want to be accepted quickly. Work hard too. No-one wants a new member of staff to be a slack worker.

Providing you make an effort to fit in with others, you’ll almost certainly find that your new colleagues will warm to you quickly and, before too long, there’ll be another ‘new’ employee to welcome and you’ll simply be part of the close-knit team too. Do remember though that, in spite of your efforts, there’s always possibly going to be someone who doesn’t ‘take’ to you or you to them. That’s just the way of the world.

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