We all aim to make a great impression when we start a new job but for a contract role it’s essential to make an impact as you don’t necessarily have the time to rectify a weak start. If you want to be in with a chance of the hirer extending your contract or re-hiring you for future positions a smooth transition into your new role will be really important.
Reach out to colleagues
Unfortunately contract workers are not always welcomed into the team in the way that permanent staff are. Don’t make the mistake of hiding yourself away if you don’t feel fully accepted. Make the effort to break the ice – introduce yourself to everyone, go for an after-work drink on a Friday night or see if anyone wants to join you for a coffee. It doesn’t only make for a better working environment, it’s also a great way of informally discovering the office / lab dynamics which are vital for effective working.
Be responsive and receptive
You may feel rather overwhelmed by your workload and learning curve in you first weeks but don’t let communication with colleagues suffer. There is nothing worse than colleagues who don’t respond – it’s a clear sign that you feel your role is more important than theirs. Get back to people as soon as possible (and that doesn’t mean when you’ve finished all your other jobs!). Remember to be receptive to advice too. You may be an expert in your field but when you’re new to a company it’s important to listen to any guidance (and criticism) your colleagues give you. They probably know more about the processes within the business and, even if you feel you could improve them, listen and learn in the first few weeks. Don’t assume that you know better.
Time keeping and absence on a contract role
It’s impossible to avoid some time-keeping and absence issues but in your first few weeks avoid mishaps wherever possible. Late-nights (and late mornings) are a no-no. Avoid dentist appointments or routine doctor’s visits in that initial period. First impressions matter and if you have absences within your first few weeks people tend to remember. Obviously don’t force yourself into work with anti-social illness but just be aware that your performance will be monitored at the beginning.
Communicate with your manager
Ideally your line-manager will check in on a regular basis to ensure you’re happy and performing well. This doesn’t always happen and if they don’t get in touch, it’s great to reach out. This shows your commitment to performing your best and taking the role very seriously. It also builds that important relationship between you and your manager. It’s also a good idea to discuss how communications work and whether they want weekly updates, daily chats or quarterly reports! Establish these processes early on so that you know can feel confident from the start.