The first day in a new job can be daunting for anybody, but for somebody who prefers solitude, knowing what’s going on, details and not being bombarded with new faces, not knowing who is good for one to one contact, the first day in a new job can be even harder for introverts.
First day in a new job for introverts.
Introverts are good networkers and tend to rely on their network for support. That support may be technical, or (dare I say it) emotional (no, not like that). First day in a new job, introverts don’t have that network around them, and have yet to work out who they would add into their network. A sense of anxiousness is initially likely to grow faster than a sense of comfort in the new job.
Being thrown into meetings to “get to know everybody” are probably not going to help either. Meetings are not normally well run and having lots of people introduce themselves and vice versa is hard for an introvert.
Tips for introverts on their first day.
- Company culture. What can you learn about the company before you turn up? Company culture is often likened to “the way we do things around here”, so look at the company’s website how it uses language, the important points. How about the company’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages. You can arrive already knowing quite a bit and that may help you with some of the “in jokes”.
- Use LinkedIn to get to know people first. Can you use LinkedIn to get some informaiton about your new co-workers? You could end up already having “spoken” to several of your colleagues before you start. Do a search on the company you’re joining and see who works there. Sending a short message saying you’re joining won’t hurt either.
- Prearrange to meet. Are there people you already know there (or even people you’ve “got on with” from LinkedIn? Can you arrange to meet up for coffee in your first few days, to at least see friendly faces and check out the lie of the land. Introverts like detail, this could be a quick way to get detail.
- Plan how naked you’ll get. OK, I’m being metaphorical here. What personal items are you happy to talk about with your new team and what will you avoid? Giving something away in advance makes it easier to get to know people and it makes it easier for them to talk to you (some of them will be introverts too). Most people I haven’t even met know I love Scuba diving and it really helps; what hobbies, interests or TV could you talk about?
- Be early on the first day. I know that sounds obvious but worrying about traffic only adds to the first day stress. Sitting quietly in the car, or a nearby café, can help you relax.
- Get a good understanding of your deliverables. Introverts tend to prefer structure than lack of it, so knowing what you’re expected to do will help you. Plan some questions for your boss and summarise what you’ve learnt back to her. The focus on deliverables (what you need to deliver), rather than more general items will help you perform better, quicker.
- Proactively meet your new colleagues. Yes, I did say that, even though the thought makes me shudder! However, meeting people one to one as you choose, rather than in a large group is likely to be easier for you. It allows you to add to your list of deliverables and company culture more easily too.
- Plan solo time. You will probably need some time on your own to recover from meeting loads of new people. A local café to escape to, or somewhere in the office you can sit quietly? Ask some of your new team members where they go for their breaks, that helps you get to know them too (no, you don’t have to go to break with them, just find out where).
- The first team meeting. You’re probably going to be asked to introduce yourself, so plan what you’ll say about interests, home life, previous work etc. You may well be asked for first impressions of the new firm, be honest but not too blunt! Knowing what you’ll say will reduce stress.
The first few days are more stressful, but with some planning they will be a lot easier.
Boss notes – Onboarding an introvert.
If you are in charge of starting new team members, consider how the first day might feel like for an introvert. How could you help them with some of the points above, without making it seem too obvious?
You will already have some idea about their personality from the interviews. Tailoring the onboarding process needn’t be that hard yet can make a huge difference in the time it takes for your new team member to become fully productive.
Having a clear onboarding process doesn’t have to involve you doing too much, in fact planning it in advance can reduce your workload. List down who could help familiarise new employees with different aspects of the role, tell them in advance what you want them to cover and have it listed as part of the onboarding plan. Give your new employee a copy of the onboarding plan, covering roles, people, timescales – it will help you and your new employees.