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Roy J. Blitzer on New Job Success
A human-resource professional for more than 30 years, Roy J. Blitzer has plenty of advice for those starting a new job. He worked for more than 17 years as vice president and executive consultant at Zenger-Miller (now Achieve Global), a training, education and consulting organization based in San Jose, CA. Currently Blitzer is an independent executive and management consultant and coach with Spherion Corp. in Cupertino, CA, and an adjunct professor at San Jose University, Menlo College and University of San Francisco’s College of Professional Studies. He has written many books, including Find the Bathrooms First: Starting a New Job on the Right Foot and the Hire Me, Inc. series. Blitzer gives his tips and tricks on how to find success in the first 30 days of starting a new job.
What feelings and emotions come up in first 30 days of starting a new job?
The major emotions are nervousness and fear. My theory is that if you have spent a long time looking for a job that most suits you, you tend to be anxious and excited about starting. If it’s been a long haul, you find yourself in a tough spot. You’re nervous because you want to be successful and make sure you—and the company—made the right decision.
How do you overcome these feelings to assure yourself you’re on a successful path?
You need to be very sure you were selected for the right reasons. You need to believe in your heart that you are the best fit and that the requirements for the job match your qualifications. If you have force-sold yourself—if you put yourself in a situation where you are overselling your skills—I think your nervousness increases.
What should you do within the first few days at your new job?
The first thing you need to do is come to your first day prepared. Bring something to read about the company, perhaps an annual report, and have a cell phone with you and some Post-It notes. A lot of times people forget about you on the first day.
Next, collect data. Meet the people who are part of your stakeholder network. If you don’t know who they are, ask someone to introduce you. It’s also important that you get a preview of how you are being positioned to your co-workers. When you are starting the job, ask your boss if you can see the information he or she is using to announce you.
You need to have a very important meeting with your boss in the first few days. The first thing you ask is “why did you hire me? What about me made you make the decision?” Once he or she tells you, try to play to that.
One of the questions you should ask your co-workers in the first 30 days is “how can I help make you or your department look good?”
What can you do to succeed at a new job?
Do a constant assessment to make sure you are getting what you want from the job. Evaluate the position and be clear on what you are getting out of this position. In my experience, the people who are most successful are those who work really hard in the first three months. That reputation lasts forever.
How important are the first 30 days in a person’s overall success?
Tremendously. It sets the tone of the rest of your work life.
What should you do if you make a mistake?
Admit it. Be clear that no one is perfect. Say “I’m new and didn’t know the way of the land.” Be careful, though. You can’t make too many mistakes in the beginning.
What are the most important things for a person to accomplish in the first 30 days of starting a new job?
- Do your homework.
- Find out what success looks like to your boss and what you need to do to accomplish your goals.
- Establish a rapport with your co-workers.
- Work hard and stay late. Overwork.
How important is it that you make friends with your co-workers?
I don’t think it’s important right away. You should establish a professional relationship first. Have lunch with everybody. Monitor them. Don’t become part of a clique too early on.
What can you do after the first 30 days to continue on the road to success?
Continue with the dialog. Talk to your boss and ask for feedback. There should be no surprises. Clearly ask “are you getting what you want from me?”
You also need to be as receptive and open as you can to learning. Never reference your old company—“at KPG we did it this way.” If you are pressed, use phrases like “my experience says” or “the research I’ve done on this says.”
What is the belief you personally go to during times of change?
The fact that the only one who likes change is a wet baby. I don’t like it, but I force myself to be receptive to things even though I don’t like them.
The best thing about change is...
…you learn new things and it usually happens for the best.
What is the best change you ever made?
Moving to California as a graduate student. I left a secure family environment for an adventure. It was great.
For more information on Roy J. Blitzer, visit www.cob.sjsu.edu.