by Jeremy Willinger
You wrote a good cover letter, aced the interview, accepted their offer, and are excited about your new job. Yet, before any new hire moves into their first cubicle or corner office, it is imperative that they know the unique set of business-etiquette guidelines that will ease their transition into a new company and put them on the path to success.
In the first ninety days on the job, a new hire must delve deep into the company culture and recognize their rank and status within the organizational hierarchy without committing major business blunders. This is the time when a new team member will be under great scrutiny, so use it to your advantage by defining your reputation as a competent, business-etiquette savvy, hard-working, and easy-going individual.
This examination can, and probably will feel like you’re in a pressure cooker, but there are guidelines that any new hire can follow to earn the respect and solidarity of their co-workers. Strive for balance: show off your hard skills but avoid outsmarting your boss. If you develop a friendly relationship with colleagues, be sure your personal life does not intrude. Convey written messages in the most straightforward fashion but use humor appropriately -- jokes are a minefield better left to professional comedians.
Balance is important in the office but even more so outside of it. Business dinners, offsite meetings, tradeshows, and other trips call for their own set of workplace rules of new-hire business etiquette. The two keywords are appropriate and discreet. At a client dinner, for instance, this translates into asking the client or sommelier for a wine recommendation rather than selecting the beverage without any input.
Chances are, as the above example suggests, alcohol may be served. While one might be tempted to drink as much as possible on the company dime, new hires (especially) cannot afford a slip of the tongue, or to have their work suffer the following day. Therefore, moderation is key.
Moderation should not be practiced, however, when deferring to formality. New hires should know that business etiquette means addressing and referring to people by their title, which shows both professionalism and compliance. A new hire must also be aware that asking questions is encouraged, but must be done in a way that frames the inquiry with respect. Business etiquette is not only about pleasing your new colleagues, but also about helping you establish a platform from which to make your job a positive and rewarding experience.
While getting your foot in the door at a new company is the first step, knowing the rules of business etiquette goes a long way in helping ensure that the doorwill always remain open.
PS. If you feel completely lost and overwhelmed during your first few weeks on the job, call a private etiquette coach to teach you polished manners in just two hours: