When a company offers you a job, it’s essentially making a prediction that you’ll be a good fit. The hiring manager is basing this on your background and what went down during the interview process, but it’s not until you’re actually on board and doing the work that you’ll have the opportunity to prove yourself.
What’s the best way to make a good impression in the first 90 days on the job? As Hannah Morgan writes in a terrific U.S. News & World Report post titled “6 Traits Every Manager Secretly Wants In a New Hire,” there are certain “spoken and unspoken professional expectations” well worth trying to meet.
First up: being “easy to manage.” This means you’re a self-starter who doesn’t require a ton of assistance or complain about assignments. You ask the right questions and know when it’s appropriate to do so. As Morgan writes, “You aren’t the only person your manager has to oversee, so he hopes that you’ll require minimum oversight.”
Next up: you’re a team player. Regardless of your field, you’ll most likely be required to work with others toward a common goal, and if you can be “fair and logical” and work around differences of opinion, you’re in good shape.
The third thing your manager will be looking for, Morgan says, is strong communication skills. The boss might need you to interact with clients or higher-ups at the company, and he or she needs to know that you won’t embarrass them. The idea is to project confidence and credibility without seeming arrogant, and as Morgan says, you want to show you’re “doing more than just filling in.”
Fourth, Morgan says bosses want new hires to be “likable.” This one’s as simple as it sounds. Do you smile, act pleasantly to those around you, and make conversation with coworkers during downtime? In short, you want to be someone who’s a pleasure to be around — since you’ll be around day in and day out.
On a similar note, Morgan says managers are looking for “tact” and “diplomacy,” which really means the ability to handle stress without flipping out. “Watch your manager and learn how she handles difficult situations,” Morgan advises. “Emulate her style and ask for feedback when necessary.”
Last up, Morgan says, the boss wants someone who’s going to make him or her look good. You should give him or her credit when it’s due and never badmouth him or her in public. If there are questions you know your supervisor can’t answer, don’t ask them. As Morgan says, a lot of bosses invest considerable time and effort in developing team members, and you can show your appreciation by “truthfully acknowledging her support or leadership.”