Rookie Mistakes: What to Avoid as a New Hire

The first 90 days on your new job are critical. At least one industry expert has referred to this period as “your battle against misunderstanding.” You’re not just learning a new role, you’re also learning new rules, new people and a new culture.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid as you become acclimated to this exciting career move:

No Game Plan

At no other time will people be so willing to share information, as tolerant of your questions, or as forgiving of repeating explanations as during your honeymoon period in a new position. So beginning on Day One, have a plan to optimize your learning and connect with those who will be the most helpful down the road.

  • Don’t wait for your manager to set up meetings with you. Grab a spot on their calendar, then get in there and explain your plans and process. This leads to clarity, which leads to course correction, which leads to you taking the right actions.
  • Don’t put off getting to know other stakeholders. If you procrastinate about meeting with them, you may not get the information you need in your first 90 days.

Being a Know-It-All

As anxious as you may be to make an impact, don’t arrive at your job with the attitude that you have all the answers – and don’t push for immediate, aggressive change. This approach can quickly earn you enemies, undermine your credibility or result in costly mistakes.

  • Don’t say “I know” too much. You were hired because your employer believed you were intelligent enough to do the job. But your colleagues don’t want to hear a smug “I know” or see your eyes roll when they offer advice. Thank them for their guidance and if and when it gets to be too much, be courteous and say something like, “Bill and Sally did mention that. I can see it’s important and I’m keeping it in mind.”
  • Avoid talking too much about your past. It may come across as bragging, especially when others don’t know you well. Cite examples of your accomplishments only if they directly apply to a particular situation.


Even if it’s seemingly harmless, three words apply to gossiping in your new job: Don’t. Do. It. When the boss or a colleague asks around as to how you’re doing, you want the focus to be on your work performance, not on the fact that you spend every free moment talking about other people.

Being a Loner

Don’t turn down lunch, Happy Hour or other social invitations during your early days on the job.

  • Graciously accept opportunities to get to know your colleagues, or you may be perceived as not being a team player. A word of caution: Share bits of your personal life during social events, but spend the bulk of the time listening and asking questions.
  • Take time to smile, look people in the eye and say hello. It seems like a small thing, but it pays off in a big way as you’re seen as friendly, professional and mature.

The career development experts at Employment Professionals Canada can work with you to not only find your ideal job in Ontario, but ease the transition into the next phase of your career. To learn more, read our related posts or give us a call today. We look forward to hearing from you!