ROOKIE MISTAKES

Survey Reveals Most Common New Hire Slip-ups

MENLO PARK, CA -- For new employees, the first few weeks on the job don't always go as smoothly as planned. According to a new survey of hiring managers, failing to adapt to the firm's corporate culture and not asking enough questions are the two largest mistakes made by recent hires. A combined 33 percent of all responses fell into these two categories.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 150 executives with the nation's 1,000 largest companies.

Survey respondents were asked, "What is the biggest mistake an employee at your company has made during the first three months on the job?" Their responses: 

Misunderstood corporate culture 17%
Didn't ask enough questions 16%
Lacked integrity 6%
Didn't follow the rules 6%
Lacked attention to detail 5%
Made job-related errors 5%
Communicated poorly 4%
Misinterpreted the job description 4%
Other* 14%
Don't know/no answer 23%
100%

[*The "other" category is made up of those responses cited by less than 4 percent of executives. Among them were issues related to training or lack of readiness for the job, poor interaction with coworkers and a desire to change things too fast.]

"Adapting to an unfamiliar work environment is one of the biggest challenges faced by someone starting a new job," said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. "It can take several weeks to learn accepted policies and procedures -- particularly if, for example, you are moving from a very relaxed atmosphere to one with more restrictions on professional conduct or attire."

Domeyer pointed out that employees who hesitate to ask questions for fear of appearing ignorant are actually hampering their ability to adjust to a new role. "Managers expect that you won't have all the answers at the outset. Asking for clarification and bringing up areas of concern demonstrates initiative and indicates your desire to make an immediate contribution," she said.


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