How to Make a Good First Impression on New Co-Workers

Smiling businesswoman shaking hands with businessman in office
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You know what they say about first impressions — they linger. So as you begin a new job, it makes sense to consider the best ways to impress your co-workers and form a good connection with them early on.

High on the list: dressing the part. You’ll want to choose an outfit that’s carefully calibrated to match the formality level you’ve observed from staffers during your interviews at the company.

When in doubt, wear an outfit similar to the ones you wore to interviews — and opt for more formal, not less.

But there’s more to making a good impression than your clothes. You’ll want to be yourself, but also embrace that old maxim about faking it ‘til you make it. That is, even if you’re feeling some nerves, carry yourself with confidence.

Here are six ways to make a good impression on your new co-workers—so your relationship can get off to a strong start.

Arrive on Time and Ready to Work  

Generally, your new boss or a human resources contact will let you know when to arrive at the office for your first day along with where to go. (You may need to tackle paperwork before you can really get started; sometimes, your first day will be devoted to an orientation.)

If the company hasn’t reached out with details, you can email your manager to ask when you should arrive and where to go. Be prompt; aim to arrive early, since being tardy on your first day sends a worrisome note. Be sure to bring all paperwork, as requested, as well as a writing implement and notebook, so you’re prepared to take notes as you sit in on meetings and get information from HR.

Consider Asking for a Tour

Spot someone who seems extra friendly? If your manager or a human resources person hasn’t already shown you around the office space, ask a co-worker if they have time to give you a quick tour. There’s nothing more awkward than not knowing where the bathroom is (especially when you really, really need to go), and it can be helpful to know meeting room locations and where to stock up on supplies.

Get yourself situated early on, so you can feel confident heading to-and-from meetings and going about your day.

Master the First Meet

Make eye contact (no need to be aggressive!) as you shake hands with new co-workers. And smile — it’s best to have a confident, upbeat attitude. If you have a chance, and if you’re bad with names or faces, jot down people’s names, job titles or responsibilities, and other details in that notebook you brought. That way, you won’t wind up re-introducing yourself to people again and again. (And people appreciate it when you remember them!)

As much as possible, introduce yourself to people. If you’re standing near someone by the coffee maker or passing in the hallway, you can smile, and say, “Hi, today’s my first day! My name is Albert, and I’ll be working with the XYZ team. What do you work on?”

Basically, you’ll want to embrace the most outgoing parts of your personality. (Introverts, follow these strategies when you start a new job.)

Have an Intro Speech Prepped

As you meet people one-on-one, or potentially at a team-wide meeting or welcome lunch, there may be a moment where you’re expected to say a few words about yourself and your background. It can help to prepare a bit. You likely don’t have to give a polished speech unless you're at a high management or executive level, but it’s better not to fumble or blush your way through your elevator pitch about yourself.

You can introduce yourself by talking about your work background and a few personal details, and then wrap up by saying how excited you are to work at the new company.

Here’s an example: “Hi, everyone. So great to meet you all! Just a little bit of information on me, for folks who didn’t sit in on interviews: I’ve worked at ABC Company for the past four years, and prior to that I was with XYZ company. In both roles, I was responsible for project managing big launches. I live in Evanston, with a giant dog (ask me for pictures later!) and my husband. I’m really thrilled to be joining the team here, and can’t wait to get to know everyone here and work together closely!”

Be Engaged and Professional

Your first days are a good time to keep your cell phone on silent, avoid personal calls, and stay away from your personal email or recreational online browsing. You want to see attentive and focused on work.

Sometimes that can be hard on the first day or two—you might not actually have work to do. See if you can spend time browsing the company’s website. Ask if there are any meetings you can sit in on or simple projects you can start on.

You may find it tempting in these early days to suggest ways the company could operate better. Ideas are good, but sharing improvement strategies in early days, or acting like a know-it-all, can be off-putting. Instead of making suggestions, consider asking why things are done the way they are.

End on a Good Note

Don’t be the first to leave the office. Take advantage of quiet moments at the end of your day to write down impressions, questions, ideas for projects, etc. Want to prep more? Here are even more ideas for how to get ready for a super successful first day at a new job