Fitting in at any new job can feel intimidating, but when you’re joining a team as a new contract employee, it can feel overwhelming. You need to build rapport with your colleagues, yet contractors often feel isolated from a tight-knit group that is reticent to make connections with someone who won’t be there for long. Here are tips you can use to fit in quickly as a new contract employee.
No one expects you to understand how to do everything at a new job. If you have questions, ask them immediately, so you can learn the proper procedures right off the bat. It’s also wise to ask your colleagues questions about what they do. This shows a desire to get to know them and the drive to learn as much as possible about the organization.
Make sure you carry note-taking material with you for the first week or so because you don’t want to become known as a person who asks the same questions over and over again. Try your best to learn people’s names and their roles as quickly as possible, as well.
Mimic the Good, Rise Above the Bad
Your first few days on the job, take note of the cultural cues of the office. How do people dress? How often to do they speak to each other? How do they address each other in emails? Mimic as much of the culture as you can to fit in – but be cautious. You don’t want to take on the bad behaviors of others. Don’t come in late or leave early – even if other people do. Don’t get sucked into office gossip or politics, and try to stick to the processes you were taught by your trainer.
Never underestimate the power of a candy bowl on your desk. This simple action can attract people to your work space, allowing you to strike up conversations with them and build rapport.
If your new colleagues invite you to lunch, coffee or happy hour, accept every invitation. The best way to fit in is to socialize and get to know people outside the office. These types of events give you opportunities to build connections and learn more about the people you work with.
Fitting in as a contractor will make your time at an organization go more smoothly, but it also serves a greater purpose. If you’re able to build connections while on the job, you may be called back to that company in the future, or your colleagues may refer you to other projects and you will have a more expansive professional network to draw from.
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