When the new job honeymoon ends: advise for bankers and recruiters

Beecher Tuttle | E-Financial Careers

You’re weeks into your new job and you can’t get the knot out of your stomach. Don’t worry: you’re not alone. Buyer’s remorse is an all-too-real phenomenon that affects more employees than you’d probably imagine. A recent survey found that roughly half of all new hires feel regret and second-guess their decision to switch jobs.

When facing this predicament, resist your impulses. Quitting a job soon after accepting a new role leaves you in an unenviable position: unemployed with a red flag stamped brightly on your resume. Give the job at least 100 days before making a full assessment, says Doug Shade, principal consultant at search firm WinterWyman. Then, if things are still looking grey, take action to improve your situation. Shade offers several tips on doing exactly that, along with a few pieces of advice for recruiters who need to play the role of counselor.

Advice for Job Candidates:

Give yourself time to get to know the company: No matter how talented or experienced you are, there is always a learning curve to a new job. You need to learn the company’s procedures, the company culture, your fellow employees and, yes, the actual job.  A lot of times there is emotion wrapped up in that. Give yourself a period of ‘new job adjustment’ of 100 days to learn all you can about the company, your boss and your colleagues. It’s not going to feel like home on Day 1; like any big life event, sometimes it just takes time.

Your manager isn’t a mind-reader – talk to ‘em: After you start, give it at least 100 days (3 months), if it is still an odd fit, it is time to have a conversation with your manager. You need to be able to communicate with the manager/supervisor and express where your discomfort lies. No one can read your mind. Unless you know what the problem is, your manager can’t fix it. Sometimes there are employees who, for certain reasons, can’t approach their manager with this type of an issue. In that instance, you may just have to look for a new position. It is important to note that every circumstance is different and you should always seek advice from many sources – family, recruiters, and friends – because changing a job after a short period of time should not be made lightly.

Grab lunch with someone that matters: Whether it’s your boss or your boss’s boss, getting in front of the people who matter is key. If you are in a sales organization, maybe choose the top performer so that you can learn his or her tricks of the trade. Wait a month until you get comfortable in the office and then invite one of these people to lunch. And certainly pick up the tab.

Figure out the company dress code: After your first week, treat yourself to a few new outfits that fall in line with what is acceptable for your office. Whether you are male or female, starting week two with a brand new outfit will give you the confidence you need.

Learn the culture: It is especially important when you begin working at a new company that you learn what the norms are for the organization and follow the crowd. You don’t want to be the only one who eats lunch at their desk if everyone else gathers in the cafeteria. Fitting in and being seen as a team player during the early days is critical to helping the ‘new kid on the block’ feel like part of the gang.

Ask for an honest assessment: Set up a 30-60 day review. Hopefully, you will have at least one conversation early on with your manager about what’s expected of you in your initial months. However, it’s best to initiate a meeting somewhere in the 30-60 day range to make sure you are meeting those expectations and that priorities haven’t changed, especially if your manager is more hands-off and/or remote. This also demonstrates that you are proactive in the direction of your career and what you accomplish for the company.

Advice to Recruiters:

Recruiter? Counselor? Yes, you are: To help job candidates avoid “Buyer’s Remorse,” recruiters should always counsel job candidates that there is a learning curve/onboarding period at the beginning of every job where they may feel uncomfortable and unsettled.

It’s not unusual: It is a normal part of every new job situation and it is wise to take 100 days before you make any decisions about hating or leaving your new job.  If a job candidate has made it past the 100 day mark and it still isn’t a good fit, or can’t make it work for some reason before that time, it is important to have a very candid discussion.

Is it broken and bad or just new?: Start with the suggestion that the job candidate look inward first before they look externally.  It is a full-time job to look for a new job.  Have they looked to change the things that are bothering them at the company or in their job?  If they haven’t, recruiters should recommend to try that first. Explain they should have a conversation with their manager or HR, who can help the employee figure out where the disconnect is and to decrease their frustration.

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