Tips For Temps: The First Day
Updated: Jan 31, 2019
Welcome to Tips For Temps, a regular series that does — well — what it says on the tin. With the help of our recruitment experts, we provide you with our best advice for carving out your temporary career.
Irrespective of how experienced or confident you are, first days nerves affect all of us. Whilst in permanent recruitment, a new employee will typically be given an induction and spend some time shadowing other staff, temps are often expected to simply turn up and continue from where the last person left off. Here, we combine our past temping experiences to provide you with some advice to make sure your first day is smooth sailing.
Be On Time
This seems pretty obvious, as turning up late — especially on your first day — doesn’t make a great impression. That said, many people believe that arriving early has the opposite effect; demonstrating to the employer how eager and organised you are. Although being early is preferable to being late, being on time is ideal. The company will give you a specific start time for your first day for a number of reasons: There might be no-one in the office to let you in until that time, the senior to the role you are covering might want to go over the job briefly before you begin, or the team you are joining might all be in meetings that morning. You should aim to get to the office a few minutes (at most) before the time you are asked to arrive, so that you can slot in with the schedule that the employer has established.
What To Wear
Companies will typically specify the dress code, but to be on the safe side it is always best to wear something fitting for a corporate environment on your first day. For men, this would be a suit and tie, and for women, either smart trousers, or a dress or skirt that comes below the knee. Shirts should be plain and in neutral colours. Once you have spent some in the office you will get an idea of the dress code that is adhered to, and you can make future outfit choices based upon that. Front of house roles, such as reception, usually have their own dress code, in which case, you should adhere to what the company has stated in the job description.
No matter how old you get, there is always the lunchtime panic: Who shall I sit with, do those people look as though they’d mind be joining them, should I just eat alone? It’s always worth bringing your own lunch in on the first day, so that you don’t have to rely on shops or cafeterias. This is because some offices may not have the latter, or you could be located on a development site, where shops are a considerable walk away. Also, some companies allocate staggered lunch breaks, so you may not know until the first day what time you’ll be given. Bringing in your own lunch means you avoid any added stress, and you can focus on getting to grips with a new job in a new company.
Some businesses provide temps with a full tour of the office, a complete handover, and a list of all the possible numbers and passwords that might be needed. However, other companies might not provide any of this. In either instance, being a temp is about throwing yourself into a role, adapting quickly, and learning the ropes as you go. Remember though, this doesn't mean that you can’t, and shouldn’t, ask questions. If anything confuses you, or you are unsure of how to approach a task, speak up. It is far more difficult — and far more stressful — to undo a mistake, than to understand a problem before you attempt to tackle it.