- Jessica Vann, CEO & Founder (ORIGINALLY SEEN on THE MUSE)
The first 90 days of your new job are crucial to set yourself up for long-term career success. It’s where you make good on the promises you touted during your interview and set the stage for how people perceive you.
That’s why asking for feedback during this time is so, so important. It quickly demonstrates to your new boss that you’re invested, you’re committed to excellence, and that you’re in this for the long haul.
Plus, if done well, you can earn major brownie points that may help you get recognized later for opportunities to work on interesting projects or even advance more quickly.
Easy enough, right? Now that you know just how important your first 90 days are, here are some guidelines for how to ask for feedback to ensure you’re on the right path (or how to get on it).
When Should You Ask?
Eliciting feedback in these crucial first few days is a balance between giving your new manager and co-workers enough time to form concrete thoughts and opinions of you, while also being proactive in prompting feedback that will help you as you get onboarded.
Rule of thumb: Don’t expect a formal review by the end of week one. After that, it’s all a judgement call. How much real work have you actually had a chance to do? If you’ve just completed a big project or finished a tougher assignment, now may be the perfect time to ask for some input on how you did. Regardless of the above, don’t let three weeks go by without making the big ask.
A good rhythm for how frequently you continue to check-in will hinge on the volume and involvement of your work. That said, a good best practice is no more than once a week, but no less than once a month.
How Should You Ask?
Don’t pounce at the water cooler or in the bathroom while your boss is washing her hands. Reach out to your manager via email or in person and request a meeting directly. Explain what the meeting is for—people will appreciate having a heads-up so they can prepare ideas ahead of time.
Try something like, “I’d like 15 minutes of your time to talk about how you think things are going so far with me. Are you satisfied with what I’m doing, and the work I’m producing? Is there anything I can be doing differently?”
What Should You Ask?
Give your manager suggestions on what you want to hear, such as, “How am I integrating within the team?” “Am I operating at the speed you need me to?” or “How is the quality of my work? Any development areas you have already identified that I can work on?”
This is also the time to coach your manager on what you need in terms of resources. Would you benefit from regular one-on-ones or additional training? Perhaps a tracking system that you and your manager have access to to share what you’re working on?
Who Should You Ask?
Besides your boss, co-workers are also a great resource for feedback. While it doesn’t need to be as formal as with a manager, try crafting an email along the lines of, Hey, I’m loving it here so far, and would love to get some feedback from you to make sure I’m setting myself up for long term success. It’s really important to me I’m doing a good job and making a good impression.
The reality of soliciting feedback is that it may not always be 100% positive. So, prepare yourself mentally. All your good intentions will immediately be nullified if you go into “defensive” mode. Keep your ego out of this conversation and stay open and non-judgmental.
Then, send a follow-up email thanking your manager or colleague for their time and candor, and briefly outline your takeaways and any next steps you plan to take. Implement any areas of improvement right away and follow-up with your boss to make sure the adjustments you’re making are correct and noticed.
We know there’s a lot to learn in your first 90 days. You’ve got new systems, technologies, faces, and names to remember, and so much more. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
Incorporating this advice displays maturity and commitment on your part, and will also give you a good indication of whether you’re doing well, or need to make some adjustments before its too late. Regardless of what you learn, it will empower you to excel in your new role.