Hiring Wisdom: Why the First Day on the Job Is Most Important

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My worst first day experience:

I was hired to be a food and beverage server in a busy restaurant that was a very popular brand in town. I was happy when got through the interview process easily was called in for the job.

On my first day, I was told to report to work at 6 am, before the breakfast crowd. The morning briefing began 10 minutes later and, at that time, I was told to sit in the office and wait for the briefing to be done, I wasn’t introduced to anyone on the team.

A bad first-day on the job experience

After my supervisor did her morning duties, opened the floor and got everything organized for opening, it was two (2) hours later and the restaurant was full, everyone was busy and I had only seen the office in the back of the kitchen. This made me think it would be good to take the initiative so I got up and asked if there was anything I would do to help. I was told to wait for my trainer to come.

My supervisor came to see me at 9 am while I was reading the employee manual which I had with me. This appeared to annoy her, so my first duty was to go on my hands and knees in the kitchen with a small scrub brush to clean the grout between the tiles under the dishwasher.

After that, I polished 200 sets of silverware, folded napkins for lunch and dinner, then shined all glassware, I was told to go back in the kitchen to wash the pots and pans for the evening rush. I still had not had an orientation or introduction to the company or anyone on the team.

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When my break came at  pm, I clocked out, went straight home to write an email submitting my resignation. I got a call from HR to apologize for the experience and to come in to talk to the head of the department, but the damage was done.

First day  — and last.

This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.


1 Comment on “Hiring Wisdom: Why the First Day on the Job Is Most Important

  1. Mel – I will ‘see’ your bad first day, and raise you one. I took my first job – post newborn – with the 2nd largest employer in our community. I was hired as a Staffing Coordinator – in essence, an in-house temp staffing agency for the newly-purchased physician practices.

    My agreed-upon hours were to be 7a – 12noon, M-F. I was non-exempt and carried a pager (& had no formal HR background at that point….)

    Day 1: Arrived at facility front door, which was locked. Knocked, then pounded, and finally someone arrived from the back of the building and let me in – about 10 minutes past 7.

    I was led to my office – an inner room with a desk, computer, and nothing else. The secretary said our boss was not going to be in that day, and she would check to see what I was supposed to do. I couldn’t even turn on the computer, much less log in.

    At 9a, I called the HR Recruiter who had initially interviewed me, and she apologized for the issues. The Secretary must have been called because she then took me around the facility and introduced me to other personnel on site. I spent the last few hours reviewing the Employee Handbook.

    And despite that inauspicious start, I did go back the next day. But I’ll save that story (about my manager) for another time…. In the end, she was downsized, and my FTE thankfully for my career, was redeployed to HR. Onward, and upward.

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