Near-mastery of a new accounting job during the first 90 days is critical for new hires, survey data suggest.
More than half (54%) of the 2,200 US CFOs polled by financial recruitment firm Robert Half Finance & Accounting said newly hired accountants have less than three months to prove themselves in the new job.
“They’re not asking for perfection,” said Kathleen Downs, Robert Half senior vice president. “They want to see whether the new hire is a good fit.”
They want to see whether newly hired accountants, especially those at the beginning of their careers, are taking direction well, picking up the technology, asking good questions, taking notes, and having a positive attitude, Downs said. The onboarding process also usually includes managers taking the new hires to lunch about two weeks into starting on the job to find out how things are going.
Joseph Rugger, CPA, CGMA, director of finance and operations at Jonesboro Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory, a health-care provider in Jonesboro, Arkansas, said he usually gives new hires about six months to settle in at the new job. But there are a few things that new employees need to get right the first three months, he said.
Dependability is a must. So is an eagerness to get things done, which Rugger looks for in the body language and actions of new hires. He wants people to promise less than they deliver.
Rugger, who is a Millennial, also has a tip specific for new employees of his own generation. “Please don’t be on your cellphone every time I come by,” he said. “Millennials think they can do three and four things at the same time. You can’t be texting and working at the same time.”
What he’s mainly looking for the first three months is progress, he said. “I’m looking for you not to make the same mistake twice.”
Downs had six tips for new hires, particularly Millennials, to master the first 90 days:
—Sabine Vollmer (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a CGMA Magazine senior editor