How to read your boss’ mind

When you start a new job, you’ve got to prove your worth from the get-go. But how can you tell if the boss is satisfied with your work?
Can’t tell if the boss thinks you’re up to snuff? Don’t sit around waiting for praise. If you want to keep your new job, you’ve got to identify their expectations and start delivering.

Here are the basics for finding out what they want:

1. Ask to have your job description and objectives in writing

“The best way to find out what your boss expects is to establish a written agreement with them,” says Gilles Rouleau, a certified human resources counsellor at SAG Inc., a firm that specializes in executive recruiting. As soon as you’re hired, ask your boss to provide you with a list of your tasks as well as the projects and objectives they have in mind for you over the next few months.

2. Plan a follow-up meeting

“All companies need to evaluate the performance of new staff members,” states Rouleau, who goes on to say that if you haven’t heard a peep from your supervisor after a few weeks on the job, it’s up to you to suggest a meeting. Don’t be shy about asking if your work is making the grade. If you’re not on the right track, you can always make adjustments.

3. Be up-front with your superiors

“Direct and frank communication between bosses and employees in crucial,” believes Rouleau. Not sure you understand the instructions you’ve been given? Or still wondering if you’re going about your work properly? Be honest and tell your boss about your doubts. “Don’t be shy about asking questions—after all, they show that you are interested in meeting the company’s needs.”

4. Ask your co-workers

Rouleau suggests watching your office mates to see how they operate. For example, if you’re a software programmer, check the work done by other employees and ask them what the bosses are looking for. Your colleagues should be able to shed some light on how much work you’re expected to plough through in a week and how critical you should be of any inconsistencies in the programs.