Arriving late, wearing inappropriate clothes – and bumping a colleague’s vehicle in the car park are among the biggest blunders made by employees on their first day at work, a study has found.

A poll of almost 3,000 workers revealed almost half have made a bad first impression after having a terrible or humiliating start to a new job.

Others arrived to find they were completely over-dressed, spilled tea everywhere, got lost en-route to the office and said something inappropriate because they were nervous.

But 95 per cent feel it’s important to make a good first impression on others when starting a new job, with 82 per cent believing they’re more likely to make a positive impact on their first day if they know they’ve got their clothing spot on.

The study was commissioned by 4imprint, as part of its ‘First Impressions’ campaign, having recently released a new range of corporate clothing to help UK organisations and their employees create a strong and lasting impression.

A spokesperson for 4imprint, said: “Starting a new job can be intimidating for a variety of reasons.

“From not knowing who you’ll be working with, not being 100 per cent sure how to get to your new workplace and worries over what to wear can make for a nerve-wracking first day.

“Our study found the importance of what you wear to work can make you feel as comfortable as possible on a first day and help create a great first impression.”

Turning up wildly over or even under-dressed was among the mistakes new workers do on a first day, with more than seven in 10 wishing they had a uniform for work, in a bid to make their first day – and consequently first impressions – easier to manage.

Other first-day nightmares to appear in the top 30 list include finding there was no allocated desk or computer to work at and being late due to nasty traffic.

Having a wardrobe malfunction and accidentally sending a sensitive email as a ‘staff all’ also feature in the list.

Meanwhile, one in three British workers have been introduced to someone on day one at work, then immediately forgotten their name.

One fifth have also been so nervous they’ve ended up blurting out something inappropriate or stupid – leading to quizzical looks from colleagues.

Others have accidently damaged company property, been over-friendly and had to ask how to turn the computer on.

But researchers found those who excelled on their first day put it down to being fully prepared and sufficiently knowledgeable about the company.

And when it comes to making a good impression, 58 per cent say arriving early works wonders while 57 per cent try to ask intelligent questions.

The spokesperson for 4imprint added: “A decision can be made about a person within 26 seconds of meeting them – which is why appearance is so important.

“Corporate work wear can provide reassurance to new starters and if your organisation operates in the service or retail sector then staff uniforms can also be vitally important for customers.”


Learned someone’s name then immediately forgotten it
Got someone’s name wrong
Was just too nervous
Finding they had no computer / desk to work at
Said something stupid due to nerves
Arrived at the wrong work address
Turned up completely overdressed compared to everyone else
Worn shoes that ended up being agonisingly painful by the end of the day
Had to have something simple explained numerous times
Got there late due to traffic
Being told they wasn’t the ‘first choice candidate’
Forgotten the code to get in or out of the office
Got there late due to public transport problems
Put their foot in their mouth during a conversation with someone
Turned up completely underdressed compared to everyone else
Been over friendly
Accidentally sent a sensitive email as a ‘staff all’
Made someone’s tea wrong
Said something inappropriate to a new colleague
Got there late due to other reasons
Damaged company property
Spilled tea everywhere
Took too long on a lunch break
Got the company name wrong
Went to the wrong address
Asked how to turn their computer on
Had a wardrobe malfunction like trousers splitting
Took a personal call that was frowned upon
Worn a tie when nobody else was wearing one
Had to leave early due to a family emergency.


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