I have a personality that many folks say they find engaging and a big asset to me.

In a new job should I be out-going and gregarious and try to engage and talk to as many people as possible, or should I aim to be as quiet as possible as listen as much as possible? If so, for how long?


Yes, you should engage as many people as possible. Listen a lot more than you talk. Keep your opinions and advice to yourself for a while.

  • 1
    Be open and gregarious. It's who you are, and most can tell when you're pretending to be someone you're not. However, when you talk, ask questions about what's going on, and how things work. Seriously listen to the answers you get. Everyone's "truth" comes with its own flavor, but it is vital information you need to have. – Wesley Long Jul 15 '13 at 15:09

In any job, you should be yourself; one would hope that being yourself is what helped get you the job in the first place. If you were outgoing and engaging in your interview, then that is what your new employer will expect. (Similarly, if someone is meek and quiet in an interview, and gets the job, that will be what the new employer expects as well.)

However, of course what the hiring manager might have valued in you may not be what all your other colleagues value in a co-worker, so you must remain aware of other people's needs/likes/dislikes and adjust accordingly, just like you would when interacting with anyone for the first time. Always, still, be yourself, and if Joe Smith can't take your level of co-worker engagement but Jane Jones can, then adjust as the situation calls for it.

The only way you're going to know the lay of the land is to engage, and if you are naturally predisposed to engage, then that's super. Remain respectful of boundaries but still be yourself. If people don't like it, they'll say something to you or your manager, and if you are new you'll get the grace period to adjust without repercussions.


It's a good idea to read the emotions of the people around you.

One of my interviews went amazingly well. I had posted a resume on Monster, been invited the next day (Friday) to interview the next Monday. The hiring manager was lapping up my story, and after half an hour introduced me to the owner, who hired me on the spot. I was set up in a cubie the next day.

When I started circulating through the bull pen, however, I discovered that no one in the ranks was initiating conversations, and didn't particularly like hanging around if I started one. There were a couple of other big talkers in the group, but they had their hands full - I could tell their project was in serious trouble. So I progressively backed off until I could figure out what was going on.

Turns out the company was not so much a developer as it was simply a documenter - they read source code and flowcharted business rules, but didn't write anything. Much of this was done through code analysis software, so a lot of the people simply ran scripts on files, and cleaned up the generated flowcharts. Having a real programmer in their midst was a bit threatening.

The project I was engaged in was a new direction - actual development rather than simply documentation. As we hired other people to fill in, the original workforce, with a few exceptions, warmed up. Some of them got new and more interesting work as a result of the project I was working on, and I was able to bring them up to speed on salient points. Initially, I was viewed as a bull in a china shop.


You should use examples from the new work place to dictate your habits. See how the people who are in the position you want to be are behaving. There is no 'one' solution or answer to your question as it is very dependent on the situation and work environment. Until you understand the workplace a little more I would opt for a conservative amount of engagement.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.