Although many researchers have examined the impact of organizational tenure on newcomer socialization dynamics, few have explored whether relative tenure influences perceptions and behaviors inside organizations. This study introduces the concept of relative tenure and shows through a sociometric survey of 200 employees across four organizations that an individual's relative position in his or her firm's tenure distribution explains a significantly greater percentage of variance in newcomer status, social network position, and information-providing behavior than does absolute measures of tenure. The results suggest that organizational growth and turnover may have a bigger impact on newcomer socialization dynamics than has been discussed in the literature. The implications of the findings for socialization researchers and managers are discussed. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.