The first days and weeks on a job are the most critical when it comes to establishing a positive perception, learning the ropes, and building trust among your colleagues. It will be important to ask questions along the way, but it’s equally important to know what not to say as you start your new job.
Questions for Your Boss
In order to have a good working relationship with your new supervisor, you’ll need to get a feel for the type of manager you’re working with. It is also essential to be clear about your exact responsibilities on the job. It is appropriate to ask your new boss questions like:
- How often do you prefer to receive project updates?
- Do you like those updates to be made via email, telephone, or face-to-face?
- What are your goals for my first month?
- How will you measure my success in that first month?
- How does this position fit into the “big picture” of the organization?
- If I get stuck, who on the team is easily approachable for help?
Questions for Co-workers
Current employees can be wary of a new team member. They may wonder if you will upset the rhythm of the office, if you’ll get along with everyone, or even if you’ll upstage them. You’ll want to get to know your new colleagues and build a rapport by asking questions that show genuine interest in who they are and what they do. You might ask:
- Tell me about your experience working on (project that you are assigned to).
- What types of projects do you head up?
- Do my responsibilities overlap with yours? In what ways?
- What types of qualities do you like to see in your teammates?
- What can I do to assist you and the team in achieving our goals?
What Not to Say
While it is important to ask questions as a new employee, you don’t want to be seen as needy or slow to learn. Asking too many questions, or asking the wrong types of questions can start you off on the wrong foot with your new colleagues. Avoid the following:
- Don’t ask the same person the same question more than once. Keep a notebook and write things down.
- Don’t bother people if they look extremely busy, unless it’s an absolute emergency.
- Don’t ask your co-workers what happened to the person who held your job before.
- Don’t ask how often you get to leave early, or if your boss cares if you show up late. It shows a lack of motivation.
- Don’t ask anyone out on a date.
- Don’t ask anyone how much they are paid.
- Don’t turn down lunch invitations in your first few weeks. Be approachable and friendly at all times.
Always remember that your first few days and weeks on the job are going to be stressful. You will probably make some mistakes. Don’t be hard on yourself if you hit a few snags along the way. Prepare yourself, ask questions, and do your best. There is always the next day to start over and get it right.
If you are looking for job search guidance, contact The Prevalent Group today. We are a nationally recognized management and executive placement company that works with experienced professionals in sales, marketing, engineering, technology and more. We look forward to working with you.