The Best Questions to Ask on Your First Day at a New Job
The first day at a new job can feel a whole lot like the interviews you went through to land that job. You're still nervous, excited, and desperate to make a strong first impression. Only now, you also want to get your bearings and figure out how exactly you fit into this new place.
So, how do you play your cards just right to understand this new workplace? With a little planning, you can ask the perfect questions to tactfully get the information you need. Here are the questions you should ask on the first day of a new job to set yourself up for success--and to make a good impression while you do it.
"How can my job make your job easier?"
The main objective of this question is, of course, to suck up to your manager. In a tactful way! In addition to ingratiating yourself, you will also be asking for valuable information about how you can make yourself a true asset. The answer here could also reveal what exactly your manager really expects from you. Hearing directly from a boss why your role is important will be more meaningful than a bunch of bullet points from the original job description.
"What are my main objectives for week one?"
It takes some time to get used to a new work routine. Some workplaces take care to ease you into the swing of things; others will throw you right in the deep end. Make sure to gauge expectations for what you'll be accomplishing the very first week. A good follow-up question here would be to ask what you should be working on in the gray area between onboarding and official job duties.
"What's the best way to approach you with a question?"
A good working relationship with your manager is all about communication. Sure, you could directly ask, "What are your communication preferences?" But that phrasing could lead to abstract answers, like "My door is always open!" With this more specific ask, you can get a more specific answer. Like "I never check Slack, come talk to me," or "Never come talk to me, I only use Slack."
More importantly, when asking this question, how your boss responds can tell you more than what they say. How are you two communicating right now? Is it a video call and they seem distracted? Or is it instant messaging and they are indeed responding instantly? Read the room to get a better idea of how they operate.
"How can I share my ideas?"
So you've found out your manager's communication preferences. Here, your ulterior motive is to demonstrate that you're someone who is self-motivated and ready to contribute to the team. However, you don't want to clog information channels, or come off as too presumptuous around your new coworkers. Asking when, where, and how you should share ideas is a strong way to prove that you're about to be a valuable asset to this workplace.
"When will I have evaluations and informal check-ins?"
It's important to understand your workplace's feedback process right off the bat, so that you're not caught off guard down the line. The key here is to get an answer about the informal performance reviews, aka the more casual check-ins you need to make sure you're living up to expectations at work. This question should also open up a conversation about how you best receive guidance and constructive criticism when you're on the job.
"What should I know about the company culture?"
For a lot of us, this question is code for "How can I not be an asshole?" Under the umbrella of "company culture," you'll want to find out about work-life balance, coworker relationships, and how you can balance being a team player with maybe not attending every office hang.