Starting a new job can be an exciting, but nerve-wracking, experience. After all, there's so much information to take in, different coworkers to meet, and a physical office space you'll need to learn to navigate. If you want to make your life easier during this transition and start your new role on the right note, here are some key questions to ask early on.
1. What research can I do independently to get up to speed?
Even if you're not new to the industry, starting a new role generally means learning a bunch of things about how your company works. And chances are, your boss doesn't have the time to teach you every little thing you need to know. That's why it pays to be proactive about getting up to speed. Ask your manager for some homework during your first few days on the job so you can find out more about your company's operations and learn to recognize key tasks and priorities.
2. Are there people at the company I can shadow?
One of the best ways to learn at a new company is to observe those employees who have been doing their jobs well for quite some time. In addition to your own independent research, express your interest in shadowing others so you can see how they spend their days, tackle key tasks, and interact with other teams. Shadowing colleagues at different levels might also provide an opportunity for you to ask questions about the ins and outs of the business and pick up tips you might otherwise not be privy to.
3. What's the best way to communicate?
This is a good question to ask your boss, because it'll not only make your life easier, but theirs, as well. It pays to find out whether your manager likes to discuss things over email versus phone versus impromptu meetings, because it's a preference you can easily accommodate. And knowing the best way to reach your boss will help you avoid the frustration that might otherwise come with feeling ignored early on in your role.
4. What hours do you expect me to be available?
This is another key question for your boss, because the last thing you want is to mistakenly dart out a little early one day, only to find out that your manager had planned on stopping by your desk for a chat. If your company doesn't have set hours for its employees, ask your boss when he or she typically arrives in the morning and leaves in the evening, and if your hours should match up to theirs. It may very well be that your manager is flexible and doesn't really care what hours you put in as long as your work gets done, but knowing that early on is important either way.
5. Can we schedule a one-week check-in?
A lot can change over the course of a week, especially when it comes to a new job. That's why it's crucial to schedule a check-in with your boss to review what you've learned and discuss any concerns you might have. Ask for a brief meeting early on -- otherwise, your manager's calendar might book up.
Starting a new job can be both thrilling and stressful at the same time. Asking the right questions early on, however, can make that transition go much more smoothly -- not just for you, but for your boss, as well. And that's something you'll both come to appreciate.