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Blog>Guides>10 Questions to Ask During Your First Week At a New Job

10 Questions to Ask During Your First Week At a New Job

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No doubt about it: starting a new job can be downright nerve racking. You’ve barely had time to bask in the glory of getting the job offer when your excitement starts to get overshadowed with an overload of nail-biting questions. What can I expect in my first week at work? What exactly will my work hours be? Will I be required to work overtime? When do my benefits kick in? Is there a 401K? And on and on it goes. We’re here to get you off that merry-go-round of never-ending concerns so that your head can stop spinning. Here is an arsenal of questions for that first week on the job so that you can leave the anxiety behind and put all of your energy into focusing on the thing you’re there for in the first place: the job itself.

5 Questions to Ask Human Resources (HR)

First thing’s first: the gateway to getting insider information on any job is always Human Resources, or HR as it’s commonly known. Collecting and understanding all the information on the housekeeping aspect of the job can feel like a whole other job unto itself and can easily make us feel a little uneasy. But being prepared ahead of time will not only help those nerves fall into the shredder, but it will also help you feel on top of all of the personnel information you personally need to know.

How do I sign up for insurance benefits if that is available to me?

Certain required benefits, like social security and workers’ compensation, go into effect on an employee’s first day of work. Some companies have optional benefits — like health plans for example — that go into effect immediately, while others can take up to 90 days to come into effect.

Your HR department is a key player on the team that helps select insurance and other benefits your employer provides. Because they are part of these conversations, they can be very helpful in understanding your coverage. Sometimes they will help you personally, and other times they can refer you to someone who can provide more guidance, like a health insurance broker or agent who can help with more specific questions about the plans being offered.

What other perks are available to all employees?

Does my job provide extended health care or dental? Do I get paid time off for vacation, illness or bereavement for example? What about a retirement savings plan like a 401K or even life insurance? Asking these very important questions early on will “perk” you up to the information you need to be aware of and plan for the time off or for when life takes an unpredictable turn — which it inevitably will.

How do I enroll in 401(k) or rollover my existing 401(k)?

It’s important to find out if you’ll be automatically enrolled in a basic 401K plan and how much will be deducted from each paycheck in contribution to the plan. If you already had an existing 401K plan from your previous job, you’ll need to find out how you can rollover the old account. Do you need to get in touch with your old employer so that the money can be transferred directly from your old plan to the new one or will you receive the outstanding money by check to close out the old account? Additionally, will your company match any of your contributions? This is important information to be on top of so that you know what next steps — if any — that you need to take.

What should I know about the company culture?

Company culture is what makes the workplace go round. To put it bluntly: the culture lays the groundwork for how you do what you do in the company. Company culture is the formal behavior and values combined with the informal behavior and values. Together, it creates a unique experience for both employees and customers.

Some important questions to pose for the new position can include:

  • How does your company respond and overcome failures?
  • How would HR characterize the company’s overall management style?
  • What is the company’s approach to team building and career development?
  • How are employees recognized for their efforts?
  • What is the work-life balance like here?

Getting a sense of the responses will help you understand what it’s going to be like and what the expectation will be in your new professional setting.

Do you need any additional information from me to complete my payroll forms?

You’ll want to know how you’ll get paid come payday. Some employees get a choice as to whether they want to be paid via check or direct deposit into their bank account. HR will ask for either a void check or your banking information, including your bank, account number, branch number, transit number, and the like. Of course, they’ll also need any pertinent tax information as well as your signature on the various paperwork. They’ll also have your email on hand if they require any further information from you.

5 Questions to Ask Your Boss

This one might be a little anxiety-inducing, but it’s still essential to get your most pressing questions in right off the bat when it comes to a new job and your boss is probably the best person to answer all of these questions. You want to be able to understand how the new company operates and how you can contribute through your position. It's important to prioritize and organize your thoughts by planning the right questions to ask as soon as you begin work. Your new boss expects that you will have questions — and will welcome them — and this will make the early weeks of your job run a lot smoother.

What are the expectations for my work hours?

This is important to know for your own schedule — especially if you have to work out things like picking up the kids from school or daycare. Will you be expected to work overtime some days? Is overtime voluntary? How many overtime hours are expected from you? What about weekends? Are there career development workshops outside of work hours? How often do these take place and again, are they voluntary or mandatory? Getting a grasp on questions like these will help you to get a grasp on the job jitters.

What are the expectations for my position in the first 90 days?

When it comes to starting a new job, your first 90 days will be all about making that first but lasting impression. After all, it’s in the first three months that you’ll meet the team, learn the organization, and begin your work. Those 90 days will set the tone of your time at the organization, so of course you want to position yourself in the best possible way in order to prove that you have the potential to be a valuable part of the team.

It’s also important to know if you’ll be on probation the first three months of your job. Will they reassess at that time depending on how well you do? We recommend having a list of questions prepared beforehand so that you don’t forget anything, and then jotting the responses down so that you always have them in the back of your mind.

What are my main objectives for this first week?

Will there be any training the first week on the job? Can you take things at your own pace for the first few days or will you be expected to keep up with other employees? Are there any goals that you should do your best to meet by the end of the first week? Asking these kinds of questions lets your employer know you intend to do your best to meet their needs and expectations during the introductory period. It also helps you know what goals you should be working toward as you start your new job.

What tools should I familiarize myself with?

This is vital to your success with the company. Knowing what you need to know on the digital front is absolutely key. You’ll want to make sure you’re up to date on the programs and software your company uses so that you’re on the same technical page. This would include any devices, equipment, mechanisms, resources, and applications — basically anything that is utilized during the job to assist you in completing your task.

Something else to think about: are there any active learning strategies you can partake in, for example? It’s also worth asking if there are any problem-solving and analysis skills you should either learn or brush up on. Getting an idea of how to hit the ground running will help you get off to the best possible start.

What will my daily tasks consist of?

Of course, you’ll need to know what you’ll be doing from day to day and what the timelines are for tasks, projects, and milestones. It would also be worth asking if there are any upcoming projects not mentioned in the job description to help you get a handle of what’s coming on the horizon. You may also be wondering if you’ll be at the computer the whole day, or if there will be any meetings to sit in on and how often — not to mention what to do to prepare for them. Getting a heads up on the tasks ahead will help you to get your head in the game of what to expect and what you need to do to be the company’s most prominent rising star.

Get One Step Closer to Your First Day on the Job

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