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5 Questions to ask during your first week at a new job

When you join a new company you expect everything to run smoothly. From onboarding to meetings to new projects, we have this inherent desire to make this company better than our last. After all, we left for a reason, right?

I am certain every company does their best to try and offer the best onboarding experience possible, but sometimes things get left undone. This is where I find it so helpful to ask a few pertinent questions during the first week on the job. Remember: You don’t get what you don’t ask for.

Let‘s take a look at five things to ask: 

1. Are there any onboarding trainings I need to take?

The first weeks at a new job tend to be relatively slow. It is actually the perfect time to get up-to-speed on company how-to’s by completing the company trainings that will help prepare you for your role. You might also ask if there is a specific onboarding training/document for your team. These also help fill some downtime you might have. If anything, it is always good to be proactive and get them done early. 🙌🏻

2. Do you recommend I meet with certain colleagues to learn more about our team and the company? If so, who?

One of the things I love to do is send out an email to my current team to let them know we have a new hire. I ask them to set up a 15 minute coffee chat with our newbie to discuss their personal role and how it fits into the larger project/team. This gives the newbie a chance to meet friendly faces on the team and start to piece the puzzle together or how the team is comprised.

I don’t believe it stops with their current team members, so I also instruct the newbie to reach out to specific colleagues in the extended organization. The reason for this? It helps them understand the broader organization, meet new colleagues, and make connections that could make them more successful on their project.

Guess what? Not every manager will be proactive about this. That‘s why I would encourage you to ask your boss if there are certain colleagues you should meet with to learn more about the team/company. Just try it - it never hurts to make a work friend. 🙃 

3. Does the company have a formal mentor program?

When you first join an organization, the entire experience can seem relatively daunting. Some organizations setup a formal Mentor Program to help employees get acclimated to the workplace, set them up for success within the organization, have someone guide you along your career path, as well as create a safe environment for you to address both personal and professional topics. Whether your organization has a formal program or not, it is crucial that a mentor and mentee have a good working relationship. You need a mentor that you can trust, someone who will help elevate your career, as well as call you out on your shit. 

What’s the best way to find out about a mentor program? Just ask 😉

4. What does the standing meeting landscape look like for my role? 

My current role has the following standing meetings (and a bajillion one-offs): 5 weekly, 3 bi-weekly, 1 monthly, 2 quarterly

You can see how maybe a standing meeting or two might slip through the cracks and not get forwarded to you. It takes very little effort to recap to your manager which standing meetings you have on the calendar and ask if there is anything missing you need to attend.

5. How often will performance/feedback reviews take place in the first year?

My motto is: direct, real-time feedback is always best. However there are advantages to doing things like a 30-60-90 day review with a new hire. It offers the newbie an opportunity to reflect on their performance (<— helps you set a baseline for how well they believe they are doing!!) and gives you a more formal opportunity to think through their successes and any areas of improvement.

Feedback is important. It is s as mechanism to help ourselves grow. Since not everyone willingly offers up regular feedback, what is the best way to get it? Just ask 😉

I refer back to my previous statement in the second paragraph: You don’t get what you don’t ask for. These questions above are so simple, yet so many are embarrassed to ask them. I want you to start off on a good foot at this new company of yours, and I hope these questions will help set you up for success.

As always, if you are looking to give back to working mamas, please purchase one of our children’s books: A Stay-at-Home Dad?