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10 questions to ask your first day on the job

CareerBuilder | August 14, 2017

10 questions to ask first day on the job

The best way to set yourself up to meet—and exceed—your new boss’ expectations is to ask questions.

The first day at a new job can be overwhelming. You worked hard during the interview process to convince your employer you’re the best person for the position, but now it’s time to prove it. And the best way to set yourself up to meet—and exceed—your new boss’ expectations is to ask questions.

Here are the top 10 questions you should ask your new boss on your first day:

1. What should I focus on doing today?

It’s important for you and your manager to align on expectations immediately, says Joseph Liu, a career change consultant and host of the Career Relaunch Podcast. Don’t assume you fully understand your role and begin working on a project incorrectly—or sit idly by and wait for someone to tell you to work. Asking this question conveys to your manager that you respect his or her authority, you’re a team player and you’re ready to hit the ground running.

2. Who are a few people I should try and meet this week?

Begin forming relationships with key stakeholders as soon as possible, says Elene Cafasso, executive career coach at Enerpace, Inc. Doing so will help you move up through your new company and achieve your goals. “Your success or failure will be determined by the relationships you create,” Cafasso says. “Be sure to communicate what you stand for and what you want to create in this position.”

3. Who do I report to when my manager is not available?

There will eventually be a time when your direct manager is unavailable due to meetings or absences. Knowing who to direct your questions to when this happens will help you remain calm and organized, says Grant van der Harst, managing director for Anglo Liners, a road marking company. “It also shows initiative and drive,” says van der Harst.

4. What’s your name?

Learning your new co-workers’ names is a top priority. So, introduce yourself. Being outgoing goes a long way toward establishing a rapport with the new colleagues you’ll be working with to achieve your goals, says Augustin Kennady, a media relations director at ShipMonk, an order fulfillment service and inventory management software company.

5. What’s the preferred channel of communication in the office?

“While you can definitely pick up on the primary means of communication just by observing your co-workers, it’s still important to ask your manager to clue you in on what’s appropriate and what’s not when sending messages or emails to others within the office,” says Zachary Painter, a career adviser and hiring manager at

6. What does that acronym mean?

Many companies have an internal set of abbreviations and ways of referring to products or processes. If co-workers are using an acronym you don’t understand, don’t pretend to know what they’re talking about. “It’s much better to admit your ignorance than to pretend you can do something that you can’t,” says Carlota Zimmerman, a New-York based success strategist.

7. How will I be reviewed?

Asking this question early is a sign of professionalism and transparency, says Eirini Kafourou, communications specialist at Megaventory Inc., an online inventory management system. “Knowing beforehand how you will be asked to present your work to your manager will help you to keep track of what you do the right way,” she says.

8. Will there be formal training?

It’s important to establish early on what you’re expected to be able to do on your own and what skills and training you should wait for, says Marc Prosser, co-founder of, a small business advice website.

9. What time is lunch?

Every workplace is different when it comes to lunch times. Some allow 30 minutes, while some allot an hour. Avoid making a faux pas and ask about the company’s lunchtime policy, says Teresa Walsh, marketing executive at, an online vehicle checker in the UK.

10. Where’s the bathroom?

It seems like a no-brainer, but you’ll want to get a feel for the layout of the office right away, and the bathroom is a major feature, Zimmerman says.

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