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insights on communication skills

Insights on Communication Skills and Relationship Building

Business Communication: 5 Important Questions for New Hires to Ask

Posted by Elizabeth Levey on June 24, 2015

by Elizabeth Levey

elizabeth-levey-1Congratulations, you’ve got the job! After lengthy and nerve-wracking interview process, you’ve got the offer letter in your hot little hand. You’ve gone out with friends, popped the champagne, and arrived bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for your new hire orientation.

The onboarding process is fun, exciting, and sometimes overwhelming, as you’re bombarded with information ranging from corporate history to benefits to policy and procedure.  And the thing is, you don’t know what you don’t know. Usually there is some time during your new hire orientation to ask questions.  Take advantage of this business communication opportunity and ask questions that give you some insight into the inner workings of your new company, and set you on the path for professional success.  Here’s a few answers you may want to get for yourself:

Do you have a preference for my work schedule/hours?

Some bosses prefer you have a specific set schedule every day, and some don’t care what time you come in or leave, as long as you get your work done.  Make sure you understand your new boss’s (or department’s) expectations and how you can meet them.

What is our department dress code?

“Business Casual” is a very, very broad term, open to much interpretation.  What’s acceptable in your new position?  Jeans, open-toed shoes — what is the norm and expectation? Your powers of observation will come in handy too, as you scout out veteran colleagues to see how they’re attired.business-communication-new-hire

What is your preferred mode of business communication – email, IM, text, phone, in-person?

There’s no sense in blowing up Ted’s phone with texts if he doesn’t get great reception in his office and barely checks. Communication preferences and access can vary wildly, even within members of the same team. Make sure you know how to reach the key members when you need them, and the most direct way to do so.

Where does the team like to go for lunch?  What time does everyone normally go?

This can be especially critical if in an operations-based position, as you are often expected to cover for colleagues while they are at lunch or on break.  As the newest member of the team, chances are you’ll have to accommodate the conventions of the other members of the department, at least until you have a better understanding of the precedents in place.  Is there a cafeteria on site?  Is it easier to bring your own lunch from home?  Understanding these simple questions can help you be more prepared for your first days on the job. 

What can I expect in terms of reviews and evaluations?

Most companies have a review process in place, and your new manager or boss will let you know the timeline of these evaluations and the competencies that will be discussed.  But it’s also a good idea to mark it roughly on your own calendar as well, to keep it on your radar and to make sure you’re striving to meet expectations. No formal review process in place? Ask for one.  Tell your boss you’d like to meet in 6 months time to discuss your performance.  Initiating the evaluation process in these instances can make the difference in being proactive and prepared or caught unawares and on the defensive. 

Those are just a few suggestions of questions to ask during or shortly after your onboarding experience.  Have any suggestions or ideas of your own? Let us know in the comments below!

professional presence and soft skills

Topics: Communication, Professional Presence, Professional Communication Skills