3 Types of Questions You Should Ask to Succeed at Your New Job

Young business colleagues looking at documents and asking questions in a meeting.
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Starting a new job always presents an exciting challenge. It can take time to adjust to a new role, coworkers, and the workplace culture. At the same time, it’s also an exciting opportunity to learn and utilize your skills to help an organization achieve positive business results.

After all, new employees are hired for a reason and eager to make a positive impact right away.  However, there’s always a lot of information to digest when you first begin in a new role.

It’s common to feel nervous or a little anxious, especially for the first few days.

The good news is that there are ways to set yourself up for success and feeling confident and ready to embrace new opportunities.

New employees who want to set themselves up for success are curious and ask questions. Asking the right questions will help new employees understand what is expected of them, how they should prioritize their work, and what communication style works best. They will uncover and learn important background information about their new team and company.

Questions Employees Should Ask When Joining a New Organization

Here are the three types of questions that you should ask when joining a new organization:

1. Ask questions to understand the organization's expectations of your role.

You probably read through a list of expected responsibilities and tasks during the application and interview process for your new role.

However, your responsibilities are not usually limited to what is listed in your job description.

These are the types of questions you can ask to understand what is expected in your current role:

  • For what does your organization consider you responsible?
  • What goals do you have?
  • Is there a timeline for how quickly you are expected to become autonomous for certain tasks?
  • When and how will the organization review your performance?
  • What performance will your organization include in your review?
  • What process does your organization follow for performance reviews?
  • What does success look like in your new role?

Once you have the answers to these questions, you’ll understand the performance management process and the metrics used to measure your success. You can then factor this information into how you set your personal commitments for the year ahead.

2. Ask questions to understand politics and procedures.

New employees often feel as if they need to prove themselves and put their skills on display right out of the gate. This type of behavior on the first day, or within the first few weeks on the job, can come across as arrogant or over-zealous to your new coworkers.

You should try to get a good understanding of the narrative of your new company before you hit the ground running. Ask questions to understand what preceded your arrival and who you need to know and network with to help you get things done.

You'll also want to assess what processes are currently working and which processes need improvement.  Get to  know the challenges that the organization is currently facing and what is planned for the future.

Taking the time to understand your organization’s history and how your new team operates is a great way to earn the respect of your coworkers. A more patient approach to your involvement at your new office will help establish your own credibility and build trust with your new teammates.

3. Ask questions to understand the new office culture.

You likely discussed some aspects of your new organization’s culture before accepting your new role, but it is important to understand what that culture looks like on a daily basis.

Ask questions such as:

  • Does the organization expect you to make yourself available outside of the office or to take projects home with you?
  • How do your new colleagues prefer to communicate—by phone? Email? In person?
  • Are there any workplace clubs or sports teams you can get involved in to meet new people?
  • How are employees held accountable for commitments and goals?
  • What is acceptable behavior at work and what is not?

These questions will help you get a sense of how everything works to help you get settled into your new organization.

Setting Up for Success With Questions

Demonstrating curiosity and asking questions are two excellent ways to show your engagement, display that you are committed to learning, and let managers know you want to do well in your new role.

Additionally, asking questions is a great way to get to know your new colleagues and set the foundation for strong, long lasting relationships at work. Filling in your knowledge gaps by asking great questions will give you a head start on a rewarding career with your new organization.