Preparing for a New Job Orientation

You’ve landed the job, and you’ve been asked to attend the new job orientation.  This is your first glimpse of company culture.

What is the Purpose of Job Orientation

New job orientation should include some training, as well as a tour, and introductions to staff.  Shake hands heartily and make eye contact.

Pro tip: carry a tiny notebook and write names down, and the person’s shirt color.  You’ll probably lose the notebook, but you will recall that Louise was wearing the polka dot shirt the first day  It’s a surprisingly helpful mnemonic, and saves you from having to be another person who says, I’m terrible with names, which means your name wasn’t important to me.  Trust me, their name is important to them. This is an opportunity to ask questions.

What to Expect

Mentally prepare yourself for a possible onslaught of new people, new information, and possible jargona and job specific acronyms.  You may be choosing passwords, or learning clock-in protocols. It may be day full of policies and procedures, including dress code, locker space, and your job duties.  You may have to finalize details and paperwork that facilitate tax reporting and your salary.

The size of the new hire orientation group depends on the size of the company.  It may be formal, with a set curriculum and multiple sessions, or casual and unscripted.  If it less structured, you should have plenty of chances to ask the burning questions without interrupting your guide, and if it is structured, you should be provided with chances to ask, or you can ask at the end of each session.

Call Ahead

You’ll increase your chances of having a smoother day, if you call a few days in advance, to ask for specifics on what to bring and how to be properly prepared.  They might appreciate you looking over the employee handbook, and having some familiarity with it before your training starts. This may prevent some awkward surprises and you possibly disappointing your employer’s expectations on Day One.

Prepare the Night Before

Make sure your planned outfit still fits, and is clean and wrinkle free.  Be as rested as you can, barring family life and unexpected events. Treat sleep like part of your job.  You’ll be getting a lot of new information in the morning, so you’ll want to be alert.

Dress Appropriately

If you were given detailed dressing instructions, always err on the side of formality.  Look as polished as the day of your interview. Anticipate being on your feet all day, so don’t ignore comfortable shoes.  If you’re unsure, the person who scheduled your orientation is usually happy to help. They may be pleasantly surprised how proactive you are, and it may encourage them to inform other new hires.

Arrive Early

Account for the unexpected.  You don’t want parking and finding the building and suite number to throw you off, as you’re running late.

Bring a Notebook and a Pen

As mentioned earlier, this is handy, even if you only write down names, new acronyms, or questions you want to ask during break time.

Have Your Personal Information on Hand

Have all your details ready with you.  Oftentimes, you’ll be filling out W4 paperwork, tax details, possibly direct deposit details.  Know your Social Security number. The call ahead is an opportunity to find out whether they will be photocopying documents, whether you need to bring a canceled check, etc.

Bring a Snack

Stay hydrated.  Bring water and something to keep your physical energy and mental focus up.  You’re not familiar, yet with the food situation, and they may not provide any.

Inquire About What’s Next

Ask whether you will be undergoing any more training.  Should you be prepared to start right into the job on Day Two?  Your employer will have more confidence in you, and you will have more confidence the next day, so your transition into the workplace will be smooth.

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