You landed the job—now what? Many employers require that new employees go through an orientation process to assimilate into the workplace and become familiar with what's expected of them, now that they're hired.
Here's what you need to know about new job orientations, as well as how to prepare.
The Purpose of a Job Orientation
Think of your job orientation as part-introduction, part-training session, and part-tour of the facility where you’ll be working. Your supervisor will familiarize you with the workplace, the company culture, and even your co-workers. Your job orientation is also an opportunity for you to ask questions, and to learn as much as you can about what's expected of you at your new job.
The orientation may take place prior to you starting employment, or you could spend the beginning of your tenure at the job participating in an orientation program.
Before you go, take the time to review the things you'll need to do to get ready to start your job on the right foot.
What to Expect at a Job Orientation
When you attend an orientation for a new job, expect to meet a lot of people and be ready to absorb a lot of information.
Company operations. Your employer will likely brief you on the day-to-day procedures—such as clocking in and clocking out, where to put your belongings, what to wear—as well as explain your responsibilities and tasks, and introduce you to people who you'll be working with. You'll also be informed about your salary, benefits, and expected hours.
Group vs. individual orientation sessions. Depending on the size of the company and the number of new hires, you may be part of a group orientation or it may be just you. The orientation may be formal with scheduled sessions held on one or several days, or it could be more casual without a pre-set agenda.
Questions and answers. Inevitably, a lot of questions will come up as you are presented with so much new information. While it's important to be an active listener, don't be afraid to bring up any questions or concerns—but do so tactfully, without interrupting the entire orientation process.
Remote orientations. If you’re working a remote or hybrid schedule, your orientation may be held online. You’ll be advised how to log in and access the materials you’ll need to get oriented to your new job.
How to Prepare for a New Job Orientation
Although you shouldn't stress too much over a new job orientation—after all, your employer is well aware that it's your very first day—there are steps you can take to ensure the process goes smoothly.
Here are tips for attending a new job orientation:
Call or Email to Confirm
It doesn't hurt to give your employer a ring or send an email a few days before the orientation and ask if there's anything specific you need to bring or anything you need to know in advance. For example, some companies request that you review the employee handbook prior to your orientation—and if you're given any materials in advance, be sure to take them seriously. That way, there won't be any surprises on orientation day.
What to Wear
Unless you were given detailed dressing instructions, look professional and polished, and dress at the same level of formality that you did at your interview. If you expect to be on your feet the entire day, make it a priority to wear comfortable shoes.
If you're not sure what to wear, ask the person who scheduled your orientation for advice.
Remember you need to account for time to find the location, park, and check in with your supervisor. If the orientation is online, check that your technology is in working order ahead of time, and login in a couple of minutes early. The last thing you want to be is late on the first day!
Bring a Notebook and a Pen
There's no way you can remember everything you've learned on the first day, and although you might not have the opportunity to jot notes down, it's nice to have the resources on hand in case there's anything crucial you need to remember. It can be helpful write down questions to ask at the end of the orientation, instead of interrupting in the middle of the process.
Have Your Personal Information on Hand
You may be required to fill out a W4 tax form, in which case you'll need to know your Social Security number as well as your relevant tax details. Make sure you bring a copy of this information if you don't know it off the top of your head. It can also be useful to bring your banking information (bank account and routing numbers) in so you can set up a direct deposit for your paycheck if you desire.
Bring a Snack
You might have a long day ahead of you, and there's no guarantee that food and water will be provided. To avoid feeling burnt out by mid-day, bring something to snack on, as well as a drink to keep you hydrated. That way, you'll avoid the crankiness that comes along with hunger pains, and you'll fly through your orientation and be ready for the first day on your new job!
Inquire About What's Next
Impress your employer by taking the initiative and asking what's next. For example, will you have formal job training? Will there be further orientation sessions? Or will you start off as a regular employee the next time you come in?
By having that information, you'll be able to proceed with confidence as you assimilate into the workplace and become used to your new job. Once you get the scoop on the next steps, you can prepare to start your new job, and make the best possible impression on your new co-workers.