12 most timely questions to ask when you have a new job

The first few weeks on the job is your time to learn about your new workplace and co-workers. Make sure you ask these questions.

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It used to be you had about 90 days to get up to speed at a new job. No one expected you to do your job competently before then.

Times have changed.

The need to quicken a new employee’s ramp-up time is greater than ever, but rarely will an employee handbook or how-to manual answer the most important questions (if such documents even exist). The nice thing about being new is you can ask all types of questions, and co-workers are generally gracious in responding.

The following 12 questions are only crucial to my ramp-up:

1. Where is the supply cabinet?

And the coffee pot, creamer, copy machine, scanner, bathroom, emergency exit, front-door key and any other obvious (but not always stated) need. Get these out of the way on your first day, and you’ll feel less at sea when inevitable ambiguities arise.

2. What’s your preferred mode of communication?

Some people like email, others prefer the phone and still others want to talk face-to-face. Find out the preferences of as many of your key internal and external contacts as possible. You’ll save yourself a lot of frustration.

3. What are you working on?

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