The things that are the hardest to ask are often the most basic pieces of information. They’re embarrassing, they’re too personal, or you feel like they might be stupid to say out loud. How great would it be if someone could ask for you? Someone has! Read on for the best ways to tackle even the most awkward first-job questions:
What questions you shouldn't feel silly asking in a job interview:
How much will I earn?
Ah the money question – always a sensitive one. The best time to discuss money really depends on who is managing the recruitment process for you. If you are dealing with a recruitment agency, they will be able to give you a rough idea of the salary range for the role from your first chat with them. If you are applying for a role directly through the company, the job ad should provide a salary range and specifics can be discussed with the HR team once you have reached offer stage.
What should I wear to work on the first day?
The best way to suss this one out is to pay attention to what people in the office are wearing during your interview stage – if you notice everyone is in corporate wear, make sure you follow suit. If everyone is in smart casual, it is still a safe bet to arrive for your first day in a suit – always better to be overdressed than underdressed! During your first day you’ll get a really good sense of how others present themselves at work so it will be much easier making a wardrobe choice for the second day.
How do I know what is the right behaviour?
We don’t know the culture in your new office, but it’s a safe bet that behaving like a mature professional is required in any workplace. Don’t yell at people over the partition or over the other side of the office, don’t swear, and don’t start sharing personal stories just yet. Be friendly, but until you really get to know your colleagues, behave around them in the same way you did during your interview process.
Where are the toilets?
True story – I once knew a girl who was too embarrassed to ask where the ladies’ toilets were when she started her new role, so she would walk up the road to McDonald’s each time she needed a bathroom break. Poor girl – turns out the ladies’ were on the floor above, but with all male co-workers, nobody had thought to tell her. You will very likely be taken on a tour of the office when you start so you may not even need to ask, but if you’re not sure, don’t be shy – it can be a good way to break the ice with your new cubicle neighbour!
I have some leave already booked – what should I do?
Another true story - when I started my first job, I had pre-booked some doctor’s appointments. Not knowing if I would get the job or not, I didn’t say anything about these appointments until after I was offered the role. I decided to tell my new boss at the end of my first day, wanting to give her as much notice as I could about these upcoming absences. She was great about it and understood why I hadn’t said anything during the interview process – it wasn’t necessary and wouldn’t have influenced their hiring decision. The point of the story is that honesty is the best policy. You don’t have to go into detail if you don’t want to, but get that booked leave out on the table as soon as possible.
Starting your first job should be an exciting time! Sure there’ll be nerves, but with these questions out of the way, you can get on with the good stuff – like enjoying your fabulous new job!