How to Prepare for Job Orientation

by Audra Bianca

Before you gear up for your job orientation, it's important to note that each organization has its own approach. Some organizations have formal programs to orient you to your department or to the firm. Other organizations expect you to learn as you go from peers, trainers, managers or combinations of these people. Still other organizations have no program, leaving you to sink or swim. Ask questions about orientation when you accept a job offer or ask human resources to help you prepare.

Get the Details

Learn the date, time and location of orientation sessions. You might have to travel to different sites to complete the entire program. Ask the human resources office about the professional dress code and any materials or websites you should read before orientation. An employer might have business and casual dress policies. It's better to show up early and overdressed.

Learn the Employee Culture

Your new employer has a culture, including behavioral norms, values, attitudes and habits employees share. During orientation, you could feel overwhelmed as you're introduced to many people and given stacks of new information. There will be time to read new materials later, but pay close attention to employee behaviors. See how presenters dress and speak. Every organization has its own language, including terms and gestures that make mutual understanding easier.


It's best to arm yourself with more information. Take a regularly scheduled tour of the new workplace, if it's available. Start a binder and place a copy of your offer letter in it as well as the job posting and any other information you have about the firm. Go to the orientation venue, which might not be your regular work site, and locate parking and a place to get lunch during orientation day. Review information on the company website, keeping in mind some information may be outdated. Write a list of questions about the company's programs, benefits and policies. Many questions will be answered during the first few days on the job.

Relax Your Expectations

Don't get too nervous before orientation. The first day will go by fast and will offer few opportunities for work. Get a good night's sleep before the first day. Expect to meet your boss and co-workers, take a tour of the building, explore your office or work area and receive instructions about access to computers, equipment and office supplies. You'll learn basic procedures, such as signing in and out, punching a time clock, using your mailbox and telephone number and operating the copier. You could have several meetings with the boss, possibly a meal or two, and a session to discuss job duties and general expectations. Don't panic if the boss is tied up in meetings or absent on your first day.

Human Resources Orientation

Some employers require employees to attend a separate HR orientation program on their first day, before the official start date or during the first few months of employment. The HR unit plans an agenda of speakers who will explain different policies and procedures and benefit programs. Not all rules or benefits will apply to you, but the overview can help you understand your organization. You might meet people who will be working in other departments as well as your own.

About the Author

Audra Bianca has been writing professionally since 2007, with her work covering a variety of subjects and appearing on various websites. Her favorite audiences to write for are small-business owners and job searchers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and a Master of Public Administration from a Florida public university.

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