One of the things that H1B visa holders who start their IT consulting career and land in their first job in America are not sure is : what to expect on first day of job and How to handle the pressure at the client during first week. Most of the times, you have worked in your home country for some client, but never worked as an IT consultant at client site. It is very important that you setup the stage properly in the first day or week for keep your job at client and succeed. If you screw up and be nervous, you may jeopardize your job. Let me share you few thoughts on how to handle first week and what questions to ask, what NOT to do and few tips.
Background : What happens on First day of your Job at Client ?
Typically (not always), You go to the company reception desk and you will be received by the manager who interviewed you and you will be assigned a cube or just a place to work in open area depending on the company. You will be introduced to other team members that you will work with. Sometimes, there may be team meeting and you will be part of it. Your manager will introduce and give some background of what you will be doing, etc. Your access will be setup and you may have to sign some papers sometimes. You will have a meeting with your immediate manager who hired you or who you will report to and they will tell you what to do. This is the general process in most of the companies. Remember, you are hired as a consultant, so you are hired for a specific purpose in a project or support role.
What questions to ask Managers on First day ?
For you to succeed in the company, it is very important for you to understand how things work in the company and how the company’s business works. You really have to have a solid foundation in the first week, you really do not want to give wrong recommendations or wrong comments that can create issues. You may be nervous about lot of things, but you have to step up and ask some questions and get the information from your manager… Depending on your project either development or Support You can ask questions like below…some are jus administrative related stuff, but you need to know the process.
- What is the Support Model at this company ?
- How does Change management handled in company ?
- What is approval process for change requests ?
- What is the issue tracking system ?
- How are issues escalated ?
- Where is the documentation ? Can I get access ?
- Can I get the functional Specs ? Business documents ? Test plans?
- What are the conventions used for naming or templates ?
- How does tasks get assigned ?
- Do we have team meetings ? Weekly meetings ?
- What is our landscape like ? Versions ?
- Any home grown software ?
- What is the dress code ? Are we allowed to work flex hours ?
- Do we get laptop ? Can we work from home ?
- How do we interact with other teams ? Group Conference calls ? Meetings ?
- How critical is the project ? What phase are we in ?
I can keep on writing…all in all, the point is ask and know as much as you can in the beginning itself. Get all the access. You are better off asking if you can get laptop, so that you may prepare at home and be more prepared for work.
Are you Not Outgoing or have less Communication skills? How to talk to Managers and Colleagues ?
Remember, you are hired as an expert or consultant. So, you better know your stuff. It is a wise ideas to go over your previous projects that you worked on and be up to date. As you are in your first job as a consultant, you may be a little nervous and you may not be as outgoing as many or have less communication skills. In reality, to succeed in consulting, you need to slowly improve your communication skills. Anyways, the key idea is, when you talk to your managers or colleagues, be careful and try not to make a fool of yourself because you do not have good communication skills. Just talk less and talk only that you are fully aware of and possibly technical stuff that you are familiar with. Try to talk in terms of business. Try to related your previous projects with your current client business scenarios. Your challenge is to relate the business models of current and previous companies and then talk to the client managers or colleagues in that terms. If you talk in this way, this sends out a strong message to them that you know what you are talking. I know so many smart people because of lack of good communication skills faced challenges at client site…anyways, do not put too much pressure on yourself and talk less and ask more and learn more about the company business and their infrastructure. If you are outgoing, go out for lunch with colleagues. If you are not outgoing, just eat at your desk… Try to talk less and listen more from client managers or colleagues. Avoid personal questions until you are comfortable with everyone, just talk about company or the city. Overall, the key thing is do NOT be nervous, think of it as just another job and you will be fine. Ask as much as you can and learn as much as you can. Dress well and look professional.
Do you have any other suggestions ?
You may also read, How is Client interview from Mangers ? Questions asked
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