Career Advice

What is Job Orientation: Your FAQs Answered

employee onboarding process

You applied for a job, and the interview went well. Now, you’ve accepted the offer, and your new employer has sent you a date for your employee orientation. Congratulations!

Now, you may have some questions. What should you expect? What happens now? We answer these questions and more in this post! 

What’s a Job Orientation?

A job orientation (also called employee orientation) is a one-time onboarding event, meant to introduce you to the company’s culture, processes, and teams. The goal of orientation — help you get all settled in the new role. 

Every company takes a slightly different approach to employee orientation. Some have a very formal onboarding process, with a checklist, mandatory training, and several hours with HR. Other employers may just introduce you to people, have you sign a few forms, and show you to your workstation. 

At any rate, treat this opportunity to learn as much as you can about the things at your new job. 

Does Orientation Mean I Got The Job?

Yes, if you’ve been scheduled for your employee orientation, then you have the job. The orientation time should be clocked in and paid for. If it’s not, treat this as a major red flag. 

That said, there may be some differences between a regular work day and a job orientation day: 

  • Your orientation may happen in a training center or corporate office, not where you will be working each day.
  • You may start your employment on an introductory or probationary basis at first.
  • Sometimes a work orientation is held one day while you may be told to report to your assignment a week or so in the future. 

It is rare for an employer to schedule an orientation before completing a worker’s reference and background checks. Sure, if you’ve failed a compliance check (e.g., lied on your resume about having a specific license), the employer can revoke the job offer. Still, you’re entitled to compensation for your time.

How Long Does Job Orientation Last?

The exact job orientation duration is established on a case-by-case basis. It depends on the type of employer and your role. Sometimes, it may take an hour or two. Or it can be a  full-day or even multiple-day event. The employer may schedule different line of business leaders to come to speak to orienteers, show training videos, engage you in icebreaker exercises, or offer tours of the facility.

Will I Get Paid For a Job Orientation Day?

Yes, you should get paid for attending employee orientation. In case of doubt, ask the employer directly. For example, if you are invited to an orientation before receiving a job offer, tread carefully. This may be more of a final interview than a true orientation day. In that case, you probably won’t be paid. However, you should also not be asked to do anything that could be described as work during this session. That includes filling out paperwork or attending training.

Getting Ready: What Exactly Happens at a Job Orientation?

You should expect to be quite busy at your orientation. On average employees attending an orientation will:

  • Sign upload or acknowledge three documents
  • Complete a range of administrative tasks
  • Learn about company culture
  • Gain a better understanding of the market
  • Learn how their role fits into the company’s goal

Ideally, when you finish these activities you will be fully acclimated to your new job. This will prepare you to start your new role off the right foot.

At a minimum, your job orientation will include: 

Company Introduction

During this phase, you may take a tour of the workplace, listen to a presentation, learn about the company mission, and be told about important company policies.

Administrative Tasks

This is where you will fill out employment-related forms, receive your ID badge, complete training, and be given your user ID if you will be signing into the company’s computer network.

Team Meeting

You’ll meet your new work team. Sometimes, you’ll also be taken around and introduced to other people in the workplace.

What Do I Bring to an Orientation?

Most employers will give you a list of specific items to bring. If not, grab a pen and a notepad.  If you haven’t filled out your tax papers and other forms, be sure you have the required identification documents. You’ll also want to dress so that you are ready to begin work. Remember, orientation may not take up the entire workday.

What Happens if You Miss Orientation For a Job?

It would be a very serious problem for you to miss your job orientation. That’s equal to missing your first day of work. It’s a bad look for you. Make every effort to show up, and arrive on time. If you don’t, your employer may rescind your job offer. If you have an emergency and need to reschedule, contact them by phone with an explanation giving plenty of notice. Your new employer may understand and reschedule your orientation at a later date.

Finally, don’t overthink things. A job orientation isn’t a test day. Its goal is to set you up for success in the new role. So focus on absorbing the information and don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions. Good luck!


  • Elena Prokopets

    Elena runs content operations at Freesumes since 2017. She works closely with copywriters, designers, and invited career experts to ensure that all content meets our highest editorial standards. Up to date, she wrote over 200 career-related pieces around resume writing, career advice... more

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