Typical New Hire Questions

Got feedback?

Photos of people
Please note: all links on this page that lead to PDFs or to another party's website will open that website in a new browser window.

First Day logistics

What should I wear on my first day? Will my phone and email be working? Will I be in training classes my first day or week? (If driving: How will I know where to park?) What time do I go on my first day? Do I bring my lunch; if not, where are places to eat?

  • Hopefully you can clarify some of your questions about your first day (or first week) before you arrive, by contacting your supervisor or manager, or the human resources person you have been in contact with. In general, the attire worn by staff varies greatly, depending on guidelines set by the supervisor or manager, work rules (e.g., uniforms due to safety issues), and degree of customer service support being provided.
  • Your phone will likely be working, as it is probable you inherited a previous employee's phone. Email, such as the integrated Webmail and Calendar is usually dependent upon you having a SUNet (Stanford University Network) ID, which you don't typically obtain until your arrival, unless you had a previous affiliation with the University and already have a SUNet ID.
  • Many employees attend the New Staff Orientation program on their first day; however, your attendance at that session is based on your hire date, as the sessions are generally held every other Monday. Your hiring manager/supervisor will determine your schedule, so plan to have a discussion before you arrive, or upon your arrival on your first day.
  • If you will be driving and parking on the main campus, please note that Parking & Transportation can issue a free, temporary parking permit; take your offer letter to their offices at 340 Bonair Siding. Stanford parking lots require either an 'A' or 'C' permit. For free commute planning services even prior to your arrival, send an email to commuteclub@stanford.edu. If you'll be working on the main campus, review the University's searchable main campus map to identify parking lots near your new work location.
  • It is important to clarify your manager's expectation of your work hours prior to your first day. If your offer letter did not include the hours you are expected to be at work, contact your hiring manager/supervisor or the human resources contact for your department to find out what time you should arrive on your first day. The typical work hours are M-F, 8am to 5pm for full time employees; however, actual work hours may vary depending on the needs of your department or if you work an alternative shift. If you are attending the New Staff Orientation on your first day, it starts at 8:30 am in Redwood Hall, Room G-19, on the main campus.
  • Clarify if you are expected to bring a lunch your first day, or if there are eateries within walking distance of your main campus work location. See the dozens of possibilities listed in the Food section of "Ways to Get Connected."

Benefits Choices

How do I learn about the medical, dental, and retirement savings plans I need to enroll in within 31 days from my hire date?

  • Stanford has a lot of great benefits options, and the Stanford Benefits website includes tools and information to help. And, you don't already have to be on board to use the site, so start reviewing information at any time. For specific tips on learning about your benefits see our section on Action Steps.

back to top

Employee Identification

What identification do I need as a Stanford employee?

  • Two basic "identities" are required for your status as an employee.
    • Your Employee ID # is an eight-digit number assigned when your new job record is created. You need that number to enroll in your benefits plan choices, to select your network identification, and for other special programs. Your ID # is printed on your ID Card; your ID card is also used for access to University facilities, purchasing discounted tickets to events (School of Medicine employees are required to obtain a second ID card unique to the medical center).
    • Your network ID, also called a SUNet ID, enables you to access secure websites, have specific system authority assigned to you, and make use of Stanford's computing network.
    • For details on obtaining your University IDs, see our Action Steps section.

back to top

Finding Answers To Questions

How do I know who to contact in my department when I have questions on a variety of things?

  • Your closest resource is your manager or supervisor. You may also have a human resources coordinator/manager, or entire HR group who can answer employment-related questions. Department administrators and team leads are quite knowledgeable about the work group, department, and school or VP area. Hopefully any of these people can respond to your questions or direct you appropriately.
    • You may also be assigned a buddy within your department, whose purpose will be to answer your questions and get you started.
  • If you need technical help for your computer or telephone, your department may have a dedicated computer resource person, or you can dial the main Help Desk at 725-HELP (School of Medicine employees dial 725-8000).
  • Also, explore your department's website to learn about mission, goals, and possibly organizational structure to get familiar with how your department supports the University's mission and how your new position fits in.

back to top

Finding Housing

I'm new to the Bay Area; how can I get help to find housing?

back to top

Job Training

What training am I supposed to take?

  • Talk with your manager to identify required training or certifications for your position; use the Staff Training flyer as a guideline.
  • Additionally, clarify training expectations that are role-specific; there may be procedures or systems you must learn to successfully complete your new responsibilities, even if they are not required by the University.

back to top

Learning My Way Around

How can I learn my way around the main campus?

  • One of the best ways to orient yourself to the main campus is to take the one-hour walking tour conducted by the Visitor Information Center, which also helps you gain a sense of the University's historic place in academia. Print a visitor map (pdf) (the print setting is landscape) to keep with you. For locations that are not on the main campus, ask your manager if there is a map or diagram of the building complex.
  • Get familiar with the free Marguerite shuttle service on the Parking & Transporation website. You can use the Marguerite on the main campus to get to meetings, lunch places, and shopping. Buses also go to nearby locations, such as Porter Drive, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Palo Alto and Menlo Park, CalTrain stations, and more.
  • If you work in a location not on the main campus, you'll need to find out what transportation options are used (e.g., zip car, bicycle, city bus) to go to other Stanford buildings.

What flex work options are available?

  • If your job includes responsibilities that require you to be mobile around campus or between locations, discuss tools and practices to enable you to be efficient and productive while traveling between sites and while away from the main workplace. You may reside a significant distance from campus, so a flexplace work option schedule may be an idea to raise with your manager or supervisor if your job duties lend themselves to mobile work practices. Review information on the Work Anywhere site (SUNet ID required to login) and review Flexible Work Options guidelines from University Human Resources before starting a discussion with your manager or supervisor.

back to top

getting paid, reporting time and/or leave, vacation, sick

When do I get paid? What are the procedures to report hours worked and/or leave taken? How do vacation and sick leave accrue?

  • The pay periods are the 1st thru 15th of each month and the 16th thru the end of each month. Note: Pay days occur one week after the completion of each pay period, on the 22nd and 7th of each month. The timing of your first pay check depends on when you entered the pay period. Examples:
    • If you start on the 13th of the month, you will get paid for the two days you worked before the end of the pay period (through the 15th) on the following 22nd. This assumes all your hiring requirements have been fulfilled, such as I-9 documentation, tax forms, etc.
    • If you start on the 16th of the month, you will get paid for the days you work through the end of the month (e.g., 30th or 31st) on the 7th of the following month. This assumes all your hiring requirements have been fulfilled, such as I-9 documentation, tax forms, etc.
  • See the Gateway to Financial Activities for an overview of pay-related information.
  • To report time and/or leave, the majority of Stanford employees are expected to use the online timecard in Axess to report hours worked or time off each pay period. Some areas use timeclocks where you swipe your ID Card in and out each shift or day, so clarify the time reporting requirements in your area.
    • Non-exempt employees are those whose jobs are classified as "not exempted" from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and thus are eligible for overtime pay when it is pre-approved. Clarify time reporting expectations with your manager. Leave taken (e.g., vacation, sick, personal, floating holiday) must be reported in the pay period in which it was taken.
    • Exempt employees are those whose jobs are "exempted" from the overtime provisions of FLSA, and thus no overtime is paid. As a result, hours worked are not reported. Leave taken (e.g., vacation, sick, personal, floating) must be reported in the pay period in which it was taken.
    • Employees whose positions are included in the bargaining unit (union) contracts should clarify time and leave reporting requirements with your supervisor or manager.
  • Vacation leave accrues on the last day of each month, after you have earned the hours for that month. Sick leave accrues on the first day of each month, to be available in case you need it during that month. Review the complete vacation policy (Administrative Guide Memo 2.1.6) and the complete sick time policy (Administrative Guide Memo 2.1.7) and then ask further questions of your supervisor or manager, or human resources representative.

back to top

School of Medicine New Hires

I'm being hired into the School of Medicine. What information is unique to me as a new School of Medicine employee?

With a third of all Stanford employees, the School of Medicine is definitely Stanford's largest academic unit, and getting familiar with information unique to working in that environment is a good idea. The Human Resources Group (HRG) will support you throughout your employment.

back to top

SLAC New Hires

I'm being hired into the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Is there anything different I need to know about my orientation processes?

  • There is information specific to working at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory for new hires; for example, plan to attend a SLAC orientation session the first Thursday of each month to get answers to questions about SLAC operations. Visit the Lab's Human Resources New Hires site for more information.

back to top

union/bargaining unit new hires

I'm being hired into a union/bargaining unit position. What information do I need to know?

  • Bargaining Unit employees hold jobs that are included in contracts between Stanford University and the United Stanford Workers Local 2008 S.E.I.U., as well as the Stanford Deputy Sheriff's Association. Policies governing bargaining unit positions are in the contract that is "bargained" for (negotiated) every several years. See the current contracts for USW and the Stanford Deputy Sheriff's Association on the Employee and Labor Relations website. Additionally, the Labor Update site has information about labor relations at Stanford helpful to those hired into bargaining unit positions.

back to top

Trial Period

When is my trial period over?

  • All newly hired employees must complete a trial period in which you and your manager mutually assess if the position is a good fit. Typically, specific objectives are set and at the end of the trial period a performance discussion with your manager takes place. The length of your trial period should have been stated in your offer letter; if not, clarify that with your manager. Generally, regular staff positions have a six month trial period, and bargaining unit positions have a four month trial period.

back to top

university holidays and closures

What are the University's paid holidays? Also, I've heard there's a winter closure; how does that affect me as a new employee?

  • The University currently observes New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King’s Birthday, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Friday after Thanksgiving, Day before Christmas, Christmas, and you have a Floating Holiday. The current holiday schedule is available on the University Human Resources site.
  • The University typically closes during the two-week period when students are gone and many faculty and staff take vacation, between fall and winter quarters; doing so results in a significant energy savings for Stanford. However, there are some operations that are designated as "essential," and do not close. Clarify how you are to report time if your school or area is observing the closure; new employees who do not have enough accrued leave to cover the closure period receive special treatment on their leave records to accomplish being paid through the closure. Schools and VP areas also have the discretion of closing at other times during the year, and you will receive information in your unit if that occurs.

back to top