How to Get Your Questions Answered Without Annoying Your Supervisor


ask-questions

Now entering the third week of my internship, it still feels as though I have had an abundance of questions each day I step into the office. As I continue to become accustomed to my workspace and office lingo, I am constantly finding myself asking my supervisor questions about my assignments.

Granted, I am an intern and it is expected that I ask many questions, I still fear that there is a limit to the amount of questions I can ask. According to a recent USA Today article, a common complaint from employers is that interns need babysitting and don’t think through problems and issues.

Thus, I have compiled four recommendations for how interns should handle any questions or confusion they may have:

 1. Google It: You can most likely find your answer on Google. Don’t worry if you can’t find what you are looking for during your initial search. Conduct an advanced Google search to narrow down your search query based on the date and keywords.

2. Look at Previous Company Documents: It’s amazing what you can learn about your current employer if you read some of their past news releases, spreadsheets or any other available document.

3. Ask Another Co-Worker: This can be a great opportunity to meet someone new in your office and display your level of engagement and curiosity.

4. Just Ask Your Supervisor: If worse comes to worst, you should just ask your supervisor your questions. At the end of the day, it is crucial that you do not make any errors. It is more important that you have any questions or concerns clarified, so that you can do your best work. If it’s a minor question, try out my previous recommendations before you approach your supervisor.

Andrew Schwartz

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6 Responses to How to Get Your Questions Answered Without Annoying Your Supervisor

  1. Summer Luu says:

    Andrew, I’m so glad you brought this up because I was actually thinking of the same thing at my work earlier today. I find myself (in Week 2) still asking those mundane easy-to-google-search answers that I kept asking my co-workers when I should have been resourceful and tried to research it myself before asking others. Thanks for the helpful reminder!

  2. lockerobster says:

    I think about this all the time too! The great part of the internship is that we are there to learn, but on the other hand, we are there to create a reputation and network. Thanks for the advice and the reminder that this is a good time to start working on becoming more independent in our workplaces.

  3. megmarieshea says:

    Andrew, these are great tips! Asking questions is how we learn. I found as well that asking questions and clarifying tasks is also beneficial. No one wants to go back and redo a task because he or she didn’t clarify something first. I am glad you put Google It as number one. I use this recommendation almost everyday at my internship, so now I feel I am not alone in the category of “Googlers.”

  4. Nick Smith says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only person that thinks about this. I’m always worried about bothering my coworkers with questions. Googling has become my best friend during the early days of this term and my internship. Thanks for an insightful post.

  5. pdxsx says:

    Well done, Andrew! Outstanding recommendations and yes, while asking question is important, it is also important to recognize that your supervisor’s time is valuable.

    ~J

  6. jackiemc90 says:

    Great post, I struggle with this sometimes too. It can be really hard to know when it’s appropriate to ask questions and when to keep to yourself. I always try to google whatever I’m doing to get examples before I feel like I need to ask questions.

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