by Amber Rolfe
So you’ve finally started your dream job. But there’s still one final stage to complete…
A probationary (or, ‘trial’) period is often the initial stage of employment, referring to the amount of time an employer uses to see whether a new employee is the right fit for a role.
The length of the probationary period varies from job to job, but will be somewhere between three and six months, making first impressions absolutely vital in securing the role on a permanent basis.
To help you pass your first few months with flying colours, here are some of our top tips on how to get through your probation:
Don’t forget the basics
We all know the basic dos and don’ts when it comes to impressing your new boss, but these take on even more importance while you’re in your probation period.
Potential probation nightmares include turning up late every day, constantly clock watching, and dismissing or arguing with any feedback provided. Appear eager to learn, positive, and look like you’re genuinely enjoying your job, and you’ll go a long way to making sure you impress.
After all, if you’re not getting anything positive out of this experience, your boss will only assume the position isn’t quite right for you. And they might be right…
Communicate regularly with your colleagues
Maintain a good level of communication with your co-workers during your probationary period, and you’ll feel a lot calmer and do a much better job as a result.
And if any issues do arise, do your best to deal with them at the earliest opportunity, rather than waiting until it’s too late to improve or change things.
By allowing your boss to provide you with regular feedback and voicing any concerns you might have, you can be sure that what you’re doing is on the right track – and if not, you have time to change it.
Remember: asking questions is a good thing.
Use your initiative
It might feel like it’s up to your boss to instigate the catch-up chats – since you’re new and might not feel comfortable making the first move. Don’t be.
Your manager might have a million other things going on, so use your initiative and don’t be afraid to ask for help or feedback if you need it. This way, you’re showing that doing things right is important to you, and you want your work to be the best it can be – which will impress your employer. It also shows you have the ability to take charge if you need to, and are willing to take on constructive criticism and make potential improvements to your work.
Most importantly, make sure you’re made aware of your objectives and you know what’s expected of you, then there’ll be no surprises when your probation comes to an end.
You’re going to make mistakes. Accept it.
It’s all part of starting a brand new job, and your boss is unlikely to overreact while you’re still finding your feet.
However, always take responsibility for any mistakes you do make. No employer wants to hire someone who throws someone else under the bus for their shortcoming, or gets automatically defensive when they do something wrong. Instead, own up, explain what happened, apologise, and learn how you can fix it.
Your boss will admire your mature attitude, and you’ll be able to avoid making the mistake again. Either that or you’ll end up hiding out in the bathroom all day searching for escape routes*.
Don’t play games
A newbie should always avoid engaging in workplace politics, so make sure you’re not joining in on (or instigating) any talking behind people’s backs or gossiping.
That doesn’t mean you can’t make friends, but putting other people down or snitching on your colleagues is unlikely to give you a good reputation – regardless of how much you think they might deserve it.
Focus on doing your job and building your own security, and ignore any negative vibes that might be around you. Use the first few months of your new job to absorb information, and get a grasp of how things are done and what people are like.
Because first impressions count, but they’re not always accurate.
Don’t burn your bridges
Whatever happens during your probation period, always try to make the most of your experience.
Even if you don’t end up staying with the company long term, there will always be something you can use from your time with the company to help find your next role.
Networking can often be the key to getting where you want to be in your career, so mingle with the right people, get in everyone’s good books, and maybe you’ll be suggested for another job somewhere else in the future.
Because, sometimes it is about who you know.
NB: What you know is also important.
*Locking yourself in the bathroom is neither recommended nor condoned
Culled from Reed