Probation Periods | Everything you need to know

When you start a new job at a new organisation, you will most likely have to complete a probation period. This is a trial for a number of weeks, to allow the employer to assess how you adapt to the role and whether you’re right for the job. It allows you and your new employer to test the waters at the beginning.

Is Probation a good thing?

It can be. Remember, a probation period isn’t just about the employer, think of it as a safety net to fall back onto. Although managers will use this period to make an initial judgement on your performance and skills, it also allows you to make a judgment and way up whether it’s the job for you. If you decide it’s or you don’t get along with your new employer, you can easily escape your contract without giving a lengthy notice period.

First impressions count!

A probation period may be a two-way street but don’t forget that the company has most of the control in this situation. Starting a new job can be very daunting, especially if it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, so you must impress the employer instantly.

On your first day, you must ensure that you arrive on time, looking smart and professional. When you meet your employer, welcome them in a friendly and confident manner and make sure you dress appropriately, and you look well presented. Pay attention to the company’s culture, the way other employees dress and their behaviour. This should help you to become more familiar with the organisation and allow you to settle in more quickly.

Once you get into the swing of things, ensure you put 100% into the job, demonstrating to the manager why you’re right for the role to reassure them they made the right choice recruiting you. First impressions are extremely important, and you must continue this attitude throughout the full probation period if you want to maintain your new job in the future.

How long do probation periods usually last?

They can vary depending on the organisation and job. Usually they range from three to six months, but for shorter contracts it could just be one or two weeks long. Once both the new starter and employer are satisfied with how the probation period has gone, they will be removed from probation.

In some cases, some organisations may want to assess you for longer than first agreed and extend your probation period. If so, make sure you check your employment contract first. You need to make sure they are doing this under the correct circumstances.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Each organisation will have different procedures when it comes to probation periods, and employment contracts. So, if you’ve carried out probation previously at another firm and its different to your new one, don’t hesitate to ask questions. If your manager doesn’t tell you in detail what they expect from you throughout probation and any other details your unsure of, ask! Most employers will appreciate you double checking these things and showing your interests.

Your probation period at your new job is crucial. Always make a good first impression and give it your all during probation to impress your employers to form a mutually beneficial relationship to help you enjoy your job in the future if it’s the right one for you.