Getting Through A Probation Period

by | 20.01.23

Statistics show that almost one in five new employees fail their probation period. The truth is when you start a new job you are in a danger zone, you will be scrutinized and monitored. Probation periods can vary from three months to six months and if you really want the job to become permanent you need to pass your probation with flying colours, here’s how to do it:

Work harder

Often when you start a new job you actually don’t have that much to do. Training, inductions and introductions take priority and it can take a few weeks to get properly stuck in. So this is the perfect time to show off, be proactive and volunteer to take on other tasks.

Don’t overstep the mark

There is a large difference between becoming the ‘outrageously proactive newbie’ and the “outrageously annoying know-it-all” who thinks they can do everyone else’s job. If you are a ‘know-it-all’ you will have obliterated your chance of passing your probation. Believe me the people you are working with will hate you.

Look your best

Beauty is inside, we all know this, however moralistic we are believe me it’s not an excuse to turn up at work looking bedraggled. Dress to impress, opt for an outfit that’s just a little bit smarter than other peoples, you’re trying to make a good first impression after all. People will judge you on your appearance, I’m not saying it’s right, but it does happen.

Don’t overshare personal information

When you start a new job you want to form relationships with your work colleagues, this is natural and right. Be careful though about telling what are in fact strangers your life story – warts and all. We’ve all worked with terrible colleagues who tell you the ins-and-outs of their family problems. Don’t go down this road, a troubled worker is not a committed worker as far as an employer is concerned.

Pin back your ears

Are you the type of person who likes to shut off and get in the zone at work to get stuff done? Well don’t. During your probation period you will need to start building an awareness of your surroundings, your colleagues and your boss. Plus the processes and the written/unwritten rules of the Company. It’s all well and good getting your job done but you need to be aware of what’s going on around you for sure.

Show your social side

You do need to try and bond with your colleagues in some way. I know it’s hard. Especially if you are quiet and on first glance they seem like some sort of monstrous bunch. I’m sure they are not so try to ally yourself with like minded people, probably on your team and go for a coffee and a sandwich at lunch time. If your colleagues like you it will stand you in a good stead when it comes to having your position confirmed.

Be happy clappy

Not too much of  course as people will think you are creepy or simply off your rocker, but definitely appear happy. If you look miserable all the time, people will think you’re miserable unfortunately. Practice in the mirror and make a real effort during your probation period to keep that frown upside down. Naturally smiley people already have this down to an art, if it’s not natural to you – work at it.

Don’t be a clock watcher

Staff rarely stick to their allotted hours these days and 9-5 seems like a thing of the past. Unfortunately it’s a good idea to stick around in the office until your colleagues start to leave. I know this doesn’t seem fair especially if you have finished your work. You won’t be sacked if you leave on time but by staying you will show that you’ve got a great “we’re in this as a team” attitude and this is an attitude everyone will appreciate.

Don’t be late or sick

This must be pretty obvious yet still 38% of people fail their probation for bad timekeeping and 50% fail because of poor attendance. I know you can’t help being ill but unless you are bed-ridden get into work, your boss will send you home if you are dreadful. And as for being late well this is inexcusable. I know public transport can be absolutely terrible, I’ve been there, but it’s just no excuse. Leave earlier if you have to.

Don’t sabotage yourself

Some people seem to push and push during their probation periods and I’ve never understood why. Chill, get to know the job, get to know your colleagues and get to know the Company you are working for. Work to the best of your ability, try to get on with your colleagues, be a team player but don’t be a pain in the neck. By constantly asking the question “when will my position be confirmed” you will be considered a pain in the butt.

The truth is nothing is fool proof and your new job might not work out. Perhaps the role isn’t what you thought it would be? Maybe you simply don’t get on with the other staff or the boss’s management style isn’t quite right for you? The probation period isn’t just for your employer – it’s there for you too. There is no shame in leaving providing you have given a 100% effort.

Good Luck

Angela Burton