When you start a new job, the chances are you will be asked to complete a probation period. These are put in place as a safety net for both employers and the employee. It’s a chance for the employer see if you’re a good fit for the business, and for you to see if you enjoy working for the organisation.
Typically, probation periods last between three and six months, however for short-term contracts they can be as little as one week, but this will vary from company to company.
Regardless of the length of your probation period, it is a two-way street. Your manager will use the set period to see how well you fit within the business, as well as assessing your performance, skills and abilities to do the job. On the other hand, this time period allows you to evaluate if the new role matches your skills and abilities and if it is not the case, you are free to break from your contract without working a longer notice period.
If both the employer and yourself are satisfied with the employment arrangements by the end of the set time period, you will be taken off probation; however, in some cases the employer may want to extend the probation period and this is typically to assess the employee’s performance further.
During your probation period the chances are you’ll be exempt from company benefits, such as pension and medical care. You will also have a shorter notice period should your employer or yourself decide to terminate your agreement within that period. However, your official employment and statuary rights come into action on your first day; meaning you are entitled to minimum wage and holiday pay.
During your probation period it is crucial to impress your employer and your colleagues. One way of doing this is to play to your strengths; at the end of the day you were hired because you are good at what you do. Seek a number of opportunities to show off your skills, and remember to note them down as they will come in handy at the end of your probation. Another way to impress the employer is to ask questions, this will help you to gather the information you need to do your job well and to also understand the company culture. Finally, remember to show a level of self-awareness. This includes taking responsibility for how you present yourself, how you come across in conversation, your actions towards stressful situations and being aware of how you could improve.
You may be required to take part in one or more reviews throughout your probation. This is completely normal, and is a chance for the employer and yourself to discuss matters that may be concerning either party and come up with the right solution. It is also an opportunity for you to explain whether or not the job has met your expectations. Reviews are the perfect way to discuss any problems you may be having, things you may be struggling with and also things you enjoy about the role.
Lastly, remember to you ask your manager when your probation review will take place so you can prepare for anything you would like to discuss; think of ways in which you can progress within the organisation – it will demonstrate that you are serious about your role and you are invested in the future of the company.