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Firstly, congratulations! You successfully got through the shortlisting and interview stages and were chosen as THE candidate for the role. So, the interviewing stage is over now…or is it? Read more to understand how to make the most out of your probation period!

The probation period

When you start a new job of any kind, you have a probationary period. This is usually for the first six months of the job. Have you ever put much thought into what that period is there for? If not, it is important to understand how vital the probation period is and why it exists.

To begin, let’s look at a definition of probation in the workplace:

“You can think of a probation period as a trial period of employment during which someone is employed only subject to satisfactorily completing this period of time. They are mainly used with new employees and vary in length but typically last between one and six months

When the trial period comes to an end, the company reviews the standards and levels achieved by the employee, and if they have been met, the employee “passes” their probation period and their employment continues. Equally, the employee can terminate the employment if they feel the role or the company is not suitable for them.”

The first six months/probation period in your new job are where you should really be shining because although you have been offered this opportunity, it is not secured yet! This probation period sets the foundation for your career progression within this company.

Setting yourself up for success

Aside from doing the daily tasks and duties assigned to you, here are my top tips to making sure once your probation comes to an end, there is no question whether to continue your employment.

  1. Show your Willingness to Learn. Your first few weeks and months in a new job are going to be a learning curve and no employee is expected to know it all on the first day! What is expected however, is showing your interest and dedication to learning about the role, the company and your team.
  2. Being Creative and Innovative when solving problems. Creativity doesn’t have to mean being artsy. It means approaching problems in unique ways and thinking on your feet when issues arise. Do you think of more efficient ways to do a task and share with the group? Do you wait for someone to tell you how to resolve a situation or do you research it yourself?
  3. General Etiquette. Ok so this one is quite vague, but it should also go without needing to be said! Etiquette is how you present yourself in the workplace and can include things such as; following the appropriate dress code, being on time, being engaged in training, not using your cell phone, being alert, keeping your area neat, learning what is normal for things like music, headphones and eating at your desk. This list is endless- check out some more examples here.
  4. Showing your value. If the first thing to pop into your head here is value for money then you are on the right track, but it goes beyond that. Think about ways in which you contribute value to the company and make sure they are being shown in your daily tasks. Employee salaries are often considered a business cost so think to yourself, do you want to be seen as a cost to the company or something that generates value? Employee value can be driven by revenue generation, skill, good judgement, vision and leadership, knowledge sharing and positive impact on morale.
  5. Being a Team Player. This one is so important, especially in a world where employee reviews and feedback are taking the 360 approach, getting feedback from peers, leaders and people who report to you. As a new employee you want to be a positive influence on the team, and you want the team members to feel as though they can trust you and turn to you for support. Getting to know your colleagues and trying to remember people’s names is important, as well as being mindful what to share/not share in the office- until you know the team on a more personal level. Also, in this very diversified environment we work in, be mindful not to judge people before you know them.

There are a lot more points that can be added to this list, and they could be tailored to each person and each role differently but the above are some of the more important things that managers look for in new hires during the probation period.

So, keep the “interviewee cap” on and make sure you show the best version of yourself in this new role and make sure there is no reason not to continue your employment after probation.

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