Congratulations! You’ve successfully applied for a new job and now you’re ready to start your new role. But there’s one last piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked: the probation period.
According to the Telegraph, nearly 20% of new starters fail their probation. It’s important to be as prepared for this period as you were for the job interview, and remember that it’s not just about being competent in the role itself.
There are some easy ways to make sure you succeed during your probation:
Dress to impress
Shallow as it may be, first impressions are important, and you’ll be making a lot of them during your probation. Depending on the size of the company you may find yourself meeting new people every day.
Make sure you dress professionally and take your cues from what your new co-workers wear. Outfits that are too revealing or casual can give the wrong impression - even on a casual Friday.
Remember to maintain your appearance throughout your probation, and always err on the side of being overdressed. If you're unsure of what's appropriate, see our tips for dressing professionally.
It’s important to be seen as a team player from day one. Smiling, shaking hands, and remembering names may seem like low priorities, but they are all simple ways to demonstrate respect for your fellow colleagues.
The other benefit of making friends is that you’ll have people other than your manager to ask questions, especially when it comes to non-work related topics, like the best places to eat lunch.
Manage your time well
One thing that all employers will look for is punctuality. Showing up late at the start of the day or to meetings will reflect poorly, making it look like you don’t care about your job.
Instead, make an effort to arrive early at the start of the day and even come back a few minutes early from breaks. Don’t go running off the second your shift ends either. This is a great way to demonstrate that you take the job seriously and shows your dedication to the role.
Show your strengths
It’s always good to remind yourself – and your employer – why you were hired in the first place. Remember the skills you discussed in your interview and find ways to show them off.
A great way to do this is suggesting a project you know will play into your skillset. This will show you’re willing to take initiative in addition to highlighting your strengths.
Stay out of office politics and gossip
This is good advice in general, but is particularly important during the probation stage. It’s best not to criticise co-workers unless they’re present to respond to it. You don’t want comments to be misinterpreted through the grapevine.
Gossip is also best left alone, especially as you don’t yet know the various relationships in the office. In addition, it makes you look petty, unprofessional, and even lazy if you have nothing better to do than talk about your colleagues.
Ask questions and make mistakes
Many people get so worried about looking bad during their probation that they don’t ask questions or own up to their mistakes. However, asking questions shows you care about the role and want to learn more about it.
Employers are going to care more about how you deal with a mistake than the mistake itself. You should always own up to them and make an effort to rectify the situation. Remember that nobody is perfect, and your managers will expect you to make mistakes during your probation.