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The importance of the probation period

The importance of the probation period

A common and useful practice you will undergo when attaining a new jobis a probationary period. Typically lasting 90 days, this period gives you the time to showcase your skills to an employer, showing how you’re right for the job and can have a positive impact on the business.

It has been reported that a fifth of staff either fail or have their probation period extended when joining a new work place.

This may be due to conduct or where the employee has not been performing at the standard required. These situations are crucial to voice and should you want to stay on beyond the probation period, you need to raise any issues you are having with the job.

There should be meetings held with your employer during these 90 days where you can gain feedback on how well you’re doing, as well as any improvements that are needed with regard to your work. A common problem is that employees tend to avoid taking notes on how they can have a bigger impact and therefore run the risk of being released. Failing probation periods not only leaves you without a job, but doesn’t create a good impression for future employers when looking through your CV.

To ensure this doesn’t happen, Simon Houlton, CEO of IScreenYouScreen, a reference checking software, shares his advice on how to have a successful probation period.

Have a professional work ethic

If you’re in an industry that wouldn’t consider itself ‘formal’ i.e. a trades industry, don’t fall into the trap of being too relaxed. It’s easy to mimic fellow co-workers and their behavioural status, but don’t forget you still need to make a good impression. Alternatively, if you work in an office environment, ensure your behaviour is always of a high standard, dressing just above the required code. It’s important to find the right balance between having fun and being professional. If you’ve been given a number of projects or tasks to work on, prioritise them and try to complete them to the best of your ability. Don’t become distracted by your surroundings. Although it’s great to join in with colleagues, remember that first impressions last.


It’s important to avoid sitting in a corner, struggling with a piece of work. Whether it’s a colleague near you, the manager or CEO of the company, ask questions. Instead of trying to solve the problem yourself, ask for their advice and guidance. No one will expect you to know everything within the first few weeks of working there, so don’t be shy. Show an interest to learn and a desire to make sure you complete work to the best standard.

Be visible

Being visible is very important within a working environment, however it should be done at the right time. Like mentioned before, if you have plenty of tasks to be getting on with, prioritise them. Shying away from the rest of your colleagues will get you nowhere in the office, especially after you’ve completed your work. You can only make a good first impression once and if not taken, it will immediately halt your chances of being taken on full time. Share your presence, become involved in conversations and attend any meetings or social events. To some, having the confidence to do this can be hard to find. However, this is your time to put your mark on the business; ensure you take it.

Leave last

Firstly, this doesn’t have to happen every day. Staff rarely stick to 9-5 now and so you’ll often find many staying a few minutes later to complete work. Although you’re more than entitled to leave as soon as the time hits 5, don’t. Pack your things away when the majority of your colleagues begin to leave. This shows you’re happy to spend a few extra minutes on a piece of work, rather than shooting home. Having this attitude will spread to your boss and create a great impression. Far too many individuals, especially those who are new to the working world, forget about this basic concept as they’re too busy wanting to get home. For the first few weeks, stay for longer, you won’t regret it.

Take accountability

You’re going to make errors and mistakes. Accept it. It’s part of the journey when beginning at a new company where you know little about how it works. However, your reactions to these mistakes are crucial. Take responsibility. No employer wants to hire someone who passes on the blame. Ask for help if you do make a mistake ask a manager to go through how you can ensure you don’t do it again. This will show your determination and also improve your skills. Your boss will admire your attitude to bounce back stronger.

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