In the UK, a probationary period can vary from two weeks to six months depending on the nature of the role. It goes without saying that it’s the most crucial time to impress an employer and secure your job. And though you might not totally get all the fuss around a probationary period (it can’t be that easy to mess up, right?) surprising statistics show that one in five people fail them.
So how do you make sure that you don’t get in your own way, and you land the job? Follow these four steps to ace your probationary period.
If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and put in elbow grease, then it’ll take more than just doing as you’re told to make the right impression on your boss. Hone your listening and observational skills to work out how to predict tasks your boss requires before they ask for them: anticipate needs. Not only will this show that you’re on top of your game, but also that you can be an independent worker and a real asset to the business.
Don’t Overstep Your Mark
That said, you want to be intuitive to an extent, without overstepping your mark. For example, it’s good to ask questions in meetings or contribute your ideas, but respecting the experience and authority of other staff members and not causing conflict with your enthusiasm is vital to finding your place in a team. Incessant questions can be annoying and can get off topic, and stepping on other people’s toes is an easy way to be shown the door. Be confident but respectful, and aware of your position as a newbie in the company.
Be Friendly But Professional
Obviously you need to be professional in any work setting and especially during the probationary period, but striking the balance between being open and friendly while retaining professionalism can be harder than you think, depending on the context. If you’re working in a corporate law firm, the way you speak and what you wear will dictate your professionalism, so crass toilet humour would probably go amiss here. Instead, be friendly by offering to help with extra client work, going on a coffee run or asking after the wellbeing of colleague’s friends and family.
In other environments, like a millennial digital start-up, you may not have to worry too much about your attire, but if you’re overly formal or dry with your colleagues, you’ll find it hard to develop connections and progress. Do some research on the company to find out about their ethos and attitudes, and tailor your professionalism according to what you find.
Build Relationships With Your Colleagues
No one will want to hire you if you rub your colleagues up the wrong way, it makes for a hostile working environment and from a business perspective, hinders productivity. You don’t need to be BFF’s with your colleagues, but being able to cooperate with them and be a team player will show your boss that you fit in.
What’s your experience been of a probationary period? Do you have any other tips Chat to us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you’re looking for a new job, check out our current vacancies.