Job hunting can be one of the biggest challenges you’ll face in your career – especially if you’re new to the employment scene. If you’re unlucky, it can take months of applications and interviews before you receive a job offer.
However, starting a new job isn’t always straightforward. Often, companies will include a caveat in your offer – you must survive an initial probationary period. A standard procedure for many businesses, it serves as a trial period for new hires and offers companies a degree of protection.
There are several steps you can take to help secure your position with your new company. Here are some tips to help you survive your probationary period:
1) Be polite:
Your new employer will want to know if you fit in with the existing team, so it’s important to build a good relationship with all of your co-workers. This means being polite and friendly to everyone you meet, from the CEO to the cleaner.
You can guarantee that your employer has asked your colleagues to report back about you – if you’ve upset people in the office, you run the risk of failing your probationary period.
It’s also important to be positive during your probationary period. Constant complaining can bring the mood of the office down, and is sure to be noticed by your supervisors.
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2) Ask questions:
Whenever you start a new job, you should always be eager to learn as much as possible. There are plenty of things to learn in any new position, especially if you’re relatively inexperienced. Asking your colleagues and supervisors for advice is a good place to start – not only will this help you to learn new skills, but it is also an excellent way of building relationships.
Showing an interest in your new position proves to your employer that you’re actively engaging with your new role. It’s also wise to ask your bosses for feedback on a regular basis – this shows that you’re seeking to improve yourself.
3) Admit mistakes:
Your employer is highly unlikely to fire you for making a mistake during your probation period – errors are an inevitable part of starting a new job. However, it’s important to handle any mistakes correctly, as you could be fired if you don’t handle the situation properly.
If you know you’ve made a mistake, don’t bury your head in the sand. Tell your supervisor or manager immediately, apologise incerely to them, and offer to help rectify the error. Don’t be afraid of telling someone – nobody’s perfect, and your bosses almost certainly made mistakes when they first started out too!
4) Be punctual:
Arriving late to work on a regular basis is a sure-fire way of getting laid off at the end of your probation period. It gives your boss the impression that you’re not taking your new job seriously.
Similarly, don’t sprint for the door as soon as your shift has finished. Instead, take your lead from the other people in the office, and try to leave when they do.
Finally, if you have an evening social event with your colleagues, it’s absolutely vital to turn up on time the following day, no matter how bad your hangover is! Your new employer will not be impressed with your self-inflicted illness.
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5) Be responsible:
When you accept a job offer, you agree to carry out a series of responsibilities. You also agree to abide by a list of rules, and may be awarded some level of privilege. However, it’s important to adhere to these instructions, without abusing your privileges. Your bosses will be monitoring your efforts closely during your probation period, so it’s important to show them that you’re a responsible, hard-working employee.
If you have access to a computer, don’t use it to look at your social media accounts.
If you’re required to go to corporate social events, don’t get excessively drunk.
Use your common sense, and try to imitate the behaviour of your senior colleagues.
6) Don’t take time off:
When accepting a job offer, it’s important to tell your new employer about any holidays you’ve already booked. Aside from any pre-existing commitments, try not to take any time off during your probation period.
If you’re feeling ill, try your best to go into work – you can always leave early if you need to. If you’re genuinely too sick to work, call in as soon as possible, apologise, and offer to bring in a doctor’s note. If you absolutely must book holiday time off, be sure to ask well in advance, and explain the necessity to your boss.
Following these tips could help you to survive your probationary period. However, it’s important to relax into your new role – being constantly on edge could also send negative signals to your employer. Instead, incorporate healthy working practices, such as arriving on time and asking questions, into your general routine. Being a good, trouble-free employee will impress your bosses, and will give you job security.
Author: Alexa Garthwaite is part of ExecutiveOffices.co.uk, who provide virtual offices and meeting room hire in London.