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4th July, 2018

Probation and how to nail it

Every permanent job will have a probation period where you’ll be assessed after a certain period of time (usually 3 or 6 months) to make sure you’re the right person for the job. But how do you pass with flying colours and not get marched out the door before you’ve even got started?

What are you being measured on?

probationThe number of people we speak to who have failed their probation and have been dismissed, but have no idea why, is astonishing. One of the first questions you should be asking your new employer is how you will be measured in your new role. Whether you have strict KPIs to adhere to or you’ll be expected to prove your worth in other ways, get that locked down right from the start so you know where you stand. It’s a great question to ask at interview stage!

To avoid loosing sight of why you’re there, make a note of what is expected of you and put it in plain sight on your desk. You’ll be able to relate back to this every day, check your performance yourself and pull yourself up if it slips. And if it becomes clear that what is being asked of you is unrealistic, at least you can tackle it before your probation is up rather than trying to dig yourself out of a hole later on.

Who will be your judge, jury and executioner?

Not only do you need to know WHAT is expected of you, but also WHO is expecting it. You’ll hopefully know who you are reporting to from the start (if you don’t, make that your priority!) but are there likely to be more people involved in any decision?

It is especially common in smaller companies to ask the whole team. Consider your attitude towards every person you interact with. Just because you’ve become really pally with a few of your peers at the same level, the fact that you’ve been extremely rude to the receptionist (who happens to be best buds with your boss) could be your downfall. Remember, someone is always watching. And, regardless of where you are in your career, you should always be nice to the receptionist!

As a side note, a frequent misunderstanding is that you’re only fully employed once you pass your probation. Incorrect. You are fully employed from day 1, with all the same rights as any other permanent member of staff. If you do fail your probation you are entitled to any rights in your contract (i.e. your notice period, holidays allowances etc). Check your contract and terms of employment, or speak to ACAS with any concerns you might have.

Looking for a new opportunity or new staff? Give COS Recruitment a call – number 1 in Cheshire since 1982!

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