The hardest part is over – you’ve successfully impressed enough at the interview stage to be offered an exciting new job and you’re about to begin a new chapter in your career. But there’s still one final hurdle to get over – your probationary period!
Most companies will have a probationary period which helps them (and you) to adjust to the role and to make sure it’s working out for you both. Usually lasting between three and six months, this period allows your new employer to assess your skills and abilities whilst working alongside you.
It's estimated that just under one in five new employees fails to successfully pass their probation period. Rather than this being due to a lack of competence, the main reasons people fail are an unwillingness to accept feedback and a lack of motivation. These helpful tips will ensure you make a positive impression on your new boss and colleagues.
Whether it be your first day or your first meeting, make sure you arrive 10 minutes early to get yourself set up and prepared. Don’t take longer than your allotted time for lunch/breaks (unless you’ve agreed on some flexitime with your line manager for an appointment etc.) and show enthusiasm and commitment by staying late, if needs be, to complete any urgent work.
You may have already been told about the office dress code and it's important to abide by the rules set by the company you're starting with. If you’re unsure, get in touch with your line manager to check. Dress codes can change from company to company so it’s better to be too smart than too casual until you figure out what is acceptable. If you are working remotely, always make sure you are dressed and ready for the working day. Being caught out on a zoom/Teams call in your pyjamas will not sit well with any employer.
When you’re new to a business, questions are expected and should be welcomed by your colleagues who will want to help you. Asking questions shows a willingness to learn and shows that you are conscientious when carrying out tasks. Try not to second guess the solution – better to ask a colleague for help instead of risking making a costly mistake.
Use your initiative
As well as asking questions to learn more about your role, using your initiative is also a great way to impress your new employers. A good way to show initiative is to carry out a task independently first and then asking someone to check you have done it correctly and to point out anything you may have missed or could be improved. This again shows that you are willing to hit the ground running, as well as having the ability to develop through feedback.
If you find yourself in a quiet spell between tasks, ask a colleague if there’s anything else you can do to help. Being helpful and proactive in your approach will show you’re a good team player. Proactive people crave knowledge and enjoy learning, so being showing this side of yourself is a powerful card to play within any team environment.
Be keen to learn
Starting a new job is always daunting. New people, new location, new processes and lots to learn in the first few months can be exhausting! However, having a positive attitude and showing a willingness to learn as much as you can shows your new employer that you are enthusiastic about your new role. Going out of your way to understand different parts of the business rather than dealing directly with the boundaries of your own tasks is a great way to gain even more brownie points.
Go the extra mile
It really is the little things that people will remember so it really isn’t difficult to impress colleagues by doing that little bit extra. This could be anything from bringing in treats at the end of your first week, or staying late/coming in early to get on top of work. Any positive attributes you show during your first few weeks will stay with your new colleagues for a long time and put you in a great position to pass your probation period.
Joining colleagues for lunch or after-work drinks within your first few week is a great way to integrate yourself into the team and connect with the people you are working with. Building strong relationships with colleagues can only benefit your career in the long-term and is also great for your own well being – making friends is fun!
Accept your mistakes
You’re bound to make mistakes during your first few weeks and months in a new job and no one is expecting you to get everything right first time. Finding your feet in a new role and learning through mistakes is an accepted part of taking on new hires in any business. The important thing is to not dwell on your mistakes – move on, learn, develop and take responsibility. Take constructive criticism with grace and never make excuses or try and blame others. Learning how to accept and use criticism or feedback can help you quickly improve your abilities and show your dedication to refining your skills.
Avoid office politics
Different people have different opinions and there is always some form of ‘office politics’ in every workplace. Avoid getting into opinionated discussions and stay neutral in any discussions that take place. Focus your time on building up your own career and try to avoid any negative chit-chat.
Don’t take sides or get sucked into arguments or recriminations. When a conflict arises, remember that there doesn't have to be a winner and a loser. It's often possible to find a solution that satisfies everyone.
We hope these tips help you to navigate the first few months in your new role and beyond! If you’d like to find out more about anything we’ve discussed, more information can be found in our references below:
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