Probationary period

8 Tips for Surviving the Probationary Period at Your New Job

by freelance writer Riley Herder

Many employers are notorious for observing a tough probationary period. Explore eight tips that will help you go above and beyond during your initial months on the job.

probationary period

First impressions are always important. But in a new job, what comes after the first impression matters most. Many employers are notorious for observing a tough probationary period in which new employees are watched closely to make sure they are a good fit. This period may vary from one job to another, but the ways in which you can instill confidence in your employer are consistent across the board. In this article, we will explore eight tips that, if followed, will help you go above and beyond during your initial months on the job.

1. Have a good attitude

In job interviews , you likely prepared yourself to be polite yet firm, respectful yet confident, etc. It is equally important to keep these positive traits going on day one at the job. Do your best to display a professional, kind, upbeat demeanor. Don’t let anybody catch you slouching, grumbling, seeming bored, etc. Confidence is good, but go out of your way to not appear cocky or unteachable. In short, be likeable.

2. Ask questions

To show off how well they can handle the job, many people neglect to ask questions that could help them. Make sure that you have all the information you need to be fulfilling your responsibilities. By asking questions early on, you show that you care and are accountable.

3. Know what the probationary period entails

Request employer policies, including those pertaining to the probationary period. How long is the period? How are you being evaluated? Will there be official evaluations, and if so, how frequently? What is expected and when is it expected by? Getting information on these questions will help you to know to perform your job with peace of mind.

probationary period

4. Be punctual

This should go without saying, but one of the easiest ways employers can lose confidence in an employee is if they are showing up later than desired. Find out when your employer prefers for you to arrive at work, as well as when certain tasks should be completed, and seek to always deliver on time or early if possible.

5. Avoid time off in the early months if possible

Obviously life happens and you can’t always commit to not taking time off, but you should strive to make it through the probation period without any significant time off. If you have a trip or another obligation on the calendar already before the start of the job, disclose it as early as possible.

6. Understand expectations

Knowing what is needed from you is the key to success. Find this out from your employer directly. Additionally, spend time reaching out to others in the profession—colleagues, former employees with experience working for that employer, etc. You may discover things to help you this way that your employer may not have let you in on.

For example, an employer may be unclear about their expectations, or say vague things like “I don’t care when or how you get it done, just get it done right.” Usually, they may say this but still prefer the work to be done a certain way. You cannot control your employer’s communication skills, but a little research may help you exceed their expectations regardless.

7. Listen

Good listening skills, much like asking questions, demonstrate that you want to learn as much as you can about the work you are doing so you can do it to the best of your abilities. Contrastingly, bad listening skills make a person appear arrogant and unwilling to adapt. Unfortunately, bad listening skills are much more obvious. To show you listen well, you should listen and act accordingly.

8. Get lots of rest

Good sleep can be hard to come by in the early months of a new job. Still, finding time to rest when you can will help you always appear fresh and ready. Coming into work yawning, red-eyed and groggy on a regular basis may suggest to your employer that the work is too much for you to handle.

Probationary periods are important not just for your employer to have confidence, but also for you to trust them, and the work environment in general. Use this time not just to show how well you can fulfill expectations, but also being clear about the expectations you have. Transparency is key during this time.

Be professional, teachable and put in a little extra work on the front end, and you can expect not only to survive but to excel through the probationary period.

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