The hardest part is over – you’ve successfully impressed enough at 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 enforce a probationary period to help both the employer and employee determine whether they’re right for the job and that the job is right for them. Usually lasting between three and six months long, this period allows the employer to check you’ve got the skills and abilities you claimed to during the interview process, while allowing you to be sure the job is what you were sold it as being.
Sometimes, for whatever reason, new jobs just don’t work out, but you can give yourself a helping hand by following these helpful tips, making a positive impression on your new boss and colleagues.
- Be punctual. Whether it be to your first day or first meeting make sure you arrive at least 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 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 didn’t get a chance to do during the day. At the same time, even if you’re finding the first few weeks a little tedious before the work picks up, you don’t want to show that you’re constantly clock-watching or sat at your desk twiddling your thumbs.
- Be smart. From the job interview you should have a good idea of the office dress code. If you’re unsure get in touch with your line manager before your first day to check. The golden rule is it’s always better to go too smart than too casual. And just because you’re staying within the same industry doesn’t mean that all companies will have the same dress code. For example, a lot of recruitment companies require their staff to come to work in a suit, whereas here at Carrot Pharma Recruitment we have a much more relaxed, smart/casual dress code.
- Ask questions. If you’re really unsure about anything, especially something that might have a detrimental impact on the company, don’t try to second guess the solution or answer. Don’t be afraid to ask a colleague for help instead of risking making a costly mistake.
- Use your initiative. This kind of goes against the previous point but, although there’s no such thing as a stupid question, if you know the answer to something but are lacking the confidence to implement it, just give it a go! Your colleagues won’t mind you asking for help, but if you’re turning to them every 5 minutes to repeatedly ask the same simple questions (“Can I pop to the bathroom?” “Can I get another pen from the stationary cupboard?” etc.) they may start to get a little irritated.
- Be proactive. It may take your line manager a while to figure out how quickly you can carry out your work, so you may find times when you’ve got a lull in your workload. Instead of sitting around twiddling your thumbs, ask someone if there’s anything you could be doing. If your colleagues have forgotten about meetings they had set up with you, or said they’d help you with something and haven’t yet, don’t be afraid to chase them up. This shows management that you have the ability to take charge, which could help when it comes to possible managerial promotions in the future.
- Be keen to learn. Starting a new job is always daunting. Even if you’re doing something similar to your previous role there are always bound to be things that are new to you. By having a positive attitude and a desire to learn as much as you can you’re showing your new employer that you’re happy to have been hired to work there and are making strives to make a future for yourself as a part of their company.
- Go the extra mile. This could be by offering to help out a colleague, 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.
- Be sociable. If people invite you out for lunch or after work drinks within your first few weeks try your best to go. Not only is this a great way to meet your new colleagues but if you say no to social engagements from the offset people will be less likely to invite you in the future. Building strong relationships with your boss and colleagues from the start can only benefit you in the long run.
- Accept your mistakes. You’re bound to make these during your first few weeks and months in a new job, it’s an accepted part of making new hires. Try not to dwell on these too much, learn from them, but most importantly take responsibility. Passing the blame on to someone else won’t help you make friends in the work place.
- Avoid office politics. No matter how hard companies try, there are usually some form of office politics in every work place. Avoid these as much as you can, staying neutral in any discussions that take place. You don’t want a bad remark you made about management getting back to them just in time for your probation meeting. Focus your time on building up your own career and try to avoid any negative chit chat.