10 Tips to Surviving New Employee Probationary Periods

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by Ana Gelotti, Human Resources Director at Laurus College

So you’ve achieved the ultimate goal in this economy and landed that great job! Before the interview, you took the time to research the company, dressed professionally, showed up ten minutes early, rehearsed possible interview Q & A’s, and then knocked their socks off in the interview. Congratulations!

Now comes the hard part. Continuing to impress them, long after the interview is over. Most companies have some sort of probationary period, lasting anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months. During this time, you receive training, meet your co-workers, learn company policies and procedures, get to know your boss and his or her management style, and learn the ins and outs of your new job. Not only is this the time that you’re learning about the company, but this is also the time that the company is getting to know you as an employee and deciding on whether they made a good hiring decision.

To make sure that you hang on to the job you worked so hard to get, keep the following top 10 list in mind:

1. Learn all aspects of your new job thoroughly.

2. Ask questions when you don’t understand something.

3. Meet stated job goals / metrics (keep your eyes on the prize, and don’t lose sight of the parameters your performance is being judged by).

4. Be punctual and reliable, show up to work every day and on time.

5. Never make changes to your schedule / job description without prior approval (don’t come in late, leave early, take extended lunch periods, decide you don’t like a project, etc).

6. Learn the company culture.

7. Attend any/all company sponsored events, functions, activities.

8. Make an effort to get to know your fellow employees / department.

9. Volunteer to help with other projects if there is down time.

10. Turn your cell phone off and disengage from social media during work hours.

The company obviously saw something special in you when they decided to hire you (instead of the 50 other candidates that applied!). The probationary period is the time you have to prove to them that you can back up the goods on your resume, make good on your promise of productivity, and legitimate their hope that you would be a good fit within their organization.

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