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Probation period: why it’s good for you, not just the employer

Mark Daniel //  0 Comments

When you accept a job offer there’s a rush of excitement - but then comes the probation period. Don't fear it - embrace it. 

Starting a new job is exciting and stressful.

It can feel that it is all about you being able to measure up to your new employers’ expectations.

But that is literally just one side of the story.

The best way to enter into your probationary period is to adopt the mindset that they chose you because they believed you to be the best candidate for the role.

They have just as much to lose if this doesn’t work out, so this is truly a two-way street.

What is a probation period?

A probation period, often referred to as a probationary period or probationary period of employment, is a predetermined duration at the start of a new job during which both the employer and employee assess each other's suitability for the position.

It serves as a trial period, allowing the employer to evaluate the employee's performance, work ethic, and fit within the organization.

At the same time, it provides the employee with an opportunity to gauge whether the job aligns with their expectations and career goals.

The probation period typically lasts for a specific number of weeks or months, and it may include performance evaluations and feedback sessions.

 At the end of this period, the employer decides whether to confirm the employee's permanent employment status or terminate the employment contract based on the individual's performance and alignment with the company's needs and values

What are the objectives of a probation period?

Skill Assessment

Probation periods allow employers to assess the skills and competencies of their new hire in a real setting.

Cultural Fit

Companies have unique cultures, values, and work environments. A probation period helps to determine that the new employee aligns with both their culture and values, which are essential for fostering a harmonious and productive workplace.

Performance Evaluation

Early months of employment offer a time to gauge the employee's performance. Are they meeting expectations, exceeding them, or struggling? Assessment is vital in determining an employee's long-term prospects within a company.

2-Way Evaluation

Probation is not one-sided. It provides new employees a chance to evaluate the company, its work culture, and whether the role meets their expectations/career aspirations

Why a probation period is good for you

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Think of all the hours you spend at work instead of being with family, friends, or pursuing hobbies or interests.

Then multiply those hours over years.

When you think of it that way, you really should be making sure you are in the right job.

Alternatively, if earning money is your number one priority, think of it this way.

If you are feeling financial pressure you need to be as proficient in your role as possible.

Your probation period allows you to learn the ropes.

In other words, to secure your role going forwards.

Nobody expects you to be perfect from day one and there will be training and guidance to help you.

So, instead of worrying about a probation period, look at the benefits:

Skill Development

During probation, you have the opportunity to hone your skills and knowledge. You can learn from any mistakes, improve your performance, and/or adapt to the role's specific requirements.


Probation periods usually involve intensive onboarding, allowing familiarisation with policies, procedures, and expectations. 

Clear Expectations

As a new employee you will get feedback on your performance, making it easier to understand what is expected and any areas that need improvement

Adjusting to Company Culture

Probation offers a chance to integrate into the culture, build relationships, and gain deeper understanding of company values.

Why a probation period is good for Employers

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Stop for a moment and see it from an employer’s perspective.

They have likely spent considerable time and money recruiting you.

If you add up meetings with departmental and hiring managers, writing adverts, paying for adverts, screening applicants, interviewing, gaining reference checks, and producing a contract, that’s a huge investment.

Even more so if they paid a fee to a recruitment agency too.

So, as I said before, they want this to work as much as you do because they don’t want to spend all of this time and money again.

They don’t want you to fail, they want you to pass but, at the same time, they still need to ensure that you are the right fit for both the role and organisation.

A probation period allows them to do all of the following.

Risk Mitigation

Probation allows employers to identify/address any potential issues early. If a new hire is struggling, it's easier to make necessary changes early.

Performance Improvement

Employers can provide guidance and support, helping new employees improve performance going forwards.

Enhanced Retention

Identifying any concerns or mismatches early in the process, employers have the opportunit to improve job satisfaction, reduce turnover, and retain talent.


Companies evolve over time, and the needs of the company may change. Probation ensures new employees can adapt to these changes and continue to contribute effectively.

How to pass your probation period

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Specific requirements for passing probation will vary from one job to another.

Ultimately, your goal during this period is to prove that you are a valuable addition to the team and that the company should invest in your long-term employment.

Understand Expectations

Make sure you have a clear understanding of your job description and the specific expectations your employer has for you during the probation period. Ask your manager for a written list of performance criteria if it's not provided

Communicate Effectively

Regularly check in with your supervisor to discuss your progress. Ask for feedback and use it to improve your performance. Open and transparent communication is key to understanding what you're doing well and where you may need to make adjustments.

Be Reliable

Consistently arrive on time and meet deadlines. Reliability and punctuality demonstrate your commitment to the job and your respect for the company's time and resources.

Learn and Adapt

Be proactive in learning and adapting to the company's culture and processes. Show a willingness to take on new responsibilities and learn from your mistakes. Display a growth mindset, and demonstrate that you're a quick learner and problem solver.

Build Positive Relationships

Foster positive relationships with your colleagues and superiors. Being a team player, offering help when needed, and showing respect for your co-workers will contribute to a positive work environment.

bonus tip!

Document Your Achievements

Keep a record of your accomplishments and completed projects during your probation period. This can help you demonstrate your value to the company when your performance is evaluated.

Probation periods – a win win situation

In conclusion, a probation period is a valuable mechanism for aligning goals and expectations of both new starters and employers.

Don’t fear it but welcome it.

With transparency and support, probation can be a win-win for all, setting the stage for success for both parties.

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About the Author

A global resume writer and career coach, Mark is known for his honest, direct, and hard-hitting advice, helping people manage job applications and succeed at interviews. Now based on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, he is the co-founder of Real Life Career Advice and a prolific publisher, contributing to several industry magazines and his daily career advice blog to his 45,000 LinkedIn followers.

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