How to get through a probationary period?

You finally landed a new job! The offer is accepted, the contract is signed, and multiple interviews are over. However, you face a no less important probationary period that works two ways — both you and your employer get the measure of each other and decide whether you fit together.

Use Antal Russia's recommendations to get through this important stage with success.

1. You have just one chance to make a positive first impression, so get prepared for a meeting with new colleagues.

  • Pay special attention to your clothes — you will meet a lot of new people. 
  • Prepare a short story about yourself. At first, you will be often asked to introduce yourself to the team, the whole office, the Board of Directors, etc. An ability to talk in a concise and fascinating manner helps to make a good impression. Don't simply list your previous jobs, tell your colleagues about your hobbies, mention some interesting facts about yourself.

2. Learn about corporate standards (dress code, working schedule, etc.), values and missions of the company, code of conduct. Observe them in your work.

  • If you are not under high pressure, try to keep to the working schedule. Come to work and leave on time to avoid unnecessary questions and doubts on the part of managers and colleagues. 
  • Learn how people address each other in the office.

3. Prepare all the documents for the HR department in advance, before you start the new job. You will probably have to provide additional certificates or permissions, and their preparation takes time.

4. On the first few days, you should discuss the tasks and KPIs required to get through the probationary period with your line manager.

  • Your agreements should not necessarily be formalized with signatures and a stamp. Just send the manager a summary of your agreements by e-mail and ask for comments to be sure that everything is properly recorded. 
  • You will have many tasks and they will be different. Set priorities with consideration for KPIs by which your performance will be assessed.

5. Pace yourself. Don't give impracticable promises. Learn to say a well-reasoned no. Otherwise, it will be difficult to change your behaviour pattern and the ways your managers and colleagues see you.

6. Learn to communicate efficiently with everyone concerned (colleagues, managers, associated departments, and suppliers).

  • If you are a manager be reasonably proactive and engage first. 
  • Be careful in developing work relationships with colleagues. First, try to understand the internal structure and interaction patterns in the company, and then, you may show your bright personality. 
  • Be polite and friendly. Don't criticize your colleagues and predecessors. Stay neutral. 
  • When taking over duties from your predecessor or a colleague, focus on facts, not emotions.

7. Avoid excessive recollections of your previous job. Express ideas in the most specific way, do not use abstract notions.

8. Don't be afraid to ask and take notes for later use to avoid asking twice and being annoying.

9. It is important to ask questions and give meaningful feedback. Don't wait until the end of the probationary period. Learn what your manager thinks about your performance. Initiate a mid-term meeting to discuss your progress in fulfilling your new duties.

10. Try to inform the managers and colleagues about your contribution to the company, point out positive changes that took place due to your work, but choose the right form and time for such information. Don't over-egg the pudding. Bear in mind that bragging can provoke a negative reaction.

You should remember that a probationary period is a two-way process. It is needed not only to assess whether or not you are right for the job but also whether the job is right for you

*Probationary period is regulated by Articles 70 and 71 of the Labour Code of the Russian Federation.

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