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How to Pass Your Probation Period

So you’ve written an excellent application, you’ve wowed the employer at interview and you’ve started work! Congratulations!

Now the next part – passing probation! It can be easy to forget that once you’ve done all that hard work, you’ll still be under scrutiny. Your employer will normally put in place a probationary period – usually between 3 and 6 months.


This is an opportunity for both you and them to find out how compatible you are, and make sure that you’re views and ethics match the companies (and vice versa!). Generally at the end of your probation your manager will sit down with you to discuss your progress and give you a chance to go over any concerns or issues you might have.

So what can you do during your initial start with a company to make sure you hit all the right notes?

Make Sure You’ve Done Your Research

Once you start work you should quickly be able to engage with whether this is the right company for you – you will get a feeling for how your colleagues talk about the business and approach you, and how you’ll be managed.

Prior to applying and attending interview, you should have carried out some research into the company and their culture to make sure it’s the fit for you. If you’ve done this effectively there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises once you start work.

Related: Top Ten Career Development Tips

If once you start work, the reality of the workplace isn’t matching up with your research it might be worth having a think as to whether this is the place for you.

Read Your Contract & Workplace Policies

I can’t tell you the number of times a client has gone into work and fallen out because they haven’t met basic employer expectations – that are usually clearly outlined in their contract and company policies. Prior to starting work make sure you’ve have read over all documentation and raise any queries you have with management on your first day so you don’t fall into any pitfalls.

Company policies will cover everything from Appropriate Dress Code, What to do when you’re sick or running late for work and In Work Etiquette – including bullying and appropriate language policies.
Make sure you have a clear understanding of all of these before you start work.


During your probation period you will be monitored on a number of things including how much sickness or medical leave you take. If you have any pre-existing conditions you know may require you to take a morning out of the business once a month say, make sure your employer is aware of this when you start. Employers are not allowed to discriminate employees for any medical conditions and being up front and honest from the out set will put you in good stead.

My advice would be that where possible you avoid taking unnecessary sickness leave during your probation. However, if you absolutely can’t go to work -as mentioned above- make sure you read over the sickness policy and follow this appropriately.

If a condition arises during your probation period that will require you to take some time out of the business – again make sure you have an honest conversation with your manager and produce back up of any appointments with letters etc from you GP or hospital just to cover yourself.


As well as sickness, lateness and appearance – you will also be monitored for your performance in your individual role. Whether you have targets or not, your employer will have an expectation of performance from you and its important you’re clear on all aspects of this to ensure you meet that expectation!

The interview is an opportunity to go over the job description and clarify any questions you may have but once you’re actually doing the job itself, a multitude of other issues could arise! Make sure you are picking this up with your colleagues or management as soon as possible, especially if you’re struggling, to make sure you’re clear on what you need to do and also so your managers clear if you need any additional support to make sure you pass your probation.

Related: How to Research a Company to Prepare for an Interview

In Work Etiquette

This covers all of the above but just to reiterate – Employers will expect you to have a basic grasp of what being employed by them means. It means calling if you’re going to be late, dressing appropriately, communicating with your colleagues professionally and generally turning up on time and doing the job your tasked with!

It is important to remember at this stage that the employer is NOT looking to catch you out! They’ve taken the time to interview and employ you over a number of other candidates – they’re usually as keen for you to pass your probation as you are, so make sure you speak up over any issues and get appropriate support so you can pass successfully :)

photo by: journeyswithasimplegirl

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