The amount of staff sacked during their probation period is reported to be 1 in 5, with suspicions that the figure is probably much higher, with most failing due to ‘poor performance’. How did it go so wrong? Great care was taken to find you, jumping through endless hoops during the interview process and being very excited about your new role. Don’t be one of the casualties of failed probation.
The best candidate can start in the new role, be competent and still fail probation, but why? The workplace is a Catwalk, a Marathon, a Cocktail Party, a Snake Pit and a Jungle. Your line manager and senior management team are scrutinising you when you first start a role, they will not always be convinced that they made the right decision based on your interview alone. Here are a few tips from Undercover Recruiter as to how you can avoid some of the pitfalls of failing probation:
- Look Right:
“You only get one chance to make a first impression” is sadly very true. You are on a catwalk, so be very aware of what the ‘winners’ look like. What do they wear? What language do they use? Do they stay at their desks till late or are they on the road a lot? You want to be able to balance blending in with your new colleagues whilst also demonstrating that you are genuine and self-aware. You also need to make new friends, ideally at the same level as you who can help you understand the office dynamics.
- Each Time Is The First Time:
Your first few work tasks will be scrutinised by all, and they will want to know if you make mistakes, is your advice to be trusted or do you miss deadlines? Make sure you look after yourself in the first couple of months, get early nights and keep some of your weekends free to read your notes and exercise. This is called the marathon stage. You need to be well rested and give lots of attention to your work in this early period. If you can impress the key people in your new role, this buffer will help you in your first year. Should you give the wrong impression, this may prove impossible to shake off.
- Remember You Are Still Being Tested:
Remember those promises you made at interview? Now is the time to consolidate them to make sure you are credible in this role. This will be needed when impressing the other key decision makers who were not responsible for your appointment. You need to treat each of your first 100 days as a cocktail party. Smile, be nice to everyone, listen carefully to others, and give each individual your undivided attention.
- Don’t Play Games:
You are too new to play office politics. If you are going to criticise others, then make sure it’s constructive and to their face so that they can learn from your feedback. You need to build your own security, so make sure you don’t get sucked into others’ issues or be tempted to grass anyone up for not doing their job properly. The rules of the newcomer apply to you and you need to prove yourself.
- Play To Your Strengths:
Don’t forget that they chose YOU for the job. If you are unsure which natural abilities won you the role, ask for feedback. It is your responsibility to know how you come across and your failings. Self awareness is key if you want to demonstrate the value you add and win over your critics. If you are successful in doing this, you will have rewarded the interview team for making the right choice but others in the workplace may feel threatened and competitive.
Remember to look after yourself in the first 100 days and give the role all you have got. It would be naive to forget that you are being scrutinised when you first start a role, use their attention as an advantage and show them that they made the right decision.