5 Questions you must ask during job probation
When you start a new job – at least in Australia – most companies impose a probation period. Depending on your role a probation period could be several weeks to several months. Employers and managers will almost always approach probation discussions from the vantage point of whether employer thinks you are suitable for the job. That’s understandable.
But even if you pass probation remember that the probation period is for you to. Starting a new role is always exciting mixed with a level of anxiety. A new role brings a new boss and his or her management style, new challenges, new colleagues and sometimes a new industry. You might be very keen to prove that they made the right decision hiring you.
There are a number of things you should think about during your probation period to enable you to make a decision about this new employer. Granted not everyone has the freedom to leave a job, without another. Any job is better than no job – right? This is especially true if you have a family to support and a mortgage to pay. But your probation period is also a time for you to assess the job you have just won. During your probation period ask yourself the following 5 questions:
1. Is your position description (i.e. the reason why you applied for the job) – what the role really is?
Sometimes jobs can look really great on paper and indeed the selection panel in the job interview sold it to you as such. But you will never really know about the dynamics of a role until you get in there and have a really good look around. It may be more challenging and interesting than it read on paper. Or it may not be. Make sure that during your probation meetings with your manager, that you ask questions and be open about your observations about the role if you feel that something is lacking. Remember your employer spent time and money to find the right candidate – you! They want you to work out. So if there is something that concerns you during probation, mention it so that something might be done about it.
2. Is the workload reasonable?
Most dedicated employees don’t mind peaks and troughs in the workplace. But if after a few weeks you find you have stepped into constant peaks where it seems to be the norm, or a landscape of troughs which make you wonder why you were hired – then assess it and say something.
3. Is the job right for your personality?
This is particularly true if you have changed industries. I once decided to try to do something completely different from what I had been doing and I won the role as a recruitment consultant in an agency. My brief was to fill temporary roles. The recruitment process was quite lengthy – commencing with a telephone interview, then a group interview with three other candidates and a couple of people were holding clipboards and taking notes of our interactions. There was psychological testing and finally an interview with the supervising manager and a senior member of the company. After all of that I was surprised to get the role. I knew I could DO the role. The work itself was something that I knew what was within my capabilities as an office professional.
BUT what I didn’t account for was the emotional toll the role took on me. For me the challenge was not having control over the quality of my work. Temp staff I had placed would pull out last minute or even during the assignment. I recall one woman who called me during her lunch break (she had started that morning) to tell me she didn’t want to go back after lunch because she was being asked to clean the boardroom and make coffee. “It is a reception role, and it is temporary,” I told her. “It is part of the role.” “No”, she said – “I don’t want to go back.” Pile a number of these sorts of experiences together day after day and after 3 months I was dreading going in every day.
During my probation period I talked to my manager and told her I was not cut out for this role. She assured me I was doing a great job – so I worked one more month – and then gave in my notice. It was tough. I didn’t have another job to go to – so I too became a temporary contractor until I found another role. But the point is – if you know the role is going to take a toll on you – then tell yourself the truth – and tell your employer.
What was interesting in my case was my supervisor told me once I resigned that my psychological testing indicated that my personality might not be suited for this industry – but they hired me anyway because of the skills I had shown in the process. The employer should have taken note of those results because they proved to be true.
4. Is the company culture an environment you feel comfortable in?
During an interview process and when you were offered the role, you may have been told lots of great things about the company. It’s like going on a first date. Of course all the positives are emphasized. But once you get into a company – that is the time to really see the morale of staff in the company, how the company treats its clients, the company values in action (or not).
5. Is the job right for you?
If you have the financial means to make a choice and the job is not for you, have the courage to admit it.
DotPointz to help you assess your new job during the probation period;
- Consider if the role you are doing is the role you applied for – if it isn’t – do you still want to do it?
- Is the workload reasonable?
- Does the role suit your personality?
- Is the company culture comfortable for you?
- Is the job right really right for you?
This is our personal blog . The views expressed on these pages are our views alone and not those of our respective employers.