Tips to acing your probation period
Congrats on your new job! Now all you have to do is ace your probation period. But how do you best navigate the first few months in the spotlight? As Hong Kong is a tough and competitive market for job seekers, it's important to make a great impression to seal the deal.
Keep in mind that your probation period is as much as the chance for your new company to assess your skills as it is for you to find out whether the role and job scope are a good fit for you. A successful probation period is in the interest of both parties. Here are a few tips on how to craft your position in a new team and succeed in passing your probation period.
Know your boundaries
A common reason why people fail their probation period is that they got into an argument with a colleague or their direct manager over the tasks they're given. It's important to recognise that being highly motivated is not the same as interfering with your colleagues or superiors. You are right to explore new opportunities and to learn as much as you can from others, but overstepping your boundaries is not the way to fit into a new company. Focus instead on what you're asked to do and offer your help when you're between tasks to show you care and are a valuable asset to the team.
Get along with your colleagues
During your probation period, you will be assessed on your professional attitude, but your manager will also pay close attention to whether you can work with your colleagues. When it comes to establishing a rapport with your colleagues, having the right workplace attitude is just as important as being friendly with your co-workers. Start out on the right foot by introducing yourself to everyone in your new team, and, if the situation allows for it, try to have lunch or a coffee break with everyone in your team during the first weeks. By getting to know them socially, you'll gain a better understanding of who they are and how to work with them productively. Don't miss out on the opportunity to build trust among the team.
Manage your time well
When starting a new job, your schedule and task list can be overwhelming and turn your projected timelines upside down. If you feel you won't be able to meet a deadline, you need to be proactive about it – either by putting in some extra work or communicating the delay to your team as early as possible. The last thing you want is to negatively impact the work of your colleagues.
While handling all your deadlines is essential to passing your probation period, managing your time also includes showing up on time. Even if your company offers flexible working hours, it’s best to not take advantage of it during your first weeks at work. As people don’t yet know you, don't give them a reason to form a bias.
Set your goals
Before starting your new job, make sure you are aware of any KPIs that might have been set for your role by your manager. If there are no goals set, you can reach out to your boss to discuss the subject with him or her. If that's not possible, you should define for yourself what you really want to achieve during your probation period.
Here are some questions you might want to answer:
- What do you need to do in the first 90 days?
- What do you want to achieve beyond your probation period?
- What might your boss and colleagues expect from you?
- What role are you expected to fill in the wider team?
- What problems are you trying to solve?
Remember that a probation period goes two ways. If you give it your all, both you and your new company will be able to determine whether you are a good fit for each other. Don't be afraid of making mistakes, as your manager and colleagues will not judge you by the mistakes you make, but rather by how you handle the fallout and learn from them.