How to Impress During your Probationary Period
We’ve all been there; the probationary period. It’s that little period of time between acing the interview and putting your words from your CV and interview into action to impress your employer. It’s not fun. You are well aware that you’re being observed, critiqued and judged on your performance, so naturally you’ll feel like you’re doing everything possible to make an idiot out of yourself! But you’re not (probably). However, if you are one of what I can only assume to be the majority of people, who has trouble relaxing during this period and dreads it, hopefully these few tips will be able to help!
Look the part
Your new workplace is a catwalk, and you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Do not turn up smelling like the night before or looking scruffy and unkempt. Doing that screams that you’re not bothered about the job. You need to look clean and tidy, professional or in keeping with whatever environment you will be working in, and smiley! Everyone likes a chirpy smiler who wants to talk to them. Although don’t overdo it as there is a thin line between ‘friendly newbie’ and plain creepy.
Like I said in the previous point, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Sadly, if you make a bad impression on somebody, it may take you some time you shake that off and change their mind. Unnecessary work for you! Get it right the first time. Greet all your new members of staff and your new bosses in a friendly, professional manner. Don’t criticise members of staff unless it’s constructively and to their face. Maybe don’t talk badly of your last workplace, colleagues and bosses to your new ones. At least until you get to know them personally or this could reflect badly on you and make you seem negative.
Show some willing
You need to show that you are motivated, eager and willing to do what you can to learn the ropes. You won’t impress anybody by standing there like a lost sheep wondering what to do with yourself. Hopefully your new boss will have set tasks for you to do first, but if not, and you get thrown in at the deep end (which happened to me!) then use your head. Ask somebody if you can shadow them a little to watch what they are doing. Ask questions. Ask people to take some time and show you something. Being thrown in at the deep end is the best way of learning when starting a new job, in my opinion and experience. You have no choice but to just get on with it and if you ask lots of questions and show you are willing to get stuck in (even if you actually feel like a lost puppy), this will only benefit you in the long run.
Play to your strengths
Remember all those skills and abilities you mentioned in your CV and interview? Well now is the time to showcase them and prove you weren’t just making them up. If you know you do certain things well, do them. Look for the opportunities in your new workplace where these strengths may come in handy and work your magic. You will eventually feel comfortable in doing so and you are proving to those observing you that you can do so.
Remember you’re on probation
That kind of sounds like you just got out of jail doesn’t it. However, this is true and you cannot forget that no matter how comfortable you start to get in your new role, you are still being tested by the powers that be. With this in mind, try not to fall into any bad habits that you may pick up from other permanent members of staff. Distance yourself from any office conflict or gossip and keep in mind that for some time you will be being observed. Think of this as a challenge to get as many things right as possible rather than a dreadful, never ending race to finish. You could even ask your bosses, occasionally, for feedback on how you are doing and whether they have any tips for improvement. Again, this makes you look like you’re committed and reflects well on your character in terms of wanting to keep bettering yourself and asking for advice.
It’s a jungle out there in the big bad world of work, but you need to remember that everybody, or at least most of us experience a probationary period at some point. Just be yourself, have a positive mind set and the rest should follow!