Frequently asked questions about trial shifts

Published on: Fri, 18 Feb 2022
By: Claire, redwigwam

If you have been asked to complete a trial shift for an upcoming job you may have questions... So we've put together the answers to some FAQs about trial shifts. 

What happens after a trial shift

What happens after a trial shift?

Sometimes, when you apply for a job, you’ll be asked to complete a trial shift as part of the application process.

But what happens after a trial shift?

Well of course every trial shift is different, but generally, once you’ve completed your allotted time, the manager will thank you for the work you’ve done – and possibly offer you some feedback. They’ll then say they will be in touch and will usually specify the timescale in which you can expect to hear back.

Sometimes, you’ll be offered a job there and then, but more likely is you’ll get a phone call in a day or two to confirm a job offer and what the next steps are.

How long to wait after a trial shift?

The waiting game after a trial shift might seem STRESSFUL. But how long should you wait after a trial shift to hear back?

Of course, there’s no right answer to this. To manage expectations, it’s a good idea to ask at the end of your trial shift when you should expect to hear back. If they haven’t been in contact within the agreed timeframe, it’s perfectly OK to give them a call or email.

If you haven’t agreed a timescale, you could follow up your trial shift with an email to say thanks for having you and how much you enjoyed the experience, and you’re looking forward to hearing from them soon. You can then follow this up a couple of days later to ask for any feedback and what the next steps are. This makes you appear motivated – and will keep you at front of their mind.

If you haven’t heard anything at all after a week, it’s probably a good idea to pick the phone up and give them a call. It is possible they decided you weren’t going to be offered a job, but it’s always a good idea to ask for feedback as to why.

What does a trial shift mean?

A trial shift is an opportunity for both you and the employer to see if you are right for the role before a job offer is made.

You won’t always be asked to complete one, but they are common in the hospitality industry, and many of our warehouse roles will ask you to come in for an induction shift before you start work.

While the idea of doing a trial shift might seem stressful, remember it’s as much about whether you like the job, as them liking you! It’s a great opportunity to meet some of your potential co-workers – and find out a bit more about the business. You’ll easily be able to see if they are happy working there, what the opportunities for development are, and importantly, what the job is REALLY like.

From the employer’s perspective, they’ll be looking to see if you are a good fit and have all the skills they are looking for.

Usually, being asked to go in for a trial shift means you’ve done well in the recruitment process so far. Not everyone will be asked, so congratulations! Enjoy it and you’ll have a new job before you know it!

Does a trial shift mean I get the job?

Well, sadly, no! While being asked in to do a trial shift is a good sign that you’re quite far through the application process, it’s not a guarantee you’ll be offered a job.

A trial shift is a great opportunity for both you and the employer to see if you are right for the role and to see how you fit in with other members of the team.

Being asked to go for a trial shift is a positive sign though. Usually, you’ll find out a few days after your trial shift if you are going to be offered a job and what the next steps are.

Is a trial shift a good sign?

Is a trial shift a good sign? Absolutely! It means the recruitment process is almost complete and you are being considered for the job.

While being asked to go in for a trial shift might seem daunting, it’s really nothing to worry about. Look at it as an opportunity to see if this is somewhere you would like to work, as much as them testing your skills.

A trial shift is a great way of getting to know the business, and the people who are potentially going to become your work colleagues! And it’s a chance to show off your skills to your potential employer to convince them you really are the perfect person for the job!

So, is a trial shift a good sign? YES!

How long does a trial shift last?

There is no rule about how long a trial shift lasts, so it is a good idea to ask the employer what their expectations are before you go.

As it is a trial, you may not be paid, so the employer should only keep you for as long as is needed to see if you can do the job. This could be as little as an hour but is usually between 2-4 hours.

Remember, the purpose of the trial is to see how you would fit into the team and if you’re suitable for the role. If the trial shift is expected to be any longer than 4 hours, or you are being asked to do more than one trial shift, it is reasonable to ask to be paid for your time.

It’s always best to agree this in advance so both you, and the prospective employer are clear on what the expectations are.

Should I be paid for a trial shift

It does depend, but usually, you won’t be paid for a trial shift.

The employer may be giving trial shifts to a few people as part of the application process, to help them make the decision on who is going to fit into the team the best and who has the right skills to do the job.

A trial shift should only last for a couple of hours. If you are asked to work a full shift (bearing in mind in hospitality, a full shift could be up to 12 hours), then it is reasonable to ask to be paid for a trial shift. (And remember you MUST be paid at least the national minimum wage).

If you are not being paid for a trial shift, the employer should only keep you long enough to demonstrate your skills and see how you interact with the rest of the team. You should always be supervised (remember, they are assessing your suitability for the role), and you should not be asked to complete anything which requires special training.

To avoid any confusion on being paid for a trial shift is to ask the question before you go – and agree what you will be doing during your trial shift.

What is a trial shift?

A trial shift is part of the application process for a job. Once you have had an interview, the employer may ask you to come in and work a trial shift to see how you fit in with the rest of the team and whether you have the right skills for the job.

You may be asked to complete a trial shift in any job, but they are especially common in the hospitality sector, when you’ll be joining a fast-paced team and they’ll be looking for excellent customer service skills. In warehouse jobs, you will often be asked to go in for an induction shift before you are offered a position. This is like a trial shift, where you will learn more about the role and what is expected of you.

Being asked to go in for a trial shift should be seen as a positive! It means you are one step closer to the job – they just want to see how you fit in. It’s a great opportunity to show off your skills, but also to find out more about the job and the team.

During a trial shift, you’ll be asked to carry out tasks which will form part of the job role.

While you’re on your trial shift, you will be supervised by someone who is watching you to see if they think you have what it takes to do the job. Even if you don’t have any experience, they will be able to assess your potential!

What does a trial shift involve?

What a trial shift involves will vary depending on the job you are applying for. But you’ll be asked to complete tasks which you would be expected to do as part of the role.

There may also be a challenge where the employer will be looking to see how you use your own initiative or deal with a tricky situation.

As it is a trial, you should not be asked to do anything too difficult, or anything which requires special training – this would follow when you are offered a job.

Some examples of trial shifts in various industries might include:

  • In a pub/restaurant – serve a drink or clear a table
  • In a shop – stock shelves, serve a customer
  • In a warehouse – pack an order, demonstrate lifting safely
  • In a cleaning role – some basic cleaning duties

The employer will use the trial shift to assess how you are likely to perform in the job, and how you fit in with the rest of the team.

You can use the trial shift in the same way – is this the job for you?

What to wear to a trial shift?

What to wear to a trial shift does depend on the job role you are applying for. The best thing to do is ask the question when you are offered the trial shift.

For hospitality roles, choosing all black, or black trousers and a white top is usually a safe bet. Remember to wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be on your feet and avoid jewellery and long nails.

For other jobs, think about shirt and trousers or a skirt, and smart shoes. If you’re in a warehouse, you can probably be more casual, but it is probably best to avoid football kits and t-shirts with offensive slogans for example!

Whatever you wear, make sure you look clean and well presented. You want to give a good impression to your perspective employer, and they team you will be working with.

More blogs about trial shifts...

Looking for work?

From warehouse to hospitality, cleaning to retail, we have jobs in all sorts of sectors all over the UK.

See latest jobs