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How to pass your probation period at work

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 25 Aug 2021

Probation period Hero Image

Most jobs will come with a probation period when you begin your new role, if you’ve never had one before, it usually varies in time depending on the role, but three to six months seems to be pretty common. It usually depends on your contract and employers will usually discuss a probation period with you and have it stated in your contract before you start the role.

The probation period gives you the time you need to learn the ropes, make the job your own and overall, get settled in at the company. If you find that the job isn’t for you during your probation period, you are able to give less notice and go on to find something better suited to you. However, if you love the role, passing your probation period means you may open up a whole load of employee benefits. So, how can you pass your probation with no hassle?

This is the time for training

The information and knowledge you obtain during your probation period is very important. During the probation of a new role, it’s likely that your line manager will sign you up to all kinds of mandatory training that will be crucial to your job and your role in the company. Sometimes, you cannot pass probation without these training sessions and others will be about company values etc. It’s important that you show up ready for all sessions, no matter what the importance. Not only does it show you are ready and eager to learn, but you may be asked about it later on in your probation period.

You’ll learn the basics of your role, what it entails and the type of things you will need to do on a day-to-day basis. Most of the time, different employers will have different systems they use as well, so getting to know these is crucial during this time. Once all of this is out the way, you can really start to make the role your own, it can be a little bit boring, but it is worth it!


Being on time may seem like an obvious one, but it means more than just being at your desk on time in the morning. It means being in meetings at the right time, being back from your break at the right time and importantly, attending all of your training sessions. Being punctual is a skill and one that requires a lot of attention throughout the day. We all know that when we’re busy with a task, time can very easily get away from us, so it might be a good idea to set up a schedule in your computer calendar straight away so you receive notifications at the right time! It’s all part of conducting yourself in a professional manner.

Know your targets

You may be in a role that requires certain KPI targets, if not, your manager is likely to assign some targets and goals just for you and your role. Targets can be a very important measuring point for determining the completion of your probation, so make sure you understand them from the start. If you also have any issues with them or think you may need some more time to learn everything asked of you, raise it with your line manager. They’ll usually be happier if you raise the problem rather than pointing it out at the last minute. Targets set when you start a new role are usually fairly easy to pass, the purpose of them is to ease you slowly but efficiently into your new role.

Be proactive

If you find yourself with some spare time at any point during your probation and once you’ve passed, why not offer your support to other people in your team or branch out to other teams around you? It’s not often you’ll find yourself with spare time during a probation, it usually keeps you pretty busy in the first place. But if you do, volunteering to help with other projects and tasks shows what a team player you are. It’s also a great way to meet other colleagues and be involved in a wider part of the company. Not only can this potentially open other job opportunities for you in the future, if you want to make your way up through the company, but it can show your other colleagues that you are passionate about what you do.

Now is the time to ask questions

If you don’t quite understand something, don’t be afraid to ask! Remember, this is a learning period for you, and you aren’t expected to know everything from the second you walk into the building. Talk to your manager, ask your teammates and if you have questions about the company and the work culture, ask the people around you. Try spending your lunch break with different people, get to know as many as you can during this time. If you have one, ask your mentor or ‘buddy’ any questions you may have, I’m sure they’d be happy to have a chat with you. Just don’t keep yourself in the dark.

Do your research

I know this is usually advised before you apply for the role but think about how your role can be developed in the future. What do you want to do with this role and how can you make it your own? Have a look at what other companies offering the same role do and see if there are any additional elements you would like to add to your role. Then when it comes to discussing the success of your probation with your manager, you have new ideas. You’ll hopefully know what you want from this role and how you can help the company, they’ll be really interested to know your ideas.

No matter how nerve wracking your first few days and your overall probation period can be, remember that no matter what, you are already an employee of the company, even if you haven’t passed probation yet. It’s usually just a procedure that all employees go through, so they’re not doing it to put extra pressure on you. It’s usually not difficult to pass the probation period, just turn up and do what you know best. Be willing to learn, try new things and overall work hard, show them that they picked the right candidate and that you picked the right job.