How to pass your 6-month probation period (in 8 steps)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many companies implement probationary periods when hiring new employees. These periods enable individuals to demonstrate their technical competencies and passion for learning during this period. Learning more about probationary periods, including how to successfully complete this period, can help you excel during this time with a new company. In this article, we discuss what a six-month probationary period is and review steps on how you can pass this period.

What is a 6-month probation period?

A six-month probation period is a trial period where an employer determines if you're a good fit for the job and vice versa. It's an opportunity to prove yourself, learn and grow and make a good impression. It's often a chance for them to see if you can do the work, and it may also be a way for them to determine whether they think you're a good fit for the organisation.

A probationary period usually has special rules and regulations. These rules are there to protect both parties in case one party decides they no longer wish to continue working together after the probationary period is over. The most common rule is they can terminate the contract without cause at any time during the first six months of employment. If you're asked to sign a probationary period agreement, it means you have an offer from a company and they're wanting to see how you perform before they make a final decision on a permanent position.

Related: What is a notice period?

How to pass a probationary period

To pass a probationary period, it helps to understand the company's culture, policies and procedures. It's also important to know what's expected of you and how to prove you have the skills, knowledge and experience needed for the job. The more closely your actions match those of other employees who've successfully passed a probationary period at the company, the better chance you have of getting a permanent role. Here are some steps to help you pass your six-month probation period:

1. Build relationships with your peers

Your peers are likely to become your friends and confidants, so building relationships with them are important. Some managers might also ask your peers about your performance in the new role. Here are some ways you might consider helping you foster strong relationships with your peers:

  • Ask about their background. This helps you understand their life prior to their role with the company and can help you learn more about their experiences, skills and competencies.

  • Find similar interests. People relate to others who have common interests or hobbies, so finding these shared interests can help you build a strong relationship with your peers.

  • Ask them about their job. This helps you to understand what they do, how they fit into the company and if they're content in the role.

Related: Tips to improve the manager-employee relationship

2. Request feedback

Your probation period is a good time to ask for regular feedback. Asking for feedback from your supervisor or manager allows you to learn what you can do better, which can also show your dedication to the role and the company. If you're unsure whether or not you're meeting the company's expectations, ask questions. Fostering open communication between you and your manager can also help them understand you want to improve and learn in the new role, which can promote a positive reputation.

Related: A complete guide to giving and receiving feedback at work

3. Practice time management

Once you've adjusted to your new schedule and the job, aim to maintain a good time management plan. Try creating a daily planner and writing what you want to do the following day before leaving work so you're ready to start as soon as you arrive each morning. Setting specific goals for each day, plus weekly or monthly goals, helps you meet expectations and increase productivity. Begin by making a list of tasks that need completing, then prioritise them based on their importance.

Related: 11 top job skills: transferable skills for any industry

4. Show confidence

Confidence can help you excel in any workplace, and it can help you complete your first six months on the job. When you're confident in your abilities and yourself, you're more likely to perform at a higher level and have increased levels of productivity. There are plenty of ways to build confidence, including:

  • Know what makes a good job candidate. When looking for roles at new companies, think about your skills, education and experience. This can help you understand you're the right fit for the role and can have a positive effect on the company.

  • Learn how to handle criticism. Constructive criticism is an important part of learning and developing your skills in a new role. Learning how to accept and use criticism or feedback can help you quickly improve your abilities and show your dedication to refining your skills.

  • Focus on your strengths. Focusing on your own skills and competencies versus those around you can help you improve your self-confidence. This can also help you identify improvement areas within your own abilities that can improve your productivity or effectiveness in the workplace.

Related: Q&A: Why probationary periods are important for recruitment

5. Ask questions

Asking questions shows you're ready to learn and you aren't afraid to admit when something is beyond your current skill set. It also shows you have a genuine interest in the job and are willing to learn. You might even find your questions lead to a new project or task that demonstrates your skill set. Asking questions can also help prevent you from making mistakes when completing tasks or help managers find new ways to enhance training programmes or company operations.

6. Meet with clients and make a positive impression on them

When you're new to a job, one of the first things you do is meet both your team and your clients. If you make a positive impression on your clients, they're more likely to enjoy working with you and trust they can count on your professionalism. To make a positive impression:

  • Be professional and courteous. Make sure you're on time for meetings, dress appropriately and ensure your communication style is clear, concise and respectful of other people's time.

  • Be open to feedback. Listening carefully to feedback from clients can help you better understand their needs and preferences, which can improve your effectiveness when assisting them in the future.

  • Be a team player. Sharing information and collaborating with others can help you show your dedication to your team and the company, and can also help you foster strong interpersonal relationships.

Related: A brief guide for managers on probation review (plus FAQ)

7. Volunteer for projects or tasks

Volunteering for a project, attending events and networking with colleagues can help you further demonstrate your dedication to the role. It's also a good way to show you care about the company and want the company to succeed. Here are some volunteer ideas to help you show your commitment to the company:

  • Help other people with their work. This could be something as simple as taking on some of their tasks so they can focus on more important things, or it could mean helping them become more efficient in their job by sharing tips on how to do things better.

  • Complete additional tasks. Being proactive by identifying what tasks need completing and working on completing those tasks can help you show your proactive problem-solving skills and commitment to productivity.

  • Attend voluntary events. Some companies host optional training seminars or business events and attending these voluntary events can help you better understand the company and show your dedication to the organisation's success.

Related: How to train new employees (with instructions and examples)

8. Measure your progress

During your first six months, track your progress by using a spreadsheet or to-do list. This helps you see the areas where you're succeeding and also gives you a sense of what needs improvement. It can also be a good way to show your value at the end of your probation period, as you have a record of your achievements to show your boss. If you're not sure what to add to your list, ask for feedback from your peers.

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