Probation Review Meeting – What Happens & How to Prepare

Getting notice that your probation review meeting is due can be a source of anxiety. They are a normal part of the hiring process though and shouldn’t be stressful.

In this guide, we’ll give an overview of probation review meetings and what you should expect from yours.

A probationary period at work is as much to your advantage as it is to your employer. Go into your review with this mindset and you will instantly feel more reassured.

What is a Probation Review Meeting?

 A probation review meeting is a chance for your employer to assess how your trial period went. It is a chance to give feedback and decide whether to offer a permanent contract.

This will usually be conducted as a face to face interview with yourself, your employer and perhaps a member of the HR team.

The meeting is a chance for all concerned to air their feelings on how the probation period went. Your employer will give you feedback on their thoughts and you will have a chance to provide your thoughts too.

Possible Outcomes Of A Probation Meeting

There are three possible outcomes to a probation review meeting.

1.      You Are Unsuccessful In Securing A Permanent Position

You might be unsuccessful in obtaining a permanent role meaning you have failed probation.

This may be the case if your employer feels you are not suited to the responsibilities of the position. This is the worst case scenario. If you have a supportive workplace, this outcome should never be a surprise. During a properly managed probation, performance concerns should be raised and support given to address them.

2.      Probation Period Extended

You may be asked to extend your probation period for a while longer to give more time to assess suitability.

Sometimes, it is difficult to ascertain how an employee is doing in their job role and a longer time frame is required. There may have been some absences or other obstacles which interrupted the process.

3.      Passing Probation

The best outcome for all is passing probation and being offered the job permanently.

This means you come out of the probation period and become a fully fledged member of the team. A full and permanent contract will be drawn up.

How to Prepare for Your Review

Preparation is key when it comes to meeting with your boss. Make sure you think about what questions you might be asked, and how best to respond.

Feeling and looking prepared will go a long way in appearing confident and organised. These are both qualities which help portray how much the job means to you. You can preempt certain aspects of the meeting by considering how best to impress your boss.

  • Find the original job advert and remind yourself of the qualities required.
  • Be honest and have a list of any possible concerns you have.
  • Make a list of questions you would like to ask.
  • Have some feedback written down such as things you enjoy and do not enjoy.
  • Be willing to big up yourself and how you want to be part of the team.
  • Be ready to take any constructive criticism with humility.
  • Research commonly asked questions during a probation review meeting.
  • Prepare to be honest if you aren’t sure this job is for you.

What Will Happen During a Probation Meeting?

During a probation meeting, all parties will be able to evaluate how they think you have got on in the job role.

Feedback From Employer

Your meeting is a chance for your employer to offer feedback on how they feel you have fitted in. This will be based on their observations and conversations with other members of staff.

It is an opportunity for your boss to raise any concerns that may have cropped up and ask you some questions.

Your Feedback About The Job

It is important to remember that the review is as much for your benefit as anyone else.

It is a chance for you to voice your opinions on how you feel the job is going. You can give feedback on any problems you have experienced in a bid for them to be resolved.

How The Meeting Will Take Place

The meeting does not need to follow a particular structure.

It may be a very formal meeting where the entire review is recorded. Or it might be very informal with some coffee and biscuits and then some chatting.

The purpose, however, is the same – to ascertain if you will be kept on within the company, and decide on next steps.

Who Conducts the Meeting?

The meeting will usually be conducted by your boss.

Sometimes, it may take place with another senior member of staff if the manager is unavailable. There will often be a member of HR there as well, to write notes and oversee proceedings. Sometimes, employees may request someone comes with them for support.

Probation Meeting Questions – What You Might be Asked

You can mentally prepare for the meeting by exploring some of the most commonly asked questions.

  1. How have you found the job?
  2. How do you think you are performing?
  3. Do you feel you could have improved in any of the areas?
  4. Are there any concerns you would like to raise at this time?
  5. What are your aspirations if you were to stay with us?

With the questions you are asked during your review, try to keep an upbeat tone. You might have to listen to some negative feedback, use this as a learning opportunity.

The review is a chance for you to raise any concerns but try not to let this dominate the meeting.

How to Deal with Negative Feedback

Inevitably, review meetings may include some negative feedback. Expect this to happen so it does not catch you unawares.

You might already have an idea of your weaknesses. It is probably a good idea to consider any weak points in your performance so you can be ready to talk about them.

In this situation, prepare an answer for how you intend to grow from this. With any criticisms you receive, take these as your chance to improve and ask for some more support. This could take the form of extra training in a particular area or being shadowed by another member of staff.

It is quite natural to go on the defensive when handed negative feedback. Resist doing this though, accept what is said and use it to better your performance.

To make the most of negative feedback you can:

  • Seek extra training in the area of weakness.
  • Ask for support within the team.
  • Watch how others perform the task.
  • Set yourself a goal for a few months.
  • Thank your boss for bringing this to your attention.

Being gracious and humble during any negative feedback will show your boss how serious and committed you are.

Can You be Fired at a Probation Meeting?

Being fired at your probation meeting is possible. Having said this, if this is the outcome then it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.

It will be likely that things haven’t gone well during the probation period. This should be something you are already aware of.

This is exactly what the probation period is for. Sometimes, it just isn’t possible to judge if someone is the right fit for the job role. By putting them on a trial period, all parties get the opportunity to see if the job is going to suit them.

In the instance you are handed your notice then this will be in line with your current contract. You will be issued with a letter outlining the reasons, when your last day will be and details of wages owed.

Be Confident & Positive

You can consider your probation review meeting like a bridge, getting you from A to B.

It is the next logical step in your employment journey. Use it as a chance to understand what is expected of you and also get any concerns you have off your chest. Try to remain upbeat and your employer will see how enthusiastic you are.


Can I be accompanied to a probationary review meeting?

You can request to bring someone along to your probationary review meeting. This might be a colleague, friend, or family member. However, your employer is not obligated to agree to this request.

How much notice for a probation review meeting?

There is no mandatory notice for a probation review meeting. However, your boss should always let you know in advance. You need time to mentally prepare to make sure you air any concerns you may have.

3 thoughts on “Probation Review Meeting – What Happens & How to Prepare

  1. Sarah Denyer says:

    Hi, I’m currently an HCA fo a hospice but I have a cochlear implant. They knew this when offering me the job and said they wud give me the upmost support but since starting I’ve found some shifts very hard as people aren’t supportive ie in lip reading etc. I’m currently on paid leave and have told I will be having a probation review in the next few weeks to try and support me with any problems etc that need to arise looked at. Do I need to worry about this as I thought I was doing really well and I was told I was doing well.

  2. Freddie says:

    Hi Kelly, I was approached by a former manager to take the role I’m currently in, she said she wanted someone she knew she could trust to get the job done efficiently. My Probationary Review is now due, but she says she’s only had 1 response for reference requests, I’m really worried this may cost me my job. Would you mind advising me as to what I need to do please?

    • Safe Workers says:

      Hi There, issues with responses to referencing should not be something discussed at a probationary review meeting. This, and any repercussions should be dealt with on a day to day basis. It may be a good idea to ask your manager for more information, and if it is an issue, see if you can approach your former employers or managers to get all the references needed.

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