Because many companies spend thousands of pounds a year on recruitment and training they need to ensure that they get the right person for the job and whilst assessment tests and interviews will give them a very good idea in terms of assessing the most suitable candidate, they can never really be entirely certain that the person they offer the job to will be the best choice they could have made until the successful applicant starts doing the actually job. After all, there are a couple of factors to consider.
Its not simply just about how well you can do the job but also if you can Fit in with the Team, which is something that is quite difficult to establish just at interview. Therefore, many companies choose to ask you to work a probationary period before youre fully made a permanent member of staff or you can be released if they decide they dont wish to make you permanent.
The Probationary Period
Probationary periods normally last for about 3 to 6 months, sometimes longer, although if its a short-term, temporary contract, they can often be much shorter. They are designed to let employers assess how well youre coping in the job, how you get on with the team and to establish whether or not they want to offer you the job permanently following the completion of the probationary period.
Its important to remember that its not just about assessing whether or not youre right for the job but also about whether the jobs right for you. The reason being that the company might need to invest heavily in training for you and, if you decide its isnt what you want after all, either upon completion of your training or part the way through and you decide to leave, the company will have wasted their money on the training.
So, unlike a permanent position where you may have to give a months notice if you decide to leave or vice versa, the company wishes to give you notice, both parties should have the right to terminate the agreement whenever they choose. However, youd need to check your contract to see if youre required to give any notice or vice versa.
If you are going to be subject to working a probationary period, ask the employer to put down the terms of the agreement into an Employment Contract. That way, youll know what is expected of you and also the date upon which the agreement ends and youre either taken on permanently or let go.
Youll probably receive regular reviews throughout your probationary period to give you an idea on how youre progressing and for you to give feedback on how youre enjoying the job. Its also an opportunity for either side to pinpoint any weaknesses or issues, which may be resolved by offering you additional training. This is not meant to be a criticism of your work performance but simply enables the company to take stock and to implement any additional training needs, if need be.
Team leaders and, perhaps, even the HR department too will have a strong influence during your probationary period so its important that you realise that these are the people you need to impress if you want to be taken on permanently once it comes to an end. However, providing you understand and deliver upon whats expected of you, you shouldnt have any real problems.
In terms of Minimum Wage, holiday pay, health and safety issues and the working time regulations, you are entitled to the same protection during your probationary period as are the permanent members of staff. However, if your boss decides to let you go during this period, you cannot claim unfair dismissal unless it was for reasons to do with harassment or some form of discrimination offence unless your probationary period runs for longer than a year, which is quite unusual.
You shouldnt panic too much about a probationary period. It does, naturally, mean that you havent got as much security in your job initially to enable you to plan finances too far ahead but it is rare that poor performance is cited as the reason youre not going to be kept on. Usually, a company will offer you advice and, where appropriate, further training in order to get you up to speed as opposed to letting you go for those reasons.
Its also useful to go into these situations with the right attitude. Tell yourself that providing you do whats expected of you, theres going to be a permanent job at the end of it. Yet be philosophical also and if things dont work out and you are not kept on, remember youve earned money during the period and, more importantly perhaps, youll have gained more skills to put on a CV, made new contacts and, at the very least, if it goes all wrong, you may be able to say, Ive tried that job but it wasnt for me.
If you’re convinced that you have been unfairly treated during your probation period, then why not investigate more about unfair dismissal?
Last Updated on 25 May 2021