Should You Agree to an Employment Trial Period? (With Tips)
Updated 30 September 2022
A company may need more time to determine whether a candidate is suitable. They might offer the prospect an employment trial period to assess their suitability and ensure that the employment arrangement can work long-term. Learning the factors to consider before you agree to an employment trial period can help you discover your options if you receive this proposition from an entity. In this article, we define an employment trial period, discuss when you should agree to an employment trial period, review its pros with cons and give tips for succeeding during this period.
What's an employment trial period?
An employment trial period, also known as a probationary period, is an arrangement lasting a few weeks during which an applicant serves in a company temporarily before being either hired or dismissed. Companies can use the trial period to determine whether a candidate suits their organisation's culture and has the required work ethic. Managers evaluate the potential employee's performance during this period to determine if the company can hire the applicant. The candidate can also assess if they want to continue being in the organisation before committing.
Should you agree to an employment trial period?
When you are asked to serve a probationary period, you may consider a few aspects before making your decision. First, assess the opportunity's value, and how it can support your long-term professional goals. You might accept this arrangement if you determine that it could provide the training and experience to help you attain your long-term career targets.
You may also review the trial period's terms before accepting the offer. Ensure you know its duration and the permanent position's details, if you receive a full-time job offer later on. The information you may request can include your benefits, salary and leave. You can sign a written document expressing the employment trial period's terms. Understand each condition before signing this document.
Pros of an employment trial period
An employment trial period can have these benefits:
Gain professional experience
An employment trial period can help you gain professional experience. It enables you to work alongside other professionals in a company. You may also perform duties that a regular employee performs, giving you adequate experience. This professional experience can be especially useful for recent college graduates.
Understand the company
The employment trial period can help you understand the organisation better. For example, you could use this period to examine their culture, mission, vision, management and practices. Use the information to decide if serving the company aligns with your own aims.
Related: A Guide to Singapore Work Culture
You can use the trial period to receive feedback on your performance. Managers might observe your work closely during an employment trial period to assess your suitability for the organisation. You can consider requesting their feedback on your performance. They may have helpful insights due to their experience, and also because they've been monitoring you closely during the trial period. They can inform you on where you've done well, and guide you on the areas that require improvement.
Earn an income
Employers might offer to pay you a small allowance or pro-rated salary during an employment trial period. It can be beneficial that you avoid displaying any dissatisfaction when you're first told about how much the payment is. Even if you think that what they're offering you is too little, you can impress them by displaying your enthusiasm for the role. This can benefit you in the long-term, especially if you're aiming for a full-time position in the company.
Cons of an employment trial period
An employment trial period can have these disadvantages:
Fewer employee benefits
Some companies only offer benefits to permanent employees. They might deny you benefits like health insurance during your trial period. Lacking these benefits can be stressful especially if you're working in dangerous environments. Review the trial period's proposition to fully understand the benefits you may get before accepting it.
Higher possibility of an employment gap
If the company chooses to consider other candidates for the role after your trial period, the employment trial period can become an employment gap on your resume. Future potential employers might ask why you have an extended break between jobs. Doing well during the trial period can increase your chances of joining the company permanently, decreasing the occurrence of such gaps on your resume.
An organisation can offer less pay during your employment trial period than the amount they offer to permanent employees. You may have similar duties and work terms, but they might be earning more than you. Making less money can limit your spending and deny you of some essential needs. Consider a company's pay during an employment trial period to determine if the amount they offer is worth accepting their trial period proposal.
The pressure to perform well while being evaluated during an employment trial period can stress you. The company's options to hire or dismiss after the period can also cause you to feel some anxiety regarding your job security. Prioritise what you can control, focus on performing well and ensure you have time to relax during this period.
Tips for a successful employment trial period
If you accept a proposal for a trial period, these tips can help you:
Ask the potential employer questions before accepting the employment trial period proposal and during the trial period. If you ask questions before accepting their offer, you may discover their trial period's terms. For example, you may determine the pay, benefits and duration. You may enjoy the trial period if you understand their terms before accepting their offer. The company can also inform you if they desire to extend the trial period.
Asking questions during the employment trial period can show supervisors that you can learn and improve. You may also discover more about the organisation and how to do the job well. The information prepares you for success if you get a permanent role with the company.
Accept feedback and implement it in your work during your employment trial period. Thank the supervisor for providing the assessment. Incorporate it into your work. The supervisor might be impressed and happy that you're receptive to feedback, and your consideration could encourage them to offer it more. Implementing the feedback can also improve your output and increase your expertise.
Record your progress
Recording your progress can help you maximise your employment trial period's benefits. Learn the potential employer's expectations during the trial period, then set goals for monitoring your progress towards meeting them. This approach can make your trial period successful and increase your odds of receiving a permanent role within the organisation.
Have a support system
You can find a support system during your employment trial period. Engage with your peers to network and build relationships. Networking can help you know your future colleagues better before receiving a permanent job offer.
Impress your supervisors
You can impress your supervisors during the trial period to increase your odds of getting a permanent role. Dress well, be aware of your body language, be approachable and smile whenever possible. These actions can convey that you value yourself and the trial period opportunity. You can consider arriving early and leaving late to demonstrate your commitment.
Demonstrate your capabilities
Becoming an indispensable team member might help you get a permanent role. You can achieve this by setting high work standards for yourself and pursuing opportunities that allow you to showcase your abilities. For example, you could help a busy colleague with their tasks, or use your skills to improve a process that your team uses. Supervisors might notice your initiative and consider it when evaluating your performance during the trial period.
Tips to manage your well-being
You may learn various new tasks and impress a whole new team during your employment trial period. These activities can also affect your well-being and stress you. Managing your personal health gives you the strength to perform well daily during the trial period. It can also help you achieve a sustainable work-life balance. You can manage your well-being in these ways:
Be resilient in accepting criticism and learn from your mistakes.
Exercise to remain healthy and happy.
Get the appropriate amount of sleep to re-energise yourself.
Take regular breaks that follow the company's HR policies to recharge.
Maintain a positive mindset that helps you relax and do well.
Use stress management techniques like mindfulness, deep breathing or meditation to relax.
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