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The probationary period – what you should know

The probationary period is, so to speak, the getting-to-know-you phase between you and your employer. During this time, both sides check whether you fit together. Normally, the probationary period lasts between three and six months. There are no exact specifications, because each company determines the time span itself. It is even possible to shorten or extend the probationary period in exceptional cases. This decision is also up to the company alone.

If you are convincing in the interview, you will receive an employment contract. This can be for a limited or unlimited period. It is a formal commitment that there will be an employment relationship between the applicant and the company from now on. Trainees already attend vocational school during the probationary period.

An important difference to the “normal” employment relationship is usually the notice period. During the probationary period, both parties can terminate the employment relationship without giving reasons. Meanwhile, the contract can be terminated within a certain period of time, usually 14 days. This is no longer so uncomplicated after the probationary period. Often, the longer you are employed by an employer, the longer the notice period. This is to protect you from suddenly finding yourself without a job, as well as to protect your company from suddenly having to fill a new position.

From contract to practice – what to expect during the probationary period

What will you have to deal with during the training period? First and foremost, of course, the technical aspects. Your trainer or a colleague assigned to you will introduce you step by step to your tasks and responsibilities. During the probationary period, you can show what you’re made of. In personal interviews, your supervisor will tell you how satisfied he or she is with your work performance. Such dialogues allow you to assess how your probationary period is going. As a new team member, you are free to ask where you can improve. In this way, you show initiative. If you actively contribute yourself, you will be perceived positively by the other person. After the feedback, create a list of key words and write down the results of the conversation in brief. This will help you to reflect on your probationary period later.

Not only your professional qualities, but also the relationship between you and your colleagues will be “put to the test”. Both sides ask themselves whether you harmonize with each other. Especially in companies with a large number of employees, the daily cooperation must function well.

Taking vacation during the probationary period is not a problem. You are entitled to one to three days off per month, depending on your total vacation time. The “real” entitlement to vacation days only starts after you have passed your probationary period. If you are not sure how long you can take vacation during your probationary period, just ask your supervisor or human resources.

In between, you should listen to yourself and ask: “Do I still see myself in this company after my probationary period? Can I actually see myself working here for the long term?” Now it’s important to be honest with yourself. Also ask yourself, “Do I feel comfortable with my colleagues?” Sometimes it takes a little while to really “arrive.” This is quite normal and lasts for a while for many young professionals. However, you often notice quite early on if the workplace doesn’t suit you. This is perfectly okay, because that’s what the probationary period is for.

However, if your supervisor is satisfied with you, you want to stay with the company and nothing else stands in the way of working together, you will get the much sought-after permanent contract or your contract will not be cancelled. Some employers leave it at a verbal promise that the employment contract will remain in place. This confirmation makes you a permanent member of the team.

At that moment, it’s officially “welcome to the team”.

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