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Sink Or Swim: The Six-Month Trial Period

Most New Hires Have Less Than 6 Months to Prove Themselves

Toronto - You never get a second chance to make a first impression, but just how much time does it take to make one when starting a new job? In a new Robert Half Finance & Accounting survey, the majority (92 per cent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) said new hires have less than six months to prove themselves.

"Kicking off a new position on the right foot starts before the first day on the job," said Greg Scileppi, president of Robert Half, International Staffing Operations. "To be well-prepared to hit the ground running, candidates should take advantage of the interview process to get a sense of what will be expected of them within the first 30 days, six months and year. New hires should also take the time to learn about the job, business, industry and even competitors to get a head start on making the greatest impact."

Scileppi added, "There is a learning curve with any new position, but to start adding value right away, it helps to meet with different people within the organization and find out about their different roles, priorities and goals."

CFOs were asked, "How much time do you allow a new hire to prove him or herself in a new role?" Their responses:

One to less than three months - 41%
Three to less than six months - 51%
Six months to less than a year - 8%

Here are some DOs and DON'Ts for getting off to a good start in a new job:

• Do show up early. Arriving ahead of schedule will give you time to settle in, review your calendar and organize your day.

• Don't be a know-it-all. Resist the urge to tout how things were done at your previous company; instead, learn how to do it your new firm's way before suggesting any changes.

• Do ask for help. Seek assistance if you need it. Request a weekly check-in with your boss to get feedback on your progress and discuss further training. Be an information sponge.

vDon't rock the boat. Avoid kicking off your tenure by requesting a flexible schedule or extra time off -- that should have been handled during the negotiation process. Also, observe the corporate culture and model your behavior accordingly.

• Do say "thank you." No gesture of help is too small to warrant appreciation. Showing sincere gratitude goes a long way and will make coworkers more likely to want to lend you a hand in the future. And, of course, return the favour when they come to you for assistance.

• Don't isolate yourself. Invite your colleagues to lunch or coffee to network and gain insights into their jobs. As you learn more about their work, look for ways you can assist them.

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