Facebook Pixel

It may be a tight employment market, but when it comes to hiring quality talent, national employment statistics don’t help recoup the time and money invested in new hires who don’t pan out. For small and mid-size companies, every margin matters.

If you’re looking to improve your hiring and recruitment process, probationary periods for new employees are an excellent option.

Benefits of Probation Periods

Also known as “introduction periods,” probation is a kind of test drive that offers benefits to employers and employees alike.

For employers, the perks of an intro period are limitless. In most cases, a new hire on temporary status will strive to stand out, work overtime to prove herself, and volunteer for extra projects to show her worth.

For the new hires themselves, probation allows time to get their feet wet, learn the job, ask questions, and find their place in a new work environment.

For employers and employees alike, probationary periods offer a no-questions asked escape route if things just aren’t working. Plenty of new hires walk into a new job only to realize that they didn’t read the dress code requirements of the job posting, or that they’re significantly outgunned compared to their peers when it comes to industry knowledge or past on-the-job experience.

It happens, and things don’t have to end badly just because it wasn’t an ideal fit. Additionally, there is added security when pairing with a workforce strategy provider like us. We absorb a lot of the risks of potential bad-hires. 

Probationary Period Legal Considerations

When a company does a probationary period, lawyers always have a cautionary tale to add. Their advice: be upfront. Follow these steps:

  • declare on paper that the job starts as a probationary period
  • include the exact time-frame of the probationary period, or the benchmarks that must be met before the probationary period ends
  • state that probation can be cut short at any time by either party
  • have each party sign the agreement

Thankfully when using a workforce strategy provider (staffing firm), we will again absorb that responsibility from you.

The Cons of Probationary Periods

The only real downside of probationary periods is that your new hire may outperform in the short term–long enough to land a permanent position, only to kick up their feet once they receive full employment status. However, statistically speaking, people tend to settle into routines and show their true work ethics between 60-90 days which is a typical probationary period anyhow. 

If you want to be sure to mitigate the flash-pan effect of probationary employees fizzling out after they’re brought on permanently: simply write down their successes and set the expectations going forward.

This can be part of their hiring contract, a first-draft of their next performance review, or a simple employment file memo that can be used if your new-hire does turn out to be a limited-time superstar. Be clear of their performance to date and the expectations going forward. Include things they did right, their attendance, attitude, and areas for improvement before their next evaluation.


For an even more ideal test drive, start your hiring process with our X-FACTOR model of identifying, evaluating, and hiring top talent in a tight employment market. Download our free whitepaper below on “Perfecting the Perfect Hire” and contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Recommended For You:

NEXTAFF helps companies Hire Quality Employees.  By offering a complete range of temporary staffing agency services, we help your company – no matter where you are in your business evolution – raise productivity through hiring better quality employees. We are able to service all your staffing agency needs with local staffing offices in Sacramento-CA, Sonoma County-CA, Des Moines-IA, Raleigh-NC, Overland Park-KS, Topeka-KS, Detroit-MI, Kansas City-MO, Gulf Coast-MS, Phoenix-AZ, Miami-FL, and Harrisburg-PA.