Probationary periods and getting the right employee

Home » Performance Management » Probationary periods and getting the right employee

Unlike the well-known brand of quick drying woodstain when it comes to new recruits employers often don’t get exactly what it says on the tin.

The CV ticked all the boxes and the interview may have impressed but a few weeks into employment it is becoming ever clearer that the new recruit is not going to work out.

Whether the employee doesn’t meet your basic standards, fails to perform to expectations or is simply a square peg for the round hole of the role, the time has come to part ways.

That’s the moment when employers realise one of two things: just how prudent it was to include a probationary period in the contract of employment or just how careless they were for omitting one.
It’s surprising how many employers get caught out by such a scenario, believing a probationary period to be an automatic entitlement.


It’s much more than a simple case of ‘whoops’ for the employers who are left counting the cost of poor choices in recruitment and selection. Recruiting the wrong people can have a very detrimental impact on your business so it’s prudent to pay close attention to the little details right from the beginning of the process.

A probationary period is a safety net that employers can avail of easily but it must first be written into each new employee’s contract of employment. If it’s not in black and white then an employer has no right – it’s as simple as that. The contract must then be signed to seal the deal.


We would recommend a probationary period of six months which is an adequate amount of time to gauge the suitability of an employee for a role. Should an employer write in the contract of employment that the period can be extended then they can also avail of that right.
Probationary period – top tips:
• Ensure a probationary period – and the right to extend it, if necessary – is written into a contract of employment
• It is good practice to invite an employee to a probationary review meeting/meetings at least a few of weeks in advance of the end of the given period.
• A probationary period of six months is recommended


Get Started Now

Employment law and health & safety compliance, HR best practice and increased staff performance are just a click away.

Contact Us