Sink Or Swim: The 90-Day Trial Period

Survey: Most New Hires Have Less Than 3 Months to Prove Themselves

MENLO PARK, Calif., March 23, 2016 -- 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 (54 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) said new hires have one to less than three months to prove themselves. Another 9 percent expect employees to make their mark in less than a month.

No Time to Waste: 63% of CFOs give new hires less than three months to prove themselves.

View an infographic of the survey findings.

"A good first impression starts before your new position does," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half. "During the interview process, candidates should ask what will be expected in the first 90 days, and new hires should come to the job knowledgeable about the company, the competition and how to make the greatest impact. You don't need to know everything, but managers are going to expect you to get up to speed in a short amount of time."

McDonald added, "Try to meet as many people across the organization as quickly as possible. Understanding their roles and priorities will allow you to start adding value right away."

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

Less than a month


One to less than three months


Three to less than six months


Six months to less than a year


As long as they need




Here are some do's and don'ts from Robert Half Finance & Accounting 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.
  • Don'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 favor 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.

About the Research
The survey was developed by Robert Half Finance & Accounting. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 2,200 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

About Robert Half Finance & Accounting
Founded in 1948, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a division of Robert Half, is the world's first and largest specialized financial recruitment service. The company has more than 330 locations worldwide and offers job search and management advice at

Robert Half



For further information: Lisa Amstutz, (650) 234-6246,

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