‘Behaviour and attitude are really important’

So you've been offered an amazing new job in Italy, but what does it take to survive the probation period? With short-term contracts being the norm, Sofia Cortesi, finance director at recruitment firm Hays Italia, provides some tips on getting past the trial period and securing an unlimited contract.

'Behaviour and attitude are really important'
Sofia Cortesi, finance director at Hays Italia. Photo: Hays Italia

How long does the probation period usually last?

The probation period is usually six months. Employers expect candidates to use the trial period as a challenge, and if you don't it would give the impression that you don't trust in yourself or your capabilities.

What are the key things a foreigner has to do to survive the probation period with an Italian company?

It's important for the candidate to really take time to understand what the role will involve before starting the job; sometimes candidates do not understand the role. Then, once you have started the job, behaviour and attitude are really important: you need to integrate yourself within the company and be committed 100 percent of the time.

What happens at the end of the probation period…i.e is there be a 'review', or do you automatically pass if doing a good job? Can you expect a pay-rise after passing your probation?

Nothing 'formal' happens at the end of the probation period. If you've failed, then you usually receive a formal letter notifying you between two and ten days before the end of the trial period. So the probation is really aimed at finding out if you're a good fit for the job; it's just the first step. 

When it comes to pay rises, increases are normal if you take on more responsibilities.

Do you have the same rights during the probation period as a full-time member of staff, such as healthcare benefits, etc? 

It depends on the Healthcare Fund, but normally yes – you are formally employed – so you have the same rights as a full-time employee.

Are there any Italian language targets a foreigner must meet in order to successfully complete their probation period?

It is important to be fluent in Italian if you aim to work in Italy. In some cases you are not required to speak a lot of Italian, so it depends on your job: inform yourself about it beforehand!

Can a foreigner be guaranteed a long-term contract after the probation period? Or, like many Italians, do they have to make do with short-term contracts?

In Italy, you can have a short-term contract (six months or one year) without a specific reason, so for young people is 'quite normal' to have one or two short-term contracts before getting an unlimited one. 

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