Career News | July 20, 2022

Tips to Successfully Complete Your Probationary Period

By DCAA Staff Writer

Congratulations, you just landed a position with DCAA! A majority of new employees must serve a 2-year probationary period. Here are some tips to successfully complete probation and become a career status employee.

  • Listen and ask questions. The specific work DCAA’s auditors perform is not taught in college and no one expects you to understand DCAA contract auditing when you walk in the door. Yes, there is formal education, but there is also on-the-job training. Make sure you actively engage in using every available resource to learn. If you don’t understand something, be sure to ask, it’s expected. Ask your new coworkers for advice. They were all in your shoes at one time and are sure to have tips they can share that helped them succeed.
  • Communicate. Let your supervisor know when you have completed a task or when you don’t fully understand what you are being ask to do. Similarly, if you aren’t going to complete a task by the deadline, let your supervisor know. We all know life happens and if you are going to be late or spilled your soda on your computer, just let your supervisor know.  
  • Volunteer. As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Demonstrate your willingness to be a team player and help where you can. You might not have the skills to jump into complex audits but you might volunteer to help another team complete their audit or help organize the next staff conference.
  • Demonstrate good judgement. Contract auditing is complex and requires analysis and critical thinking to reach sound decisions. Show you can prioritize your work, synthesize the information at hand, weigh the pros and cons of options, and make a sound decision. It might sound complicated but it’s really just using common sense and not making snap decisions.
  • Keep Learning. You will learn a lot in formal classes but there is a wide breadth of knowledge and tools to absorb. Take the time to become familiar with DCAA’s references like the Contract Audit Manual (CAM) and computer based tools like Power BI for data analysis. To help you succeed, you will be assigned a coach (not your supervisor). You and your coach will work together to develop your knowledge and audit skills.

We all want you to succeed and we will put in the time and effort to grow your knowledge. You must do the same and demonstrate your increasing skills and confidence.  Do that, and you’ll get through your probationary period with flying colors.