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I have been working as a developer for a little over a year now. I'm not learning to much at my current position for multiple reasons, so I've been looking a new job.

I was offered one at a company that seems like a good fit (code reviews, mentor, etc.), but one negative of the offer is that they would like me to work a month long trial/probationary period to see how everything works out and at a lower rate.

I'm not so much worried about working at the lower rate for a month as I am the probationary period. The reason for this is mainly because I'm new to the profession and they work with a framework, which I'm not too familiar with. I spoke with their HR person about this and they said they could waive the trial period.

However, nothing would stop them from letting me go after a month if they decided that I wasn't a good fit, am I correct?

I am currently in the state of Michigan.

  • What state, the hiring/firing rules could be different – SaggingRufus Sep 14 '17 at 16:16
  • I edited your question to make some improvements, please feel free to further edit it to fit your situation. – DarkCygnus Sep 14 '17 at 16:26
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    Probation periods are not uncommon. Your contract and local labour laws would dictate how easily they can let you go if they decide you're not a good fit, and whether any notice period would apply, but this is usually much easier for either party during the probation period (that's the point). – Dukeling Sep 14 '17 at 16:26
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    In Switzerland, a probation period of 3 months is default at almost every job (some have 2 or 1 month, but most 3). It depends on the custom of the country, and the state. A probabtion period is not a bad thing per se, the can see if you're a fit, and the other way around. – Mafii Sep 15 '17 at 7:36
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Don't fool yourself. Here's the scenario. You leave your current job (a bird in the hand) for a "potential" (the two in the bush). They put you into this probationary period where you've agreed to work for less than you know you're worth. Once the probationary period's over, what's to stop the company from making up excuses as to why they can't give you what you were promised? There may be no actual intention to do as they're promising.

Think about it. You're devoting time to a job search now. I don't know how much effort or time you've put in so far toward that effort, but I'm gonna guess you won't want to do that again in a few months. And on-boarding to a new job is a pain in the rear -- payroll stuff, health insurance, NDAs, where do I park, what's the best commute, and covering for needs in your household. No one EVER says, "ooh, I want to go through THAT stuff again!" Additionally, no one EVER looks forward to drawing unemployment insurance between jobs. And this potential employer is aware of this, too, because these things are a huge disincentive for you to decide to leave once you take the job, even if the situation turns out to not be to your benefit.

If you pursue this -- which I wouldn't:

  • Demand that at the end of the trial period, you are paid back retroactively within 10 calendar days. (The issue of when you get this money is just as important as the promise to pay it).
  • Absolutely, positively, get all the terms ON PAPER. If the company has an issue with putting this on paper, you'll know right then and there that you're dealing with some shady folks.
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However, nothing would stop them from letting me go after a month if they decided that I wasn't a good fit, am I correct?

Yes, you are correct. That is basically the point of a probationary period (at least in the US). Both sides get to opt out without any fuss.

You could choose to avoid the probationary period in one of two ways:

  • Get them to waive the trial period if, and only if, you are confident that this job is the one you really want, at the wage you want.
  • Decline the job and look elsewhere for a company that won't require a probationary period.
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If you are in the US don't fool yourself: probationary period or not, in any "at will" contract situation, they can fire you at any time, without even having a reason.

However, you mentioned that HR said they would be willing to waive the trial period so I'm not sure why there is any question here. If you want the job, take them up on their offer to waive the trial period and move forward.

ETA: I personally would never accept any period of work on reduced salary. If they think you are the right person for the job, they should pay you for it. Very simple.

  • " I personally would never accept any period of work on reduced salary. If they think you are the right person for the job, they should pay you for it. Very simple." - spot on – Mafii Sep 15 '17 at 7:38

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