How To Be Successful at Your Trial Shift

If you’re from Australia, trial shifts are likely a normal part of the job process. If you’re one of the 2 million people living in Sydney that were born overseas, expectations and regulations surrounding trial shifts might be a little bit more of a mystery to you. In this blog, we uncover what a trial shift is, what you should expect at your trial shift, and what comes after so that you’re successful.


What is a trial shift?


A trial shift is a common practice within Australia to determine whether or not a potential employee is suitable for the role. A trial shift should be used for the employer to observe the potential employee’s skills before hiring them.

From the perspective of an employee, trial shifts are equally a way for you to determine whether or not the job is right for you. Before committing to your employer, a trial shift allows you to meet some of the people you would be working with, begin the training process, and get a better gauge of the venue’s environment and culture. Click here for more information surrounding pay and your trial shift.


What to expect


Before your trial shift, you should gain information about what skills and attributes your potential employer is looking for, how long they would like you to attend the workplace, and whether you’ll be paid for your time. Trial shifts usually last a couple of hours and generally shouldn’t be an entire day, although there’s a bit of a grey area there. For legalities surrounding your trial shift, always refer to the Fair Work Ombudsman and familiarise yourself with your rights in terms of commitment and pay.


At your trial shift, you should expect to be supervised the entire time. In terms of the trial itself, you should also be prepared to work as if you already have the job. That is, you might be thrown into the fire so that your potential employer can see what level you’re at in terms of skills.

Be prepared to have many tasks to handle but also keep in mind that your invigilator may approach the trial from a more unstructured angle to test your initiative and proactivity. If you find yourself with nothing to do, always ask what you can do to help and jump right in! This is not a time to be reserved or shy. Be prepared to have a lot of questions thrown your way and similarly you should have some questions prepared to ask as well.


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How to ensure success

Ultimately, you should be presenting the best version of yourself to make a great first impression. So how should you do that, exactly? Treat your trial shift like you would your interview.

We highly recommend doing your research about the venue prior to your trial shift, be prepared to answer any questions about your resume, arrive early, and dress to impress. And perhaps the most important tip to remember is to be attentive and engaged, with a positive attitude.


This might be an obvious one but you should ensure that your phone is away and that you show initiative when your supervisor gives you instructions. Ask questions if you need any clarification and if you find yourself with no tasks at hand, ask what you can do next.


After the trial, you might sit down and have a debrief with your invigilator. This is a chance to reflect on the trial, discussing your performance and chatting about whether you enjoyed it along with any observations you may have made. If you receive constructive feedback at this stage, be humble and self-aware. We recommend being proactive in seeking out feedback and if you have any feedback to give, ensure that it’s done in a positive manner.


If you haven’t had a debrief after your trial shift, ensure that you know where you sit. Will they be giving you a phone call? Are they trialling any other potential employees? Ask questions so that there’s no unclarity for you. This will make the whole process less stressful and more smooth for you.


Looking for more tips for a successful hospitality career? Click below for weekly insightful blogs from industry experts. 

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About the author Carlyn Shaw

Drawing on 12 years of hospitality experience and coming from a Communications background, I am passionate about all things hospitality.


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