The 90 day trial

December 6th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Tens of thousands of workers have been sacked under the 90-day-trial period, with many let go because they “did not fit in”.

Figures published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show about 69,000 employers took on at least one new staff member in 2012 under the legislation.

That’s 59% of employers.

It is not known how many workers were dismissed during the 90-day-trial period, but the figures revealed 27 per cent of employers said they had fired at least one new employee during or at the end of their trial.

This means at least 18,000 people lost their jobs in the first three months of employment last year, with the actual figure likely to be much higher.

When asked why they had dismissed staff, most employers said it was because they were unreliable or had a bad attitude. Other reasons included employees not having the necessary skills, not getting on with colleagues, and not fitting in.

The law has been widely criticised by unions and the Labour Party, which says it will repeal it if it is elected next year.

If Labour don’t repeal it, the unions can vote in a new leader!

Until we gained the trial period law in 2009, we were I think the only country in the OECD that didn’t have a grievance free trial period.

In terms of dismissals during the period, 56% said it was because the employee was unreliable and had a bad attitude. 51% said it was because they did not have the skills to do the job.

But Hospitality New Zealand Wellington president Jeremy Smith praised the trial period, claiming it had been positive for both employers and employees.

Mr Smith, who owns several bars and hotels including The Old Bailey, St Johns and the Cambridge Hotel, said he had hired dozens of staff he would not otherwise have considered.

Because of the transient nature of hospitality, it was often difficult to check references so a trial period “levelled the playing field”.

“We’re in a position now where we’re a lot more comfortable giving people an opportunity.”

And this is backed up:

Labour Minister Simon Bridges believed the legislation was working well.

In 2012, more than 131,000 people were employed on a trial period and nearly a third of all employers who used the trial period said they would not have hired their most newest staff member without it, he said.

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55 Responses to “The 90 day trial”

  1. alloytoo (532 comments) says:

    So the headline should read “100000 jobs that would otherwise not have been. ”

    I call that a WIN!

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  2. Bill Ted (93 comments) says:

    It doesn’t matter how successful the trial period is at actually getting unskilled or disadvantaged people into jobs, the unions will still scrap it. They aren’t advocates for the unemployed, they only want to entrench their existing members and they pay Labour millions of dollars to make sure it happens. If business bought policy like unions do, I’m pretty sure the word corruption would pop up pretty quickly…

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  3. nickb (3,686 comments) says:

    Unions think a minimum wage of $25/hour, the prohibition of dismissal (i.e. locked in job for life) and banning asset sales will boost employment.

    Who apart from some clapped out Eketahuna knuckle dragging prog scum would give these people any credibility?

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  4. OneTrack (3,027 comments) says:

    “This means at least 18,000 people lost their jobs in the first three months of employment last year, with the actual figure likely to be much higher.”

    And it likely means that those employers then went and employed another 18000 people who actually could do the job, did fit in, etc.

    So the nett result is 18000 more people were employed, whereas before 90 days the number might have been much less.

    This sounds like a win-win for everybody.

    Or doesn’t Labour/the unions think that second block of 18000 deserve those jobs and that they should have stayed on the dole?

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  5. Nookin (3,284 comments) says:

    It would seem that Labour’s attitude is that it does not need a trial period to fire somebody and is prepared to do so regardless of whether it has the jurisdiction to intervene.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/9484849/MBIE-boss-acting-like-emperor-Labour

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  6. Samuel Smith (276 comments) says:

    #Toryscum

    Labour will hit this policy for six in late 2014/early 2015.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 29 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Unfortunately there were many employers that used this as an excuse to have short-term labour for positions that were never going to be full-time due to their seasonal nature etc. I know of a couple of hopeful employees, both young, that threw themselves into the their jobs, and did them well, only to be told (yep) ‘they didn’t fit in’. In both situations the businesses never employed anyone else, until their next busy season.

    Whilst it isn’t a bad system, it is open to abuse by employers. I don’t think it should be ditched, but I do think that there should be some sort of honesty involved. It was terribly disheartening to those young people thinking they have a chance, only to be used dishonestly.

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  8. dime (9,869 comments) says:

    Dime employed 4 people under these rules. If the law wasnt there, we probably would have employed 2. We didnt fire anyone..

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  9. edd (157 comments) says:

    I know one person personally who was fired because it was convenient… He had been working under a contractor at my old work for many years, and then switched to working for the company direct, because he was a good worker that we all knew well (the boss included)… But as he had only been working directly for the company for 2 months he was able to be fired without cause under the 90 day rule… Cheaper than paying to fire someone else properly…

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  10. big bruv (13,734 comments) says:

    Samuel Smith

    The 90 day trial law is fantastic.

    We hired an extra employee for a new venture. This position is a vital one, it needs somebody who is not a clock watcher and somebody who is prepared to work extra hours at short notice when required.
    We thought we had hired the right person, we checked their CV (as much as you can within NZ’s privacy laws) and were quite excited about them starting.
    Very soon it became apparent that the person we had hired was not able to do the job. We spent a lot of time trying to get this person up to speed yet could not do the job, nor was that person keen to spend any of their own time learning what they could not get their head around.

    The 90 day trial law enabled us to let that person go without costing us a fortune.

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  11. OTGO (544 comments) says:

    The 90 day law is pretty much the only thing of any real value to NZ’s employers that National have introduced. And it should have been 180 days.

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  12. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    I wish this had been in place before.

    I was involved in hiring a guy for a reasonably senior position, he shone at the interview, great references, but within 2 months it became apparent that it was a dreadful hire.

    He destroyed a business unit and cost 10 people their jobs when our biggest client walked.

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  13. Cunningham (843 comments) says:

    Samuel Smith (230 comments) so every other country in the OECD is wrong to have one? What makes you think that the LabGreens are right on this issue if EVERY other country has this policy?

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  14. Cunningham (843 comments) says:

    Judith (4,674 comments) it’s true but how many employers were screwed by employees before it was put in place? you can put examples from both sides Judith. Labour try to make out like the employers are always the ones in the wrong. Often it is employees and there are many, many examples.

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  15. Manolo (13,590 comments) says:

    Those who do not perform to expectations during the trial period deserve to be sacked. It is that simple.

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  16. Sadu (129 comments) says:

    Labour thinks that having a bad attitude at work or not having the necessary skills to do the job is ok. Labour thinks that a job is all about keeping the employee’s family fed and if some work happens to get done in the process then that’s a bonus.

    Then there’s this bullshit story that keeps coming up about employers who will want to rotate their staff every 90 days to avoid having permanent staff. This sort of story can only come from someone who has never employed anyone. Anyone who has employed before knows how much it costs and how long it takes to find and train someone good – the last thing you would want is to get rid of them after 3 months. Maybe there are employers who want to dismiss their good staff after 3 months and train up someone new to replace them, I bet you could count those employers on one hand because the prospect of sacking good staff is fucking loopy.

    I agree that hiring someone on a permanent agreement just to cover say the xmas period then firing them once things settle down is a shitty thing to do. This is one example where new employees can get screwed by employers.

    But just to give some perspective, shall we collate a list of the ways a new employee could screw an employer? I bet that list is about 50 times longer. The entire nature of employment requires a bit of good faith on both sides and unfortunately there are assholes out there. But the system needs to work for the vast majority of people who do enter the agreement in good faith and by-and-large the 90 day law does exactly that.

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  17. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    Workers are treated like Jews in cocncentration camp experiments

    One dies move to the next one

    employers simply have too many Jews to choose from.

    This idea that employers can’t find workers has been exposed by themselves.

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  18. Raphael (86 comments) says:

    We employed two new staff under these rules that we probably would not have employed. They are well past the time limit now and fit in really well.

    Without this rule our small company would probably have not taken the risk.

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  19. mandk (968 comments) says:

    “nearly a third of all employers who used the trial period said they would not have hired their most newest staff member without it”

    In saying they will scrap the law, if they get into power, Labour are clearly against giving people a chance.

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  20. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    ‘Dime employed 4 people under these rules.’

    Dime is a profesional who hires professionals. Different ball game.

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  21. mandk (968 comments) says:

    wikiriwhis business: “Workers are treated like Jews in cocncentration camp experiments”

    I’m lost for words.

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  22. tvb (4,366 comments) says:

    The trial period means an employer can take a “punt” on an employee without too much checking. Some people do not shape up well in interviews but the trial period makes things easy for the employer to take a risk.

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  23. Sadu (129 comments) says:

    “Workers are treated like Jews in cocncentration camp experiments”

    Wow. Pretty hard to have an intelligent discussion when this is the level that we are reaching to.

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  24. Cunningham (843 comments) says:

    wikiriwhis business: “Workers are treated like Jews in cocncentration camp experiments”

    Far out you sure know how to make a fool of yourself. You are seriously comparing the 2? Pretty lame effort.

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  25. david (2,557 comments) says:

    What we will never know is how many of the 18,000 are actually the same dropkicks “let go” from multiple employment opportunities. Most likely people with a suitably attractive sob story but little in the way of verifiable background who were given a chance and then proceeded to put the business in jeopardy by being reckless, selfish, unreliable or incompetent.

    I would be willing to conjecture that the 80:20 rule might be applicable. 80% of the 18,000 are actually the result of 20% of the numbers involved. This would mean that about 4000 were genuine not-fits, or asshole employers while another 4,000 were sacked 3 or 4 times.

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  26. seanmaitland (500 comments) says:

    @Judith, cute little anecdotes, but for every one of your anecdotes I can list one where I’ve seen small businesses almost ruined by rogue staff who they couldn’t fire or took them to the cleaners after the fact.

    I also question the intelligence of someone going to work for a company that relies on seasonal work and not having done any research in the company prior to being hired.

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  27. srylands (408 comments) says:

    wikiriwhis business: “Workers are treated like Jews in cocncentration camp experiments”

    “I’m lost for words.”

    I’m not. You are deluded.

    It is not just about professionals in employment. All rational employers value good employees above anything.

    If you are running a small business – – like a car repair shop – your good workers are like pure gold. They make your business.

    I suggest you get off your arse in your dusty basement den in Hamilton, or the Frogblog office or wherever and go and talk to a few people who risk their own money to make a living and employ people. Then report back.

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  28. BeaB (2,119 comments) says:

    I am still trying to work out how 18,000 can be ‘tens of thousands’.

    And Labour is putting the boot into workers with Darien Fenton and some other half-wit Labour MP running to the media to complain about workers having their lunch near a tapu site. Does that woman ever stop to think or is she in such a web of contradictory and conflicting positions that she can’t get anything straight?

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  29. Nookin (3,284 comments) says:

    I am a little curious about how they can say that the number of dismissed is likely to be much more while in the same breath, ignore the possibility that the number of jobs created is likely to be much more. They put a ceiling on facts that do not suit them (and completely downplay those facts) but create facts in order to establish arguments that do not otherwise exist. The article lacks any semblance of journalistic integrity if indeed such a phrase is not an oxymoron. Maybe it would be better just to say that it is dishonest reporting.

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  30. Rich Prick (1,682 comments) says:

    We took a punt on a young applicant for an administrative role who’s only experience was assisting in a hair salon. She has proven to be fantastic and it has been rewarding watching her mature into the role and take on additional responsibility. Without the 90 day “liability-free” trial period, we would never have done that. And she would probably still be sweeping up hair on the minimum wage. How can Labour and their unions argue that it is a bad thing?

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  31. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    BK’s for instance only sources Asian’s from Offshore. Hamilton BK is renowned for it.

    Hamilton City Council also only hires immigrants. No kiwi’s.

    Plus all the manufacturers closing down…..(more added to the closure list this week) means that employers have far more choice to pick and choose from. And for 90 days.

    Very few I would suggest finish their 90 days out and get job security. Which is a fallacy when manufacturers are all closing down

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  32. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    All the bullying reported in the media and commented on talkback tells me I’m pretty close to the bone about lax employers turning blind eyes and giving no job security.

    with projections for far more immigrants to swell the country, Kiwi’s will no longer be tolerated in the work place in their own land.

    No wonder we going to become tenants.

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  33. OneTrack (3,027 comments) says:

    “How can Labour and their unions argue that it is a bad thing?”

    Because they are incompetent fools who have gained all their experience out of a university BA degree?

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  34. backster (2,152 comments) says:

    The reporter needs to report how many workers Fairfax took on under the scheme and how many they found satisfactory or not.

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  35. OneTrack (3,027 comments) says:

    wiki “with projections for far more immigrants to swell the country, Kiwi’s will no longer be tolerated in the work place in their own land. ”

    Different issue. And don’t you like “diversity”? Isn’t it required lefty dogma?

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  36. OneTrack (3,027 comments) says:

    wiki – “Very few I would suggest finish their 90 days out and get job security”

    Sorry wiki, but do you have a link for that?

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  37. Cunningham (843 comments) says:

    OneTrack (1,223 comments) says:

    “Sorry wiki, but do you have a link for that?”

    Who needs evidence when potentially it could contradict what you are saying? Lets face it the left are more then happy to shitcan a policy regardless of whether there is merit in it. The left in this country are an absolute joke.

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  38. RichardX (325 comments) says:

    wikiriwhis business (2,527 comments) says:
    December 6th, 2013 at 10:13 am
    Workers are treated like Jews in cocncentration camp experiments

    One dies move to the next one

    employers simply have too many Jews to choose from.

    This idea that employers can’t find workers has been exposed by themselves.

    As if further proof of how deluded you are was necessary…and calling you deluded is being kind

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  39. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    ‘wiki – “Very few I would suggest finish their 90 days out and get job security”

    Sorry wiki, but do you have a link for that?’

    As I was saying, the bullying in the work place is becoming extraordinary now.

    Print and radio both document it.

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  40. Cunningham (843 comments) says:

    wikiriwhis business (2,529 comments) says:

    “Print and radio both document it.”

    That’s your evidence? Left leaning journalists writing stories and crackpots ringing up the radio and having a whinge?

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  41. Zapper (1,019 comments) says:

    wiki, maybe you could try getting a job so you can then comment on workplace issues. Maybe an after school job to start with.

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  42. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,889 comments) says:

    ….their most newest staff member ….

    …and Jesus wept.

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  43. flipnz (2 comments) says:

    Anybody ask the employee why it did not work out?? No? Only one side of the story then. The powerful side.

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  44. rangitoto (241 comments) says:

    Rich Prick wrote
    “We took a punt on a young applicant for an administrative role who’s only experience was assisting in a hair salon. She has proven to be fantastic and it has been rewarding watching her mature into the role and take on additional responsibility. Without the 90 day “liability-free” trial period, we would never have done that. And she would probably still be sweeping up hair on the minimum wage. How can Labour and their unions argue that it is a bad thing?”

    You evil person Mr Rich Prick. Your worker is well on the way to becoming a rich prick too. No wonder the liarbore crowd hate it.

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  45. mandk (968 comments) says:

    What the Stuff report does not mention is that, since the 90 day law came into effect in Q2 2011, the number of people in employment has risen by 53,000 (42,000 seasonally adjusted).

    This National government … (insert your own left wing cant)

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  46. hmmokrightitis (1,586 comments) says:

    And my experience as an employer too…

    Hired 6 using this approach – 2 programmers, junior; 2 project admin people, with only basic office experience and two fresh BA’s, all into an IT consulting shop of 20 staff, with a focus on project delivery in a range of sectors. We were far less nervous about hiring than usual, and looked more into what made the people really tick, what they did in their spare time than pure ‘work’ record, to see if they had what we were looking for – work ethic, proactive, good team skills, enthusiasm. It probably cost us the same for our end-to-end hire, but the downside for us as an employer was less – a very big plus.

    4 worked out really well, and have all received a 20% pay rise within 6 months, and they will find out next Friday that they will all be receiving a decent profit share for Christmas, ranging from $5K to $8K, depending on base.

    1 left to go overseas, she was a loss, was sorry to see her go.

    And the other 1 decided that arriving at work at 8, leaving sometimes at 6 or 630, and not being able to take a long lunch every day was too much for him. And we waved goodbye in July. And last week he came back begging for a job.

    If labour kill this, small businesses like mine will simply stop hiring – the risk is too great. But they would know this if they had worked in the real world, or ever put their own money at risk.

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  47. OneTrack (3,027 comments) says:

    “As I was saying, the bullying in the work place is becoming extraordinary now.

    Print and radio both document it.

    Ok, so you will be able to find a link really quickly for that then.

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  48. mandk (968 comments) says:

    @ OneTrack

    By saying “extraordinary” maybe wikiwotsisname is really telling us that bullying is unusual :-)

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  49. Harriet (4,857 comments) says:

    This is rather meaningless.

    Most people go to work and ‘hold their tongue’ ect to ‘fit in’. And turn up on time ect. Most don’t even question the way they are treated ect because personal finances dictate it. They need the job!

    The workplace in NZ has become a place where management seem rather dictorial rather than ‘managers’.

    One of the biggest problems I saw in the NZ workplace over the years was that employers would not willingly quantify one staff member against another.
    As an example I once questioned an employer about my pay and performance compared to staff on the minimum wage so that he would then have to admit that I should at the very LEAST be on more than twice the minimum wage. I was doing more than twice the work – experiance ect aside.

    And quess what I was told : “We can’t discuss other people’s employment as it is a matter of employment and privacy law .”

    So I then said “I’m not – we’ll just take it for granted that they HAVE to be paid minimum wage and I do more than twice the work they do – that is not a matter of privacy but a matter of observable fact.”

    I was then told that I was the one with the ‘attitude problem’.

    Shortly after I decided to leave for Australia, and that employer then later told other management that ‘it was a shame to see me go as I was by far the best employee, but the problem is that we have to compete against the wages they pay in Australia.’

    ‘Like fuck that was the case’ I told them – “I’m leaving becuase I’m being ripped off, I’m doing more than twice the workload than others but being paid only 60% more.”

    Those ‘managers’ then just looked down at the floor and kicked imaginary stones – then wished me the best of luck.

    Dishonest fuckwits is what I remember of them all – not even willing to quantify work – a very easy ‘management’ task!

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  50. keuboi (4 comments) says:

    So it now takes an employer 3mths to decide whether a new employee is good enough or not, (& that’s after the screening process)…what useless employers we must have here in NZ! Would you like some sugar with that? Stop whinging & go do all the jobs yourself!

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  51. hmmokrightitis (1,586 comments) says:

    Ah new troll fodder, excellent.

    Ever run a business boi? Ever had your own money at risk? Ever employed anyone?

    Lets short cut at this point shall we?

    Yeah, didn’t think so. Comment when you know what you’re talking about.

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  52. RightNow (6,988 comments) says:

    “Stop whinging & go do all the jobs yourself!”

    I think you’re on to something here, and it is this: Stop whinging & go and start your own business.

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  53. keuboi (4 comments) says:

    I have never owned my own business, but I have been managing a business successfully for somebody else because of illness, which I have seen grow from 5 to 32 employees under me in the past 5 years & without this trial period. All I’m saying is that it doesn’t take me 3mths to decide whether an employee is adequate or not…maybe one month to be sure, but 3?? You guys must be useless! Try treating your employees like human beings & not cattle…you may surprise yourselves!

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  54. RightNow (6,988 comments) says:

    “it doesn’t take me 3mths to decide whether an employee is adequate or not…maybe one month to be sure”

    I think you’re on to something here, and it is this: Cut the 90 day trial period to 30 days.

    I’m starting to like the way you think.

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  55. seanmaitland (500 comments) says:

    @keuboi – only true for simple, low skilled jobs. If you are in a simple business where manual labour is the predominant skill then maybe, but in a business that requires creativity, drive, working under pressure, thinking outside the square, being able to communicate problems with designs etc then 3 months is in many cases barely enough to discover how someone works.

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