The prospect of a new tennis job is always a very exciting time. The uncertainty of what to expect, a complete change of your life, living in a different country, getting away from friends and family, adapting to a new culture. Relocating for a new tennis job is a high impact decision but becomes a lot easier when you agree on a trial period before making your final decision.

Job Trials offer mutual benefits

Job trials are becoming more and more common, since they offer both the employer and the employee a chance to verify that everything works out well, before making a definite commitment. I am currently working at an international federation and, before committing myself, I wanted to see how things were going to be for the upcoming 1-3 years.

Get familiar with the location and your co-workers!
Some job seekers are reluctant when it comes to negotiating a trial period. But they are forgetting that a trial is a great opportunity to verify if the job requirements and conditions are the same as advertised on the job description. And if offers the possibility to get familiar with both the location and the people you are going to work/live with on a daily base.

Basic conditions for a Job Trial

Some things have to be considered though before agreeing to start a trial period. Here are some important details you should clear out upfront:

  • What is the duration of the trial period;
  • Ask for a trial planning/schedule to make sure what the trial consist of and to make sure you have a good trial period;
  • Ask the employer to arrange to pick you up when you arrive. There is nothing worse than flying to another part of the world and feeling completely lost at an airport because there is no one to pick you up and you do not know where to go;
  • Do you get paid for the trial period; there is no rule for paid or unpaid trials. A serious employer will never ask a potential employee to pay for all the costs. Of course it’s up to you to decide;
  • Who will pay for travelling and accommodation expenses; There is no rule for this item. Just make sure you don’t take all the risks;
  • What will happen when one of the parties decides not to proceed after the trial period? Some employers will only pay some of the expenses with a positive outcome of the trial. Make sure you clear out who will pay for every expense on all scenarios;
  • Ask the employer to write all the agreements on paper.

Steps to prepare your Trial

  1. Gather as much information about your employer and destination
    Before your trail period starts you should gather all the information you can get from the tennis employer/ trial organizer, before starting the trial period. Employers websites offer very useful information as well as GOOGLING for web articles about the employer (club/academy/players). Contact the national association and federation about the employer to get some feedback.  Get info from the interviews by phone with the employer (usually before getting selected for a trial period, candidates have 1 or more interviews by phone with the employer). If you have a recruitment agency working with you ask them about the employer.If the job position is in a different part of the world you should also make sure you know as much as you can of your destination and its habits and traditions. Especially if you are travelling to Far-Eastern or Asian countries you can get yourself in awkward situations because of not behaving according to local traditions…
  2. Make sure the latest training skills & techniques are top of mind
    If the job position requires (some kind of) sparring skills, this will also be a good time to get in good shape to make sure you are ready to make a good impression.
  3. Bring your own gear!
    Before travelling, make sure you have all the necessary technical equipment, clothes and electronic equipment (and plug adapters if needed).
  4. Resolve relocation issues before you leave
    Special attention is needed if in the case of a successful trial, you will start your job functions immediately. In this situation you have to make sure all pending issues from the place you are leaving are resolved, to avoid unnecessary and costly trips back and forth. You can even leave all the things you want to take to your new destination, in case you will sign contract there, ready to be shipped and in case of a positive conclusion just ask someone to ship them to you.
  5. Take time to adapt
    If you are travelling to different time zones try to arrange with the employer to travel a couple of days earlier to get rid of the jet lag and have the chance to have some time free to relax and get ready to start working. This will also give you the chance to observe your new work place and if possible analyze their working habits, so you know what to expect.
  6. Make a good first impression
    Since trials are usually for very short, first impressions are fundamental. Your presentation and confidence are fundamental on the first contacts. If you can provide these two factors and have the right knowledge for the job, you should have no problems making a good impression on the employer. Make sure that when you arrive you look like a potential trainer/instructor and not as a tourist. Wear sporty clothes and show your gear!
  7. Make an appointment for an official trial evaluation/appraisal
    Don’t forget that this is also a time for you to evaluate if the job position is good for you and if it is what you were expecting from the job description. In case you feel something is not right, don’t hesitate to discuss it with the appropriate people. It is better to make everything clear before you sign a contract that will bond you to something you don’t like or agree.
  8. Finally make sure you have a plan in case the trial doesn’t work out well for both sides
    You should have alternatives ready in case of failure. This will help you relax a little bit during the trial, because you now you have other choices and is always good to have a backup plan.

Good luck with your trial period.

Hugo Fonseca
Professional Tennis Coach
Cyprus Tennis Federation