When you are on your first job, the initial days are spent getting to know about the company, its culture, its people and naturally your co-workers. You would also be eagerly looking out for any feedback on your work, but it is the usual practice to give a new employee a formal performance feedback after the mandatory probation period.
However, if you are looking for immediate feedback and really want to do better in your field and learn as your work, then you should find other ways to get feedback on your performance. Though there is no thumb rule on how early you can ask for inputs, the response also depends on the culture of the company. It depends on how willing and frank the management is to give guidance to new employees.
The practice of feedback also varies between organizations. Some companies may have an open culture where managers are willing to give frank and informal feedback whenever the employee asks for it or when the manager feels he needs to give his opinion. In some other companies the management might prefer to only observe the new entrant in his work and then give a formal report at the end of the probation. Some others may wait for a month before giving a report.
Asking for feedback on a regular basis can also project the picture that you are not very confident about your abilities, so some experts suggest that you should not bother about how good you are doing but rather concentrate on putting your best efforts at work. Also some managers may not like the idea of you asking for constant feedback and view you as a greenhorn and refuse to believe in your capabilities.
If at all you decide to ask for feedback, you need to know the right way to ask for it. Rather than couch it in terms that indicate you are eager to have constant assurance that you are doing a good job, it would be more professional to tell your manager that you need inputs to further improve your performance.
One way to ask feedback in your early days on the job is to find out from your manager if you met the objectives of your work on time and within the budget. You can also do a self assessment of your work by finding out the objectives of a project before starting on it and then evaluating how far you have been able to complete once you finish. If you have done a good job, it will only boost your self confidence.
Find out about the work style of successful employees in your organization and you can try and emulate their work methods. Do not ask for feedback only from your immediate manager but do speak to your peers unless they perceive you as a competitor.
It is better to ask someone who started in your position and then moved up. If you have a mentor, he can give a more accurate picture of how others perceive your performance.
Finally be honest and frank when asking for feedback and talk to your manager in person to get the right views and avoid interaction through e-mail. A personal meeting will help you better to infer his views on your work through his body language, voice intonations and facial expressions.
Remember asking for feedback can work to your advantage of you know how to do it. You would have progressed beyond knowing the basics of your job at the end of the probation and even be ready for bigger responsibilities.