7 Essential Steps to Take to Nail a Performance Review

My recommendations are broken down into the following three categories to help you best handle and cope with your performance evaluation.  This is heavily front-loaded, so, make sure to plan ahead!


Step One: Perform a self-actuated performance review.

Consider, “Do I internally process things or verbally process things?” Whatever method works best for you, set aside time to do a performance evaluation of yourself.

If you internally process things, get a pen and notebook or computer and get ready to write out all your thoughts.

If you verbally process things, find someone to be your sounding board, and conduct your self-enacted performance review with that person.   Make sure to have something to record notes with during your discussion.

Step Two: Be ready, at least, to answer the following questions recommended by Bob Braman, Senior Partner at YourCareerIntel.com, during your performance review:

  • “What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
  • “In which area(s) would you like to improve?
  • “What have I done to help you do your job better?
  • “Do you have the resources and tools you need to perform your job?
  • “What are your goals for the next six months/year?
  • “What do you want your next position at this company to be?
  • “Are there any other concerns you have going forward?”

Step Three: Consider the questions you would like to ask during the review.  Cindy Perman, commentary editor for CNBC.com, recommends the following questions:

  • “What do you think went well this year?
  • “What do you think I should do differently next year?
  • “What can I do to improve my rating in this area next year?
  • “What can I do to be more helpful to people on the team?
  • “What are your most important goals for next year [and five years, and how can I be a part of helping you achieve them]?
  • “How can I make your job easier?
  • “What knowledge or skills do you think I may need to develop to meet my goals in this job?”

Katie Vojtko of Levo, a company whose expertise is in growing you professionally in your career, recommends asking the following questions:

  • “I’ve been in this role for ____ years and am naturally looking ahead. What kind of advancement do you imagine for my position? What is your estimated timeline?
  • “What should I continue to do?
  • “What should I stop doing?
  • “What should I start doing?”

Some other questions to ask include the following:

  • What is the normal trajectory for salary increases for an employee in my role?
  • “Is there anyone else it would be valuable for me to check in with and get feedback from?” says the Daily Muse Editor.

During the Evaluation

Step Four: Keep a level head.  Expect to hear things you disagree with and things you agree with.  Be prepared to stand up for yourself, not in a defensive and angry manner, but rather, in a manner that shows you know that in order for them to best meet their goals, they need to hear your perspective.

Step Five: Take notes.  Bring a computer or notebook with you and be ready to take comprehensive notes.  This tells the employer that you are on their side and are serious about improving for yourself, them, and the company.


Step Six: Make a strategy for meeting the goals agreed-upon during the review for your future at the company.

Step Seven: Share your strategies to meet the goals agreed-upon in the performance review with your manager.  Ask them to help you in whatever ways you need.  Remember, you are on the same team and they are here to help you!

What experiences have you had in your performance reviews? Do you have any questions for me about how to succeed in these reviews? Tweet me @MichaelADuch to continue the conversation!

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