20 December 2018
How to ace a performance review

You’re up – Even if you are confident that you are doing a good job, it may still stress you out. The dreaded performance reviews can be scary and intimidating, just like when you were younger receiving your report card. You’ll be on the spot, in front of your boss or immediate superior, and you’ll be forced to not only demonstrate how valuable you are to the company, but also how much you’ve grown since starting your new job along with the additional responsibilities you have taken on. Look at the performance appraisal as a chance for an in-depth discussion about your work and career and to strengthen your position and shape your role within the company – if you take the time to prepare:


  • Gather any documentation regarding your performance that you have collected –

Make sure you capture the “how” not just “what” you accomplished, but keep it brief; don’t use this as a diary or performance journal.

  • Review any feedback from others (customers, peers, etc.) relevant to your performance –

This will help to solidify your position by being liked by your peers and receiving shining feedback from your customers.

  • Review your original job description –

These are concrete examples of your worth to the company. The point is to show that you have exceeded expectations — gone above and beyond — rather than just satisfactorily completed your required job tasks.

  • Write down questions that you want to ask your supervisor –

You may not have the opportunity often to have the undivided attention of your supervisor, so use this time to ask any questions you may have. If you feel you deserve a salary increase, you need to determine the best time to ask for one. In many companies, pay decisions are made prior to the performance review, so you might want to make your request early.

  • Be prepared to talk about your performance – what you do well; how you could improve, what you would like to learn or add –

You should also identify any areas where you would like to expand your skills/experience/expertise or share them with others as part of your career growth and progression. Don’t forget to mention the things you have struggled with and need extra help on. Chances are you’re still going to hear some criticism during your performance evaluation. Open your mind to criticism. Don’t be defensive. Don’t dismiss it out of hand – use it to improve.

  • Share your self-evaluation with your supervisor ahead of time –

This will help them prepare for your meeting more effectively and encourage a more meaningful two-way dialogue between you. It can also help them prepare for any differences in perception that might exist between you both, avoiding surprises at review time. The goal of this exercise is not to campaign for good ratings, but rather to share your perception of your performance with your manager before your appraisal meeting. Don’t wait for your manager to set goals for you. Take a proactive approach and draft some possible goals based on your job description, your department or the company’s future goals, your skills/experience/abilities, etc.


Please remember it’s your career! You have the power and responsibility to manage your own performance and ensure your ongoing development is successful. Regardless of the results of your performance review, think of it as a learning opportunity. You should be able to take away valuable information, whether it is about yourself or your reviewer. If you received valid criticism, figure out how to make improvements over the next year. Proper preparation and participation can help ensure that.

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