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Five Ways to Succeed in Your Performance Appraisal

June 6th, 2010

When you are waiting for your performance appraisal interview, you can use the time between when it is scheduled and when you walk into the room to ensure you get the best possible appraisal. There are a number of strategies that you can use when it’s time for a performance appraisal, the best of which is to have performed your job to the best of your ability in the preceding year. Beyond that, however, here are five tips to help you succeed in your performance appraisal.

1. Be rational and not defensive.

While it can be hard to resist jumping out of your chair and protesting when you hear that you aren’t doing a satisfactory job, take a deep breath and try to remain unemotional. Take an outsider’s viewpoint if possible and think about what someone new to the company who didn’t know you or your past sacrifices for the company’s sake would think of what you do in your role now. If necessary, take a few moments to clear your mind before answering when your employer says something that hurts your feelings.

2. Familiarize yourself with the discussion topics.

Before you enter the interview, you should have read the interview forms, your job description, the employee handbook, and anything else you think may be under discussion during the session. Familiarize yourself with your accomplishments and failures over the past twelve months, as it can be hard to remember just what you did right once a few months have passed.

3. Clarify what your manager means.

When you receive any feedback that can be used to improve your performance, clarify or ask for examples. It can be hard to improve based on a generic recommendation to focus on the team goals or pay attention to the policies in the employee handbook, for example. Ask your manager, in a non-confrontational way, to tell you some more specific instances of when you did things wrong and when you did things right. This will give you an idea what to focus on improving over the next year.

4. Don’t focus on the money.

Many employees use the performance appraisal as a chance to get considered for a raise. This makes you seem greedy and uncaring about your performance. While it’s understandable that you hope for a raise, just about everyone does, so focus on improving your performance first and the money will come later.

5. Communicate openly.

The performance appraisal is a chance for you to voice your own concerns and opinions, letting your employer know what you need in order to improve your performance. If you feel there are barriers holding you back from doing the best job you can, don’t let them monopolize the conversation; talk about what they can be doing to help you improve, too.

Some people see the performance appraisal as scary, while others see it as a chore. If you make sure you prepare for it properly, it doesn’t have to be either. Follow these steps to succeed in your next performance appraisal!