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How to Get the Most Out of Performance Reviews

5 Tips For Getting the Most From Your Performance Review

Doing what you can to prepare for a performance review puts you in the best position possible for a smooth experience, but unexpected bumps can certainly arise. If you and your boss haven't been communicating well, that leaves an open door for surprise comments that could shake your confidence. Don't let these minor moments distract you from getting the most from your review. Check out these tips for handling potentially sticky situations.

  1. Ask questions: Your boss may assume that you know what she's talking about when she tells you you're doing a good job. Ask what stands out about your job performance, and if she's dissatisfied with the job you've been doing, ask for specific examples and how you could do better next time.
  2. Tell your story: If you think your boss's negativity stems from a misunderstanding, ask her, "I have a different perspective on this situation. Would you like to hear it?" Steer clear of defending everything your boss brings up. Sometimes, it's more appropriate to say, "I hadn't looked at it that way. I'd like to try that next time."

See three more tips for your review when you read on.

  1. Play it by ear: If your review is negative, save the topic of your future with the company for another day. Go ahead and bring it up if you've been given a positive review.
  2. Don't sweat the small stuff: Leave the minor comments alone, but if something comes up that you think could threaten your job or promotion, ask, "I need a little perspective here. How serious is this?"
  3. Follow up: A negative review can throw you off guard, so before discussing specifics it's OK to say, "I need some time to think about these things." You may consider asking to meet again in a few weeks to discuss how you've been improving.
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bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 5 years
I am the one usually giving performance reviews of our staff and 99.9% of our employees are TERRIFIED of the review! I don't think anyone has ever asked me a question or uttered a peep while I was going over their eval. At the end of the eval, I always ask for questions or comments and have never had anyone speak up. Our office is fairly casual and easy-going so I don't know why this is the case. It's a bit frustrating!
Advah Advah 8 years
Those are pretty useful tips, thanks! What I find useful is to strike a balance between "I'm right" and "you're right". Whether you think the comments you get are justified or not, it's worth saying "I hadn't thought of that" or "I'll work on it" at least once or twice. If you reject everything you boss says, he won't be open to comments either. Plus, even if you don't agree with what he says, it's always interesting to see how other people see you. For instance, my boss's main point at my last appraisal is I'm not proactive enough in my work. I don't think that's true (heck I spend my days chasing people up!!), but it means I may not sound/look as confident as I feel when in meetings or when talking to coworkers. I'm working on that :) (even though it's not always easy when working in another language!)
cali_student cali_student 8 years
I find it helps to keep in mind the criteria that my manager used last year to evaluate me and for the month before the review to highlight those things (e.g projects I took initiative on, any self learning I did, any major accomplishments). I try to be subtle, like CC'ing him for his opinion on a project I'm working on or emailing a question regarding some new technology... thankfully he's pretty clueless about hints being dropped too obviously.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
these are some great ideas. i think that we're always thinking that it's better to just sit there and take what is being said without asking questions - and that's not the case. i know that for myself - i'll ask questions to see if i can better understand things - and it makes me feel better about it. that's the only way that you're going to understand where people are coming from at times. we're usually given a few days to review it and then to ask questions and sign it, so that's a good thing. sometimes you don't want to just respond right then - and if you give yourself a few days to digest, then you can make your experience better and perhaps get a stellar review the next time around.
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