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Preparing For a Performance Review

Four Steps to Preparing For a Performance Review

Annual performance reviews often coincide with the holiday season, and that's at least true for Sugar HQ. While there's nothing to really be scared about, it's natural to try and think about what negative feedback you could be facing by over-analyzing the smallest mistakes from the past year. It's more productive to brush up on the positive details rather than be consumed by the negative, so replace any ounce of dread you have by being confidently prepared.

  1. If you went through a review with the same company last year, dig up your notes and check off the things you've continued to do well and the points you've improved upon. If you are a newer employee and this is your first review, ask your boss how you'll be evaluated so you know what to expect and can prepare accordingly.
  2. Think about the feedback you've received throughout the year. If there were instances where your boss suggested you could improve, did you take the steps to do so? Come up with a couple of examples of how you listened to what she said and applied it to your work.

See two more preparation pointers when you


  1. How did you make a difference this year? If you haven't been keeping an ongoing list of specific accomplishments, create one now. Jog your memory, if needed, by going through old emails and saved files. If you don't have a grasp of your accomplishments, then you won't be able to remind your boss of your positive contributions.
  2. Remember those feelings of self-doubt that you had when you heard you were up for a performance review? Decide which of those feelings are valid and how you're going to work on those issues. Everyone has weaknesses, but it's best to be prepared going into your review rather than blindsided when your boss brings up something that's problematic for you.


Join The Conversation
kythera kythera 8 years
I wish I had to try to get a raise. I just got my 3rd raise in less than 2 years (I work at an independent bakery). This last time I told my boss that I didn't think I deserved it yet but she said she wanted to anyways. I am pretty humble about my work though, heh. 8)
valancyjane valancyjane 8 years
These are good tips. I hate performance reviews with a passion because I have a hard time hearing that I need to improve. (I was a straight-A student through high school and I'm used to not failing; so when I do, it's hard.) Going over my performance beforehand - sort of a self-review - is a good way to prepare. If I realize on my own the things that I can do better, then if/when my boss points those things out, I've gotten past the sting and I can focus on what she's saying rather than just feeling bad about it. Also, remember that if your boss is someone who knows you well and isn't a jerk, giving a negative (or "constructive") review is probably hard for him/her, too.
Frenched Frenched 8 years
Yes, I have one of those performance reviews this Monday, actually. I am a relatively new employee so it's really hard to think about "accomplishments" but I'll start working on it. Thanks for the tips!
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
Thanks Savvy. I have my performance review in January. I have been keeping a binder of my successes and improvements. I even printed e-mails where I have been praised for my work to include in my binder.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
i have one thing i've done successfully and am clinging to it, waiting for my just have to make sure you have at least one thing very concrete that shows you've made a contribution and a commitment to something and have improved from previous years i'm not sure about other companies but we also have to do a personal learning plan, so by working off that, you know you've met the goals you wanted to meet...if it's not mandatory, it might still be helpful to do, just so you have a career plan and make sure you're on the right track with your milestones
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
we have our reviews around march/april and it's always a bit nerve wrecking. my last review i thought that i was in good shape and my boss tried to put something in mine that really didn't apply to me - it was more something that she did but wanted to place the blame. i know that i'm supposed to take the criticism with a grain of salt since it's to make me better, but i had to nicely debate that one. i don't know. regardless though - it's good to review where you were last year and to see if you've changed and what you've made noticeable adjustments so you can bring that to light in case your sup doesn't highlight that.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
my reviews suck cuz I am the youngest @ our company and feel like I have NO VOICE. They just won't listen... :(
melizzle melizzle 8 years
#3 is so important... come up with concrete examples of things you actually did, projects you completed, initiatives you spearheaded
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