Performance reviews can be nerve-wracking for even the most resilient of employees.
And it’s no wonder, really. Sat across from your Manager, being judged for your every move over the last few months… (Well that’s what it feels like anyway).
But the best way to alleviate some of that stress is to prepare yourself before entering the room. So this week, we’ve got eight tips to help you with that…
1. Look after your interests.
Before going into a performance review, it’s important to have a think about what you want from your future at the business.
Your boss or manager may not always be aware of your future goals, dreams, and career aspirations – and as great as they may be, they aren’t mind readers.
Make your interests and aspirations known, in a polite and reasonable manner. And if you can make your interests match up with those of the company, then that’s even better!
2. But remember it’s a business, too.
A performance review is all about you… but more specifically, you in the context of the organisation. Your effect on that business.
This is NOT the right time to complain and moan about your current job role and it isn’t the time to say if you don’t get x, y and z you’re going to leave.
You need to show your boss how you’ve contributed over the last few months and use this as a good starting position on why you should get x, y and z in the future.
Try to match your interests up with the company’s and keep both parties happy!
3. Get your figures in order.
It’s one thing to say “I’m great for customer retention”, it’s another thing to present statistics that prove it. Talk is cheap and numbers will speak louder than words.
Prepare statistics, figures, and graphs (if necessary) to back up any claims you make about your performance.
Your manager wants to see quantifiable evidence as to why they should keep you employed and also progress your career.
Mathematical visual representations of success can be powerful things, and it’s ultimately how most companies ‘think’.
4. Don’t delegate blame.
One of the biggest mistakes you could make during your performance review is to start blaming and badmouthing other people.
Things go wrong from time to time and it’s perfectly ok to admit you’ve made a mistake.
Be prepared to admit to errors in judgement and any issues you’ve had and immediately suggest what you’ve learned from the experience and how you intend to improve.
You only have to watch “The Apprentice” for 2 minutes to see stressed-out businesspeople pointing blame at one another childishly.
It doesn’t make you look good, and it can make you seem dishonest.
In fact, even if something had absolutely nothing to do with you, it’s important not to go on a rant, moaning about other people and their faults. Keep conversation neutral.
5. Refresh their memory.
I know you don’t want to look like you’re bragging and repeating yourself but it’s likely that your boss has a lot on their plate.
Be prepared to refresh your boss’s memory of any particularly admirable accomplishments you achieved since your last performance review.
This is especially true if you performance reviews are annual, or otherwise quite infrequent.
6. Identify your weaknesses.
Obviously you want to emphasize and promote your strengths in a performance review.
However, what if your manager catches you off-guard with one of your weaknesses? Will you be prepared to talk about it?
You might not want to necessarily bring them up, but being aware of your weaknesses allows you to prepare responses should your reviewer bring them up in any way.
And if they do come up, the best way to deal with them is to show how you’re looking to improve in the future. (Or have already started).
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best!
7. Tie your achievements to the company
Did the company do well this quarter?
If so, how did you specifically contribute to this success?
Of course, organizations like to throw around words like “teamwork” and “synergy” but every individual also needs to be pulling their weight.
What are your efforts worth to the company?
Why should they keep you as a cog in their corporate machine? It sounds a tad belittling, but this is how CEOs and board members have to think.
8. Market yourself.
Does your business have a marketing department?
Maybe you should take notes from them!
You need to think like a marketing executive who’s marketing a brand.
You’re the executive, and the brand is you.
We’re not saying that you should put posters around the office talking about how great you are, but you should know how to spin negatives into positives and how to emphasise your USP.
Attach positive values to you and your performance. Radiate intelligence, organization and professionalism.
Hope you found these tips useful.
The most important thing to remember is to remain calm and don’t start blaming other people. That’ll get you nowhere.
However, if it’s come to your performance review and you’re unsure whether the job is still for you, read this blog post first.
If you’d like some more advice on performance reviews and your career in general, click here to subscribe to our weekly careers blog.