How to Make the Most of Your Employee Review

Nicoles Review Post
Nicole Green
September 27, 2018

Ah, employee reviews. It’s that wonderful time of year when you get to sit down with your manager to talk about your performance. Does that calendar invite make you nervous? Unsure what to expect? Don’t fret!

With this helpful guide, you will be able to take full advantage of the opportunity to talk about you–your role, your career, your performance, and your goals.


Your review: The basics

It’s valuable to understand what a review is–even if you’ve done countless reviews in the past. It’s not supposed to be a scary or stressful event. A review is a touch-base conversation with your manager and HR to talk about how you’ve been doing, your strong suits, and areas for improvement.

Reviews are helpful for everyone, no matter where they’re at in their career path. It’s especially beneficial for new employees since you will constantly be taking on new tasks and assignments. A review is also a good time to discuss the opportunity for a raise or promotion, so it’s important to be prepared!


Reflection is key

Before your review, take time to reflect on your past six months, past year, or whatever interval your company uses. It’s best to do this a week or so before your review so that you have time to process and remember past events.

A great way to prep for this reflection time is to take notes as you take on new projects or complete a major accomplishment. Make a running list somewhere; this will keep everything you’ve done handy in case you do forget (which happens!).

During your reflection, think about times you felt you performed well, and maybe went above and beyond in a particular way. Also, think about times where you could have improved, or you learned a valuable lesson or would do things differently next time. Both successes and failures are essential to growth. (PSM core value alert!)


Prep work

When tackling the self-evaluation portion of your review, be sure to include elaboration on why you gave yourself that rating. Use concrete examples of projects or tasks in your reasoning. Be sure to be open and honest with yourself, as this is the best way you can be better in the future!

Next, make sure you’re prepared for your review by anticipating key points in your meeting. Be open to receiving feedback and think about how you want to approach the conversation. Are you extremely proud of your performance? Would you like to ask for more responsibility or a leadership opportunity? Go into the review with some key issues you’d like to discuss.


Goal setting

After thinking of your meeting’s intention, consider some goals you’d like to focus on in the time before your next review.

Think about the 3 E’s: Experience, Exposure, and Education. What experiences would you like to have? Do you want exposure to a large client or a tool? How about a training that’s related to your field? Goals can also be behavioral too. Perhaps you’d like to improve on your presentation skills or your teamwork abilities. Ultimately, these will be discussed with your manager, but it’s important to think about them before going into your review.

During your review, speak to each of the points you prepared for and listen to your manager’s feedback. Make sure all topics are addressed and all your questions are answered. Typically, your manager will be open to discussing topics mentioned in the review in upcoming one-on-one meetings as well. You should end the meeting feeling confident that all of your ideas were expressed, your concerns were addressed, and you and your manager both have a clear understanding of your performance and upcoming action plan.


After the review

Once the review is over, reflect on key takeaways. Remember, all feedback is good feedback if the intention is to help your performance and make you a stronger team member!

Always reach out if you have questions afterward and address action items in ongoing meetings with your managers. Be sure to continue to track your progress on target points mentioned so that you are prepared for your next review.

It’s important to remember that reviews are simply check-ins where we can work to reflect, acknowledge, and learn about ourselves and about what we’re capable of. It’s a valuable tool throughout your career, so make sure you make the most of it.


For more helpful career tips, check out How to Optimize Your Online Presence When Looking for a Job and 3 Tips to Take Your In-Person Interview Skills to the Next Level.

Want to join the Perfect Search Media team? Check out our latest job opportunities here!

Nicole Green
Manager, HR & Employee Engagement

Nicole Green is a Crystal Lake, IL native and University of Illinois at Chicago graduate. Her first job was answering phones at Lou Malnati’s–and now she’s our Manager of HR & Employee Engagement. Some of her bucket list items include attending the Olympics, swimming with dolphins, and seeing Cardi B in concert.

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