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Appraisals – 10 top tips

1. Appraise yourself regularly. Make regular notes throughout the year and review your on the job performance against any performance criteria laid down by the company and keep any memos or e-mails which have praised you for a job well done. You’ll be very well prepared when it comes to appraisal time.

2. Remember that appraisals are a two-way process. Together, you and your manager should be clear on the objectives and so it’s important to differentiate this meeting from your regular catch-ups. Strengths and areas to work on should be clearly addressed by both parties and to achieve this, preparation is key.

3. Take the initiative. Prepare notes on your work performance and suggest how it can be improved. It’s also worth getting hold of a copy of your job description, and your last appraisal. List the areas that you’ve found tough and how you’ve overcome them- then list the areas you’ve excelled in.

4. Consider what resources you might need. Prepare notes on how you see your future career developing and what your goals and aspirations are. Then think about what you may need to help you further develop your role and become more effective - staffing training or mentoring for example.

5. Be completely open. All aspects of your work should be discussed both positive and negative – and from both your own and your manager’s perspective. Focusing on your weaknesses is as important as focusing on your strengths; it’s the best way you can expect to develop in your role.

6. Set the tone and be upbeat. Once in the meeting, provide a summary of how you view your performance since your last appraisal. Be positive but don’t exaggerate – it will only backfire. Don’t forget that your manager will have done as much preparation and groundwork as you.

7. Don’t expect to discuss salary or promotion. Although an appraisal may have a direct impact on both these things, they should be dealt with at separate meeting. A good appraisal should result in a set of actions to improve your work performance and a clear direction of where your career is heading.

8. If criticised, be professional and prepared to listen. Don’t get into a slanging match – you will be seen as immature and unable to accept criticism. Discuss anything that you disagree with positively and calmly – ask your manager to back up observations with examples of where you may be lacking

9. When the appraisal is over, read it through before signing it and make sure you get a copy. The appraisal shouldn’t stop when the door closes. Leave the meeting with a clear set of actionable steps - it’s your career; it’s up to you to take control of it.

10. Remain positive whatever the outcome. Always remember that appraisals are part of an ongoing relationship. Managers want their employees to be successful. If you do feel as though you have had an unsatisfactory appraisal then don’t see it as a dead end but as a starting point forthe future.

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