How should I prepare for a performance appraisal?

over 1 year ago by Daniel Stargatt
How should I prepare for a work appraisal?

An appraisal is a great opportunity for you and your Manager to discuss your performance in detail and plan what is next in terms of your career progression and professional development. So it’s important to do as much prep as possible to ensure you get the most out of it.

Ultimately an appraisal should offer you a platform to be honest and open. Ideally you should be given a good amount of time to prepare, and traditionally an appraisal is done once a year, so you should know roughly when your appraisal is taking place. If you don't have anything scheduled then we suggest you speak to your Manager to arrange one, remembering to give yourself enough time to prepare. 

In this article we discuss the key areas to focus on when preparing for your performance appraisal. So let’s get started…

Collect information

When preparing for your appraisal it’s absolutely key to gather as much information as you can to back up your performance and achievements. This can be anything from quantitative data to communication with clients, customers and colleagues that prove that you have consistently delivered great results. You can’t argue with black and white figures.

If you have notes from your previous appraisal then it would be a good idea to see what takeaways you had from that, to discuss how you have met or exceeded what was expected of you. This will also help to show your commitment to personal development.

Create a list of development goals

An appraisal is your opportunity to openly discuss how you want to develop key skills and how you want your career to progress. This is why it is important to have a list of areas you want to strengthen and a clear idea of how you see your career progressing within the business.

Be prepared to have a conversation around these points as your Manager potentially could have other ideas. But it’s important for you to have a good starting point on what you want to achieve to ensure it’s a two-way conversation. This could be anything from additional training to increased responsibility.

By the end of the appraisal it’s absolutely key that you have clear takeaways, so you know exactly what you need to do to progress and develop further. So if you feel you don’t make sure you ask and both agree on your next steps before the the end of the meeting.

Prepare questions for your Manager

Preparing questions is all about what you want to take from the appraisal. We suggest a mix of questions regarding your personal development and development within the wider context of the business. Although your personal development is important it’s also important that your Manager feels like you are a team player and not just thinking about yourself. So really think about how you can impact the wider business. 


In summary, if you can cover the following questions, with solid evidence, when preparing for your appraisal then you should be set for a productive meeting…

  • How did you do on the goals set during your last appraisal?
  • What was your biggest achievements this year?
  • What are your short and long-term goals with the company, and for your career?
  • In what ways might you contribute more to the company?

Although your Manager has a responsibility to ensure the appraisal is productive, it is up to you to ensure you get what you need in terms of performance feedback and what the next steps are for your career progression. So we can’t stress enough how important preparation is. Hopefully this article has helped focus you on the areas of importance when putting together preparation and you feel ready for your appraisal... good luck!! 

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