It’s that time of year again – time for your performance review, or maybe it’s your first review at your new job. While it can be a daunting time as you evaluate your achievements from the past year, performance reviews can also be a valuable experience to help shape your next steps.
So how can you ensure that your upcoming review shows you in the best light? And how can you walk out of it with a clear mind, ready to achieve your career goals? We’ve compiled a set of 6 tips to help make your next review the best and most productive one yet:
Most companies provide a worksheet for you to complete prior to your review, that maps your goals against your achievements – and if not, the general rule of thumb is to review your achievements against your set KPIs. If you have been given something to complete, it is best practice to populate it with standout achievements, and any additional information that shines a positive light on what you have accomplished. If you haven’t got a structure to follow, you can develop your own based on the goals you believe you were expected to achieve throughout the year. Your review is important, so be sure to cover everything you want to discuss – from ways you can take on more responsibilities, to highlighting the extracurricular activities you undertake now.
It can appear to be a difficult task – thinking back over the period and trying to remember everything you have done, especially with how fast paced life can seem. One way to combat this is to keep a notebook to record your key achievements throughout the year. The STAR analysis method (Situation, Task, Action and Result) can be a useful tool to help ensure you remember the key details of your accomplishments, for example, how you handled a task and the end result. The benefit of doing this throughout the year is that it not only assists you with your review, but it can also help you keep your resume up to date by tracking new skills you have developed which future employers may deem desirable. Finally, and most importantly – be honest. Your manager will know if something doesn’t sound right. Lying may place you in a better light in the short term, but it won’t help when you’re asked to fulfil complicated tasks requiring a solid understanding of assumed proficiencies.
You and Company X
So why were you chosen to be Company X’s employee? Whether you’re the Project Lead, Solution Architect or in any other position, you were chosen because Company X thinks you can kick some seriously good goals for them. Your review is your chance to provide examples of when you did just that! The best way to show this is to find ties between the company goals and the milestones you hit, to help the company get there.
Don’t limit yourself to thinking about the broad overall goal of ‘profit’, instead think of instances where what you worked on resulted in a triumph for other areas of the company. For example, if you were working towards implementing a system change, your work could be an innovation improving the efficiency of other systems within the company. Furthermore, it could be providing the company with happier staff by removing tedious processes, therefore potentially improving Company X’s staff satisfaction.
The crystal ball
With the current period analysed, it’s time to start thinking about what’s next. Take a look into your crystal ball, assess where you want to be, and think about what you need to do to get there. Your goal may be to improve a process in your current role, or it may be to extend your capabilities, so do some research to figure out how to get the ball rolling towards that set target. Use this review to discuss some of the options the company may have – they may have internal growth or change options, or even potential external opportunities for you to consider.
To help mold you into the person you want to be, and better hit the set goals, your company is likely to help in any way they can. This can include providing you with more complex projects to work on, moving you into other functions, or even having other people in the company elected as your mentor. If your company doesn’t have the resources, they may be able to help by funding external education or encouraging you to attend professional conferences to keep you up-to-date with the latest research and trends in your field.
It’s not just for you
While your review is predominantly for you, it’s also an opportunity for your manager/s to get feedback on their efforts, to help them grow and develop their leadership style. There may be aspects of their leadership style that you’d like to discuss, or maybe you have an issue with communication – this is your chance to bring it all up to improve your relationship going forward. You may, on the other hand, be happy with how everything is going. If so, be sure to tell them! This helps them understand that what they’re doing is working and that your team dynamic is producing results that everyone will be proud of.
Don’t worry, be happy!
Our final bit of advice is not to stress! Theodore Roosevelt famously once said ‘Believe you can and you’re half way there.” If you add that bit of advice to all the preparation you’ve already done – you are well and truly equipped to walk into your manager’s office to ace your review. There is no better opportunity than this for you to find a better way to work together to co-create successful outcomes for the company at large. If you know the period assessed didn’t go as well as expected, don’t sabotage the review by not following any of the tips mentioned above. Use this opportunity to explain why what you worked on went wrong, and how you can improve moving forward.
How Paxus can help
If you need career advice or further tips on acing that performance review, we can help! With access to the most exciting tech and digital roles in the industry, our highly experienced team is ready to provide you with great advice to help you secure that dream position. Contact your local Paxus branch to find out how we can help.
As your interview comes to a close, you can’t help but feel quietly confident that you have managed to impress the interviewer. You’ve provided them with some great responses, highlighted your relevant experience, and demonstrated why you’re the best candidate for the job. Then comes the inevitable question – “Are there any questions you would like to ask?”
While you may feel that you have already covered off all your key points, this question not only provides an opportunity to learn more about the position and company, it also demonstrates your interest. While it’s a simple question, your response can speak volumes about you as a candidate and how your interviewer perceives you – so you need to make sure you get it right! The most successful candidates aren’t just able to answer questions; they can ask them as well. So how should you approach this question?
Ensuring you are prepared ahead of time should be your number one priority. Read over the job description and company overview prior to the interview, and take note of things you would like more clarification or information on. As a rule, you should ask at least two or three open ended questions.
Occasionally, you might find that a question you had in mind will be answered during the interview – so it’s always best to have some back up questions just in case! If you’re unsure of the type of questions you should ask, we’ve outlined below some of our suggestions:
How would you describe the culture of [insert company name here]?
An interview is not just one sided – it is also designed for you to assess your prospective employer, to see if they are the right fit for you. Asking this question gives you an insight into whether the company’s culture and values align with what you’re looking for, so you can see if you can picture yourself working there.
How would you describe a typical day in this role?
It’s important to know exactly what a job entails, so you can make the best assessment on whether you will enjoy it. After all, you need to know what will be your day-to-day tasks if you’re successful. If these daily tasks sound mundane or unappealing, then that’s a strong indication that the job isn’t right for you.
What are your expectations for this role?
You might have an idea about what you’ll be doing in the role, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re aware of management’s expectations.
Knowing these expectations can again help you to determine if you’re a good fit, and if you will enjoy the role. It can also give you guidance on how to approach the role, should you be successful.
What are you hoping the employee you hire can accomplish in the first 12 months?
This is similar to the previous question, but can also give you some solid benchmarks and targets for your first year in the job. It also demonstrates to the interviewer that you’re a hard worker who is serious about achieving company goals.
How does this position contribute to achieving the department’s overall goals?
Asking this question can give you an overview of the company’s organisational structure – and where this role sits in the scope of the company. From the interviewer’s perspective, it illustrates that you’re a team player who wants to contribute to the overall success of their department, which is something that will be close to their heart.
What opportunities for professional development and advancement are there in this role?
Before you start a role, it’s important to be aware of any future opportunities that it could lead to. This gives you an indication of the possible career path you could take, and whether this is in line with your goals. Asking about professional development and advancement will also tell your interviewer that you are ambitious.
What do you view as the most challenging aspect of this role?
Understanding the challenges associated with a role can help to assess if it’s ideal for you. If you’re somebody who doesn’t cope well with stress, you should probably avoid a high pressure role. It’s better to be aware of the challenges ahead of time, rather than find out that you struggle with them a few months into the job.
Do you have any questions or concerns about my experience or qualifications?
While it might sound awkward to ask about your shortcomings, this is an excellent opportunity for you to speak openly with you interviewer about any concerns they might have. For instance, the interviewer might be concerned that you are over qualified for the role. This question can enable them to voice these concerns – allowing you to explain why you’re interested in the role and how you’re previous experience will be valuable.
How Paxus can help
If you’re searching for your next tech or digital role, we can help! With access to some of the most exciting roles in the industry, your next interview could be just around the corner. Contact your local Paxus branch to find out how we can help you find your ideal position