The job evaluation is always nerve wracking, isn’t it? In an ideal world, you should never walk into a job evaluation and be surprised at what you’re hearing or what’s taking place. In an ideal world, you and your supervisor have been communicating all along and you know exactly what you’re going to hear and you know your boss has heard exactly what you would like to say.
In the real world, things don’t always go that smoothly. In the evaluation meeting, both you and your supervisor will probably have interesting things to say and there might be some surprises. However, there are some activities you can do to prepare yourself for the upcoming evaluation meeting.
First and foremost, understand the evaluation business process. Does it happen every year, every six months or some other time frame? Will you need to do a self-evaluation first? Is this meeting with your direct supervisor or are there several levels of management going to meet with you?
Other questions you want to know before you go into the meeting include what happens with the results? Are they filed and forgotten or are they used to determine whether you get a raise or bonus? What are the consequences – negative or positive – related to the evaluation meeting?
Sometimes the best preparation is gaining knowledge. Understanding what’s going to happen to you and what’s expected from you is a foundation step.
Know Your Year!
Bring documentation with you regarding what you’ve done since the last evaluation. Summarize your accomplishments and be prepared to discuss your year in more detail. Bring facts with you and if possible, documentation of how well you’ve done your job. For example, if you finished five projects this year make a copy of the front page of the project sheet showing each project was completed successfully.
Be prepared to discuss some of the following:
- What did you do well? This is your opportunity to market yourself and showcase your worth.
- What were some of the challenges of this past year? Be prepared to discuss some of the things you struggled with and options for avoiding those in the future. If you do get an opportunity to discuss challenges, take the time to ask for additional training or resources if appropriate.
- What challenges did you face? As you discuss challenges, highlight the ways in which you met those challenges and succeeded at beating them. Again – this is your time to shine!
- What do you need to work on? Always know what your growth opportunities are and discuss what you would like to work on in the coming year.
It may sound corny, but it’s not. Studies have shown that when someone takes time getting their physical appearance just right; they will more than likely project an air of confidence and success.
Give yourself that extra edge in the meeting by putting more time into your morning get-ready-for-work routine. Pick an outfit that makes you feel successful and look good. If you are meeting after lunch, suck on a few breath mints prior to the meeting. Basically, not only are you putting your best foot forward for your boss, but you are also giving yourself that extra confidence boost.
Another point in physical preparation is to not become too tired, too stressed out or too hungry before the meeting. You really don’t want anything to distract you during the meeting.
Calm yourself before the meeting and be prepared to engage in rational and professional dialog without any knee-jerk reactions. Make sure you are ready to listen to what your boss is saying and be prepared to come out of the meeting with an action plan for the next year.
Have a plan in place in case you start to feel defensive and notice that you’re becoming emotional. Perhaps you can use some long steady breaths or some other calming technique to keep yourself on topic and not react out of turn. The last thing you want to do is to let your emotions take over the meeting.
You basically want to get your mindset such that you are going in with the goal of learning as much as possible. And if the outcome is not to your looking, the least you can do is to show your professionalism in the face of a big challenge.
During the Meeting!
Although the meeting is really all about you, make sure that you give thanks where thanks are due. If you’ve finished a huge project and couldn’t have done it without the training your boss approved or a co-worker who went the extra mile, make sure to point that out. No one works in a vacuum and by showing you appreciate your team, you are helping yourself.
Be prepared to take notes during the meeting, but don’t feel obligated to take notes. Sometimes the work culture is such that taking notes would be a distraction during the meeting. In that case, have the note pad ready just in case you really need to use it for a specific point. In other cases, taking notes may be encouraged and even appreciated, in which case, make sure to jot down action items and the like.
If you’re going to get a good review and have excellent marks, it might be a good time to ask for a raise. But – this is another time where work culture and business process are important. In your work culture, if raises are discussed at a different time, then wait for the right time. At a minimum – if your marks are good, it certainly doesn’t hurt to at least learn more about the process of how to get a raise.
Ask questions if you don’t agree with something or if you’re unsure of what point your supervisor is trying to make. Don’t be scared to ask for specific examples. Remember that you are there to learn and by asking questions and getting clarification, you can learn better
Above all – thank the boss for their time and feedback and let them know you appreciate their input. The truth is that supervisors often dread the appraisal process as much as, or more than, the employee. By preparing yourself physically and mentally and arming yourself with knowledge of the process, you will make the process easier for both you and your boss.