If you break out in a cold sweat when you think about an upcoming employee performance review, you’re not alone. In fact, 60-90% of employees and managers alike dislike performance evaluations.
However, they are – it seems – a necessary evil. Constructive feedback is an essential part of employee development, and companies who provide that feedback enjoy greater employee productivity, engagement, and even boost profitability.
And here’s the thing: employee performance appraisals don’t have to be a nightmare—as long as you prepare.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
The key is to plan your questions (if you’re a manager) and answers (if you’re an employee) ahead of time so that you can walk into the appraisal feeling confident. With that in mind, we’ve listed 10 of the most common employee performance appraisal questions and answers below.
Ready? Let’s take a look at them.
1. What is one accomplishment you’re proud of during the last review period?
This is a great employee review question to kick things off on a positive note. It offers the employee a chance to reflect on their positive achievements and helps them to feel valued.
The best way to answer this question is honestly. Don’t try to take credit for something you haven’t done, but don’t undersell yourself either. Think about a time where you’ve gone above and beyond and genuinely exceeded expectations.
Even better, pick an example of a time where you’ve shown leadership or great team-working skills. Try to explain why you’re proud of that achievement and how it added value to the company.
2. Where do you feel you could improve?
An important part of the appraisal process is highlighting areas where the employee can improve in order to aid with their ongoing professional development. By structuring this feedback as a self-evaluation question, it gives the employee an opportunity to identify this area for themselves rather than seeing it as outside criticism.
From the interviewer’s perspective, it’s an opportunity to assess how perceptive the employee is at understanding their own weaknesses, and whether or not what they think their weaknesses are matches up with what you think.
There’s no right or wrong answer here, but the important thing is to demonstrate that you can reflect on your weaknesses. There’s always room for improvement, so even if you think you’re a model employee, avoid saying something along the lines of ‘I don’t think there are any areas I could improve on’.
Some examples of areas you might be able to improve on might be timekeeping, leadership, knowledge of certain areas of the business, etc.
The best answer to this question won’t just identify an area of weakness, but will also show the steps you’re already taking to address that weakness.
3. What do you hope to achieve over the next X years?
Another similar question might be something along the lines of ‘what are your short-term/long-term career goals?
What both of these questions have in common is that they’re both a way for your manager to find out the areas where you personally want to improve in, as well as your career ambitions, so that they can better aid you with your ongoing professional development.
This is your opportunity to create a roadmap for what you want to achieve and ask your manager to help you get there. Do you think a specific qualification could help you in your career? Mention it! Are you hoping to work your way up the career ladder and land a promotion? Great, let that be known too!
Make sure you emphasize in your answer how your ongoing development will help the company. For example, if you’re hoping to be trained in a new skill, you might mention that you think there’s a skills gap in your department that you want to fill.
4. What do you like most about this job?
This isn’t a trick question: the reason managers want to know your answer is so they can help to cater your workload to the things you’re passionate about.
Again, honesty is the best policy here. Don’t say what you think your manager wants to hear, say what you genuinely like most. Is there a specific type of work that you particularly enjoy and would like to do more of? Mention it, explain why you like it, and try to provide evidence why you think it aligns with your strengths.
5. Do you feel you have everything you need to do your job?
This is a constructive appraisal question that helps the manager to assess if there’s anything that might be limiting the employee’s performance, and what tools or resources might help them to improve.
Suggest some tools or resources that might have a positive impact on your performance. That might be new office equipment, training materials, or anything else that aligns with your job role. Don’t ask for anything that wouldn’t genuinely be useful just for the sake of it.
6. Do you understand your role?
This question is a way to assess the employee’s job knowledge and understanding of their role in the organization.
The interviewer wants to see that you understand how everything works and what’s expected of you. Demonstrate a complete understanding of the company and where you fit into it by explaining what your role is, what’s expected of you, and how you fit into the larger system.
7. Do you feel you work well together with the rest of the team?
Being a team-player is important in most workplaces. This question gives the interviewer insight into the team dynamics and how they might be impacting productivity.
Ideally, if you work well with your team, you’ll use this answer to show that you’re a strong team-player and get on with your colleagues.
If you genuinely feel there’s a dynamic at play that might be impacting your productivity – such as a colleague you don’t work well with – try to highlight that without being rude or confrontational. Be professional, polite, and reasonable and suggest a solution.
8. How has management helped or hindered your job performance?
This gives the manager insight as to how they might be able to better support their employees to maximize productivity.
This isn’t a free pass to insult management and air all of your grievances, but it is an opportunity to explain how you personally like to be managed and why that will be beneficial for both you and the company.
9. Are there any targets you hope to meet over the next quarter/year?
By asking the employee to set their own targets in this review, you can evaluate whether they’ve met them in the next one.
Look at your performance metrics – where do you think there’s room for improvement? Pick a target you think is realistically achievable with the understanding that you’ll be evaluated on your performance against that target in the follow-up review.
10 . Do you have any questions you’d like to ask?
This is a great way to finish by giving the employee the opportunity to add anything else they want to mention.
There’s no right or wrong answer here. If you don’t have any questions, don’t feel pressured to ask something for the sake of it.