5 Common Mistakes Not To Make When Answering Performance Appraisal Questions

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

When you’re in your performance appraisal, you want to be on top form, right? Don’t make the following common mistakes: your appraisal score could depend upon it.

  1. Taking a negative attitude instead of embracing the benefits. I’ve seen this countless times – an employee sits with crossed-arms and answers with blunt Yes/No answers – showing impertinence and negativity. Clearly, these people don’t understand the benefits of the Performance Appraisal process, or value them. Appraising performance is an investment, by our employer, in us. They’re not there to trap us or catch us out, but instead used to guide our development and identify gaps in our skills and knowledge so we can fill them if need be. Take a look at my post What is a Performance Appraisal and find out why they’re such a valuable investment in us and a wonderful opportunity for personal growth.
  2. Describing what happened instead of describing what was achieved. Your appraiser isn’t interested in the mechanics of your job. They probably know that already. Rather, they want to know what you achieved and how you achieved it. Often, employees forget this and it is a lost opportunity! This takes some preparation, but it is well worth the effort. You’ll find that it adds a sparkle to your answers that just wasn’t there before. Take a look at my very popular post 7 Keys To Describe Your Achievements to learn just how.
  3. Defending or excusing mistakes instead of saying what was learned from them. Your appraiser already knows what problems you might have faced during the last appraisal period – so don’t make excuses or try pass the blame. Rather, use this to your advantage. Your appraiser also knows that nobody is perfect, and everybody makes mistakes. Share your stories of failure, and include the bit about what you learned from it and what changes you have made to avoid it happening again. Take a look at this post – What to do when you have messed up at work.
  4. Speaking only about oneself instead of talking about the wider context. Your appraisal is about you, for sure, but it doesn’t mean you should restrict your answers to your own perspective. Your appraisal is a great opportunity to demonstrate how you understand the impact and value of your work to your organization. I call this the holistic approach. It is a way of describing how your performance impacts the work of other people around you, including your manager, customers, colleagues, etc. Read more about this method, and how to use it, in my post How To Answer Performance Review Questions.
  5. Providing answers, but asking no questions. You’re the one being appraised, but it doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions as part of your response. Asking pertinent questions about your development and potential are powerful ways to show your commitment, passion and guile. Besides, your appraisal is a two-way street and it is important that you guide your appraiser to get the information you want from it. Don’t be timid! Preparing questions in advance is advisable. I can give you a place to start by reading my post 6 Powerful Questions to Ask in Your Performance Review.

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