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​The Dos and Don'ts of Preparing for a Performance Review

​The Dos and Don'ts of Preparing for a Performance Review

03 June 2024

Performance Review

Performance reviews are a crucial aspect of career development, providing an opportunity to reflect on your achievements, receive constructive feedback, and set future goals. However, many employees fail to prepare adequately for these evaluations, which can undermine their effectiveness. This article outlines the essential dos and don'ts to help you prepare thoroughly and make the most of your performance review.

The Dos

Do Provide Evidence of Achievements

One of the most effective ways to showcase your contributions is by providing concrete evidence of your achievements. This includes:

  • KPIs and Metrics: Gather data that reflects your performance against Key Performance Indicators. This could include sales numbers, project completion rates, customer satisfaction scores, or any other relevant metrics.

  • Documentation: Bring along emails, reports, or any other documents that demonstrate your accomplishments. Having tangible proof can strengthen your case and provide a clear picture of your contributions.

Do Highlight Leadership and Initiative

Think of specific examples where you have shown leadership or gone above and beyond your regular duties. Examples might include:

  • Project Leadership: Instances where you led a project or a team successfully.

  • Problem-Solving: Situations where you identified a problem and took initiative to solve it.

  • Innovative Ideas: Contributions that led to process improvements or new strategies.

Do Seek Clarification on the Review Process

Understanding what will be covered in your performance review is essential. Here’s how to approach this:

  • Ask Your Manager: Politely request details about the review process and any specific areas that will be evaluated.

  • Complete Paperwork: Ensure any pre-review forms or self-assessment documents are completed accurately and submitted on time. This demonstrates your professionalism and commitment to the process.

Do Prepare for Constructive Criticism

Performance reviews are not just about highlighting your strengths but also about addressing areas for improvement. Here’s how to handle criticism constructively:

  • Request Examples: If your manager criticises your performance, respectfully ask for specific examples. This will help you understand the context and work on those areas effectively.

  • Plan for Improvement: Think of ways you can enhance your performance. Consider cross-training with other departments, taking relevant courses, or seeking mentorship.

The Don’ts

Don’t Discuss Salary Inappropriately

While compensation is an important aspect of your job, performance reviews are not always the right forum to discuss salary increases, especially if it has been made clear that this is not the focus. Instead, focus on your performance and achievements.

Don’t Be Defensive

Receiving criticism can be challenging, but it’s crucial to stay professional:

  • Stay Calm: Listen to the feedback without interrupting or getting defensive.

  • Acknowledge Mistakes: Accept responsibility for any shortcomings and express your willingness to improve.

Don’t Blame Others

Blaming colleagues or external factors for your own performance issues is unprofessional. Instead, take ownership of your actions and discuss what you can do differently in the future.

Don’t Criticise Colleagues or Gossip

Performance reviews should focus on your performance, not on your colleagues:

  • Stay Positive: Avoid making negative comments about coworkers.

  • Professionalism: Maintain a professional tone throughout the review.

Additional Tips

  • Self-Reflection: Before the review, take time to reflect on your performance over the period being reviewed. Identify your strengths, areas for improvement, and goals for the future.

  • Prepare Questions: Think of questions you might have for your manager about your performance, opportunities for growth, and career development.

  • Follow-Up: After the review, follow up on any action items or goals discussed. This shows your commitment to continuous improvement.


Preparation is key to making the most of your performance review. By providing evidence of your achievements, highlighting your leadership, seeking clarification on the review process, and handling criticism constructively, you can approach your review with confidence. By following these dos and don’ts, you can ensure that your performance review is a productive and positive experience, paving the way for your continued professional growth and success.