A Manager’s Guide to Conducting Performance Reviews

A Manager’s Guide to Conducting Performance Reviews

If you’ve been a manager for any amount of time, you realize that conducting a performance review can sometimes be as stressful for you as it is for the employee being reviewed!  The good news is that it can be an extremely rewarding experience on both sides.

Here are a few tips we’ve learned over the years that may help you conduct your next performance review:

Set the Stage

Before even starting the performance review, make sure the employee understands what is involved.  Ideally, they will know exactly what’s been expected of them over the last year.  But, to help ensure everyone is on the same page, consider creating a worksheet that highlights the specific job duties, expectations, goals, and milestones for the position.  Provide this to the employee well before the review.  Ask the employee to evaluate themselves in each area and come prepared to the performance review.

Keep Good Records

Typically, performance reviews take into account an extended period of performance.  As a manager, be sure to keep good records throughout the year for each of your reports.  Highlight specific successes, areas for improvement, and any requests or pieces of feedback you provided throughout the year.  Before evaluating an employee, be sure to consult your records.  This will help ensure you don’t miss any of the positives or areas for improvement.

If evaluating a long-term employee, review their last performance evaluation.  Pay special attention to the goals and requirements laid out in that review to ensure the employee is making progress.

Be Fair

To make sure all employees get a fair, unbiased evaluation, develop an employee performance appraisal that accurately measures similar guidelines that can transfer across all employee job types and levels. When evaluating several employees that share the same job roles, develop a unique form for that position.

Allow the Employee to Share Their Thoughts

The most effective evaluations are oftentimes full of open communication, not simply one-sided.  Encourage the employee to share their self-evaluations.  Ask what areas they feel they excel in, and what areas need improvement.  If your evaluation doesn’t match their own personal assessment, dig deeper to find out why.

Give Clear Comments

When sharing feedback that the employee needs to improve his or her performance, it should be clear, concise and to the point. Don’t give ambiguous comments or try to be nice. Be honest and professional.

Provide Realistic Goals

Goals should be determined by the type of work performed and be realistic, given the abilities of each individual employee. Carefully set at least one realistic work performance goal with a set time for completion, and be prepared to revisit this goal during the next evaluation period.

Get Buy-In
Before ending the performance review, confirm you have buy-in from the employee.  Ensure they understand what is expected of them, agree the goals set are realistic, and fully understand they will be held to the standards outlined during the review.

Don’t Wait to Provide Feedback
Just because you have set times throughout the year for performance reviews doesn’t mean this is the only time to provide feedback.  When you encounter a problem or something extraordinarily good, use this as a teaching moment.  Provide both positive and constructive feedback.

Check in on Goals
Last but not least, check in frequently.  Make sure employees are working towards the goals outlined during their review.  Confirm they have access to all the tools and resources they need to meet these goals and keep them on track!   

Looking to Hire More Top Performers?

At Helpmates, we specialize in recruiting top-performing employees that outpace their peers.  Contact us today!

How to Master Tough Interview Questions Like a Pro

Congratulations! You’ve been asked to interview for the job of your dreams.

Are you excited…or nervous? More importantly, are you prepared?

Interviewing can be really stressful, or quite enjoyable, depending on the preparation you do. Over my many years of hiring, the best interviews I’ve had are always the ones that turn into more of a conversation than a question and answer session. And that happens when the candidate is ready for the interview.

So what do you need to know?

First, you absolutely must do a little homework (and the more senior the position, the more preparation is required). Visit the company website. Get to know their products and services. Understand the company mission. Learn a little about their industry. And most importantly, think about the value you can bring to the organization.

Next, do a little planning to prepare for the following common interview questions you’re likely to be asked.

Common Question 1: Tell me about yourself.

You don’t need to tell your life story. The interviewer wants to hear a few highlights about your background, and the reasons you’d be a good match for the job opening. Don’t be afraid to brag a little. Share specific examples of your successes from prior jobs, talk about relevant classes you’ve taken, and convey your passion for the job.

Common Question 2: Tell me about your greatest success.

With a question like this, be genuine. The interviewer is looking for real examples of your skills, experience and personality traits. Never make up a story. If you don’t have a lot of work experience, talk about school. Was there a group project where you really shined? Tell a story that illustrates your accomplishments and work ethic.

Common Question 3: What is your greatest weakness?

This is the one that seems to get everyone stumped. A lot of people will tell you to take a strength you have and make it into a weakness. An example of this could be, “I just care too much sometimes and I always take my work home with me,” but a good interviewer can spot false modesty. Instead, talk about a weakness you actually have, but when you respond, show you are working to overcome the weakness. For example, maybe you’re a little disorganized, but you started using a planner, and file folders to separate your work, so now you have a better handle on it.

Common Question 4: Give me an example of when you really went above and beyond for a client. 
Or the corollary, give me an example of a time you had a big conflict with a client and how you dealt with it.

This is a tricky question because the interviewer is looking for you to demonstrate behavioral traits from your past. They want to see how you really handle yourself when clients are demanding or conflicts arise. Like the previous questions, the best approach is to be sincere. Have at least a couple of real stories ready to tell. Explain the situation that occurred, how you dealt with the problem, and the results of your efforts. Also, be sure to explain how you followed-up after the event took place to ensure the client was happy.

Common Question 5: What qualities should a successful manager have?

I love this question. It really forces candidates to express how they like to be managed, and it helps me evaluate whether or not the candidate is a good fit for the culture of our organization. To prepare for this question, think of an example of a favorite former boss or professor. What qualities made that person a great leader? When responding, don’t just state what you think works, but tell the interviewer about your examples and why their leadership style worked. For example, you might discuss a supervisor who was great at setting clear expectations, someone who set a great example for the rest of the team, or a person who was very approachable and acted as an effective mentor.

Would you like more help getting ready for your interviews?

As one of the top employment agencies in Southern California, we can help.  Call Helpmates today to schedule an interview to land your next great job.

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