Job evaluations are stressful. Even those who’ve been through the process before are nervous about them, so for those of us who’ve never had one it’s not just awkward, it’s downright terrifying.
For us first-timers, not knowing what questions will be asked can make us anxious.
“Questions can be related to various skills including teamwork, communication, leadership, time management, judgment, ability to meet deadlines or project management. There may also be a question around the employee’s plans or wishes for future professional development,” says Charlene Taylor, career services co-ordinator from Seneca College.
Be prepared. Very rarely do people get flawless evaluations. Everyone has something they need to work on.
“You should expect some form of constructive criticism — otherwise it would be defeating the object of the session,” says Dr. Rob Yeung, a psychologist with the U.K.-based firm Talentspace. “Try to accept the fact that even if you don’t agree with the feedback, the other person is entitled to their point of view.”
However, it shouldn’t be a bashing session, either. Ideally your manager should address performance issues in a respectful manner and help you get to a higher lever with useful feedback.
“There should be no surprise,” says Taylor. “If the manager addresses performance issues or areas that require improvement within a formal meeting, a new employee needs to accept the constructive criticism graciously. Ask exactly what actions can be taken to improve the recommended area(s). It is important not to show anger and to clarify the manger’s overall expectations of you as an individual and as an employee of the company.”
There may be an issue raised that you disagree with or was taken out of context. Remember this isn’t a personal attack.
Try to be as open as possible to the other point of view.
“Make sure you keep your emotions in check and try to ask questions to figure out exactly what the problem was,” suggests Yeung.
If, on the other hand, your evaluation seems to be going well, this may be an opportunity to ask for a raise.
“An evaluation can be a good time to discuss a pay raise only if you have done some exceptional work that you can cite as evidence to back up your request,” says Yeung. “Make sure you spend some time thinking about what value you’ve added over and above what you’re supposed to do.”
Also have a number in mind when you come to the table and make sure it’s reasonable and reflects your efforts as well as being within the industry range, says Taylor.
Yeung suggests asking for a copy of the evaluation document. There may be a guideline on expectations on the evaluation. Take the time to read it through and learn more about your role.