Preparing for performance reviews: Concrete steps and tips

by Danique Geskus | Mar 20, 2024

Preparing for the performance appraisal interview is a crucial part of the appraisal process within many organizations. It allows both employees and employers to discuss employee performance, goals and development needs. Preparing for a performance review is essential to making the most of this opportunity and communicating effectively. In this blog, we will discuss concrete steps and tips to prepare for and confidently conduct a performance appraisal.

Getting started right away with the performance review? Download our free ‘performance appraisal new style’ template here.


The importance of preparing for the performance appraisal interview

A well-prepared performance review can make the difference between a strong dialogue that promotes employee growth and development and a superficial exchange of feedback. By spending time prior to the interview on self-reflection, gathering relevant information and setting goals, you can ensure that the interview is productive.


Concrete preparation steps

For employers

1. Assessment of performance: Take time to objectively assess the employee’s performance. Check whether the employee has achieved the goals set and how his or her performance compares with the company’s expectations.

2. Collect feedback: Gather feedback from colleagues, other supervisors and possibly clients or customers about the employee’s performance. This helps to get a full picture of the employee’s strengths and development needs.

3. Identify development opportunities: Identify opportunities for further employee development and growth within the company. Discuss these opportunities during the performance review and establish concrete action plans to support development.

4. Prepare documentation: Gather relevant documentation, such as performance reviews, training schedules and feedback from colleagues, to support the performance review. Make sure you have these documents organized and easily accessible during the interview.

5. Promote open communication: Ensure that the performance appraisal facilitates an open and honest dialogue between you and the employee. Encourage the employee to share his or her thoughts, concerns and goals, and offer constructive feedback and support as needed.

For employees

1. Self-evaluation: Take time to honestly evaluate your own performance. Identify your strengths, areas for improvement and any obstacles you have encountered. Think about specific examples that support your evaluation.

2. Set goals: Verify that you have met the goals set during previous performance reviews or annual evaluations. Formulate new goals for the coming period and think about how to achieve them.

3. Collect feedback: Collect feedback from colleagues, supervisors and possibly clients or customers. This can help you get a complete picture of your performance and identify any blind spots.

4. Prepare documentation: Collect relevant documentation, such as project reports, performance reviews, training certificates and other documents that support your performance. Make sure you have these documents organized and easily accessible for the interview.

5. Prepare questions: Think about questions you want to ask your supervisor during the interview. These may be questions about your development path, opportunities within the company or feedback on specific projects.



Tips for preparing for the performance appraisal interview

1. Start on time: Give yourself enough time to prepare for the performance review. Don’t wait until the last minute, but plan early so you can reflect calmly and gather all the necessary documentation.

2. Be honest and open: Both employers and employees should be honest and open during the performance review. Be prepared to discuss both successes and challenges and be open to constructive feedback.

3. Listen actively: Listen carefully to the other party’s views and feedback. Ask clarifying questions and show genuine interest in each other’s perspective.

4. Focus on solutions: Instead of just pointing out problems, focus on finding solutions and setting concrete action plans to address any challenges and achieve goals.

5. Set realistic goals: Both employers and employees should set realistic goals that are achievable within a certain period of time. Be specific and measurable when setting goals to effectively track progress.


By following these concrete steps and tips, both employers and employees can effectively prepare for the performance review and facilitate a strong dialogue about performance, goals and development needs.

How Learned can help prepare for the performance appraisal interview

From Learned, we also advise our clients to strive for continuous dialogue. By engaging with your employees on an ongoing basis as a manager, we see that employees are more aware of how they can contribute to the organization and are more actively engaged in their development. Learned can help you do this by supporting the transition from gut feeling to data-driven evaluations. This gives you real-time insight into your employees’ performance and prevents turnover. Try Learned now for 14 days for free.An employee receiving a 7 as a performance review cycle score in the Learned UI

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