Development talk: Everything you need to know + checklist

by Danique Geskus | Jun 7, 2024

The development interview is an important means of encouraging employee growth and development within an organization. Because topics such as sustainable employability and binding and engaging talent are currently central to HR, conducting effective development conversations is now more relevant than ever. Organizations that invest in their employees’ personal development can count on higher employee engagement and satisfaction, which ultimately leads to better performance and lower turnover.

Prefer to get started on the development conversation right away? Then download our free template including a sample form with inspiration and best practices.

A developmental interview (also called a PDP interview or career interview) is a conversation between a supervisor and an employee focused on the employee’s personal and professional growth. This conversation revolves around the employee’s future and personal goals within the organization, focusing on what the employee wants to achieve and how they can influence that. The direction during this conversation lies with the employee, while the supervisor plays a coaching role.

But what is the difference between the development interview and the performance and assessment interview? The performance and appraisal interview focus primarily on evaluating performance. While the development conversation focuses on the employee’s ambitions and talents. The development interview provides an opportunity to discuss what skills and knowledge the employee wants to expand and the steps needed to achieve these goals. As a result, development interviews contribute to the sustainable employability and engagement of employees.

Development interview checklist

Preparation for a development interview is essential for a successful and effective interview. As an (HR) manager, it is important to approach this conversation in the right way. We have developed a checklist for this purpose.

1. Preparation:
    • Collect employee accomplishments and achieved goals.
    • Ask for feedback from colleagues and supervisors.
    • Inventory previous development goals and their progress.
    • Note points of interest and topics to be discussed.
    • Schedule adequate time for the interview and provide a quiet, undisturbed environment.
2. The conversation:

Assessment of performance:

    • What do you think are the most important accomplishments of the past year?
    • Have there been any specific challenges and how have you dealt with them?
    • In what areas do you see room for improvement?


    • Can you give an example of a situation in which you felt particularly successful?
    • What was a situation you learned from, and what would you do differently next time?
    • How can we as an organization better support you in your role?

Development goals:

    • What skills would you like to develop in the coming period?
    • How can we help you achieve these goals?
    • What training or education do you think you need?

Career Development:

    • What are your long-term career goals?
    • How do you see your role within the organization developing in the coming years?
    • Are there specific projects or roles you are interested in gaining more experience in?

Support and Resources:

    • What resources or tools do you need to do your job more effectively?
    • How can the organization better support you in achieving your goals?
    • Are there any barriers you face in your work and how can we help overcome them?
3. Rounding:
    • Summarize the main points of the conversation.
    • Record specific agreements and action items.
    • Make a follow-up appointment to evaluate progress.
    • Thank the employee for being open and committed.
4. After the Conversation:
    • Send a summary of the conversation to the employee.
    • Ensure proper follow-up on the agreements made.
    • Monitor progress and provide support as needed.

With this checklist, you ensure that the development interview is structured and both the employee and the organization benefit from the topics discussed and agreements made.

How often do you conduct a development interview?

A development conversation should be an ongoing process of communication and growth, not a one-time event. Regular development conversations provide opportunities for feedback and adjusting goals, which benefits both the employee and the organization.

Spreading these conversations regularly throughout the year creates an ongoing dialogue between employee and supervisor. This fosters a culture of open communication and trust, where challenges are addressed in a timely manner and successes are celebrated.

In short, development conversations must be integrated into the organization. They are essential to the professional growth of employees and the success of the organization, ensuring that everyone works together for a better future.

Conducting development conversations with Learned

Learned allows you to conduct efficient and structured development conversations. The platform provides tools and templates to set goals, track performance and create development plans. This enables organizations to effectively manage and support the growth and development of their employees.

Learned UI in which career paths are visible to an HR manager

Make your evaluations objective and advancement opportunities transparent. Build a job home now for free and easily with Learned. Try Learned now for 14 days for free!

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