ahh first job review
February 13, 2008 9:29 PM   Subscribe

My 1st job performance review ever! What should I expect? What should I prepare for? What do I need to keep in mind?

I work in a large corporation and it’s my first real job. I have already sent my boss my top accomplishments for 2007, including quantitative impacts and comments from people I worked with. I had almost zero interactions with my boss in 2007 but my boss said that I will be promoted if I keep up the great work through beginning of 2008.

What should I expect? Should I prepare anything more? What if my boss doesn’t give me the promotion as promised even though I have been meeting my goals?

Any general advices?
posted by vocpanda to Work & Money (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
All performance reviews that I've been a part of have been nothing but a show. You come in, sit down, make awkward small talk with your supervisor/boss while he reads a bunch of "goals" off a page. These goals are typically very general. Most people have no problem meeting them. Raises are always promised "if you're good", but management in my experience doesn't like to give people more money than they already have. Unfortunately the only real way to get more money (if the company is unwilling to give you a raise) is to threaten to quit.

Bottom line, you don't have to worry. Emphasize your achievements, think of what you wanna accomplish next year ('cause your manager is going to ask you) and hope for a raise.
posted by aeighty at 9:53 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Be prepared to not be loved. You may be doing something that isn't perfect. Do not fixate on the negative. Try to listen for the good stuff and don't feel wounded if there is a suggestion for improvement.

I've done reviews for people that are 99% positive, only to find out that my one minor suggestion for improvement (delivered as carefully and respectfully as possible) caused them great trauma.
Don't panic, no matter what. Take what is said and see if you can use it.
Don't respond emotionally to anything. Even if it seems unfair, let it settle a while.

Good luck!
posted by cccorlew at 10:34 PM on February 13, 2008

Expect very little. Of the eleventy or so of these that I've done, one or two have been anything other than a breathtaking waste of time.

My own bitterness aside, now is the time to ask for any training you want. To put it another way: now is the time you can make your boss write on a bit of paper that you know is going to the HR dept. I reckon the best prep you can do is think about some sort of course you would like to do.

Also, ask for money. You're expected to.
posted by pompomtom at 10:34 PM on February 13, 2008

Don't forget to ask some questions. Personally, I always have some small questions for the boss I've always been meaning to ask.
posted by philomathoholic at 11:56 PM on February 13, 2008

In any interview situation, people rush to talk to fill voids in the conversation.

Don't do this. When whomever you're talking to pauses, do NOT immediately respond. Just hold his/her gaze, and wait. Give a rueful look, or raise an eyebrow. (This also makes you look more intelligent.)

The other person will get nervous and defensive, and rush to fill in the void. In your case, he or she will take you lack of response as skepticism, and will fill in the void by offering you more. Never offer first, always hold out. At most, "hmm" noncommittally.
posted by orthogonality at 12:04 AM on February 14, 2008

Performance reviews vary widely by company so it's hard to say what the expectations are at your firm. The performance reviews I've had in the corporate world always require that you set goals for the upcoming year. Obviously you will score points with the boss if you make them ambitious but then you will lose major points if those goals are unrealized at the end of the year. I guess you should be prepared with some goals that you'd like to accomplish for 2008.
posted by JJ86 at 5:26 AM on February 14, 2008

Do you plan to still be with your company for Performance Review 2008? If not, you can make up the most wide-eyed and earnest self-goals, which may win you points in the present without any requirement for follow-up.

At my first performance review, my boss was very encouraging and I was very smug -- because I was planning to quit the next week. Probably the most enjoyable performance review I'll ever have.
posted by bluenausea at 6:13 AM on February 14, 2008

Just hold his/her gaze, and wait. Give a rueful look, or raise an eyebrow. (This also makes you look more intelligent.)

Or autistic. I would say the most important thing here is what cccorlew said. A lot of young people coming into the workforce have inflated expectations, assuming reviews are an annual chance for people to praise them. It sounds from your question like you will be getting a good review, but don't be surprised by negative feedback. Some of it may be spot on, some may seem out of left-field, but review processes in any big company (almost) compel reviewers to provide some sort of criticism lest the reviewer's reviewers decided to review what's going on in that department.
posted by yerfatma at 6:59 AM on February 14, 2008

No matter how stellar your performance, your manager/boss/supervisor will, almost by law, find something that "you could improve on". This is just the way the game is played, don't take it personally - they have to have some way of benchmarking you NEXT year, so if they put down one thing that "needs work", no matter how minor, they can look at you at next year's review and say "yup, you improved".

So, in short, don't take anything personally in your review - it's just work.
posted by pdb at 8:26 AM on February 14, 2008

The performance review cycle doesn't always match the promotion cycle. Don't assume that this is the conversation where you'll be promoted. It may not be. Every company is different, but we have several separate meetings with each staff member

Goal Setting - How the staff member will be evaluated. (January)
Performance Evaluation - How you did against last years goals - employee ranking. (February)
Compensation and Bonus Payout - This is like 2 minutes of here is what you'll see in your next pay check. (March)
Employee Development - What are your goals? What is your training plan? Who is mentoring you? (April or May)

Separate from those required conversations, I'd schedule a meeting to tell someone they got a promotion.

It probably good to get an idea of what will be covered in this discussion. If you're expecting to cover all of these topics and your boss is only prepared to discuss 1, then you'll be disappointed. Ask coworkers who've been there awhile.

And like everyone said - listen to the comments, take what's offered constructively. Don't be overly concerned if you're not given perfect scores.
posted by 26.2 at 8:42 AM on February 14, 2008

I just had my first performance review with an organization I joined six months ago. HR provided a little worksheet with little questions and little goals.

I could tell my supervisor (the acting CEO) had very little interest in the review (Heckuva a good job, Brownie) would rather have been talking about anything else (Supervisor: KokuRyu, what's the deal with the little socks they wear in Japan? They're so...little! You ever notice that when you were there?

KokuRyu: Uh, yeah. Anyway, I've noticed that, given my new responsibilities and my travel schedule, I'm really going to have to focus on time management going forward.

Boss: They still serving coffee on shorthaul flights on Air Canada?

KokuRyu: Yeah, but it's pretty terrible. More comfortable than a 747, though.

Boss: That reminds me of Hong Kong. You know...)

He seemed embarrassed whenever I brought the conversation back to the review.

Probably won't give me a 5% raise, though, the bastard.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:02 AM on February 14, 2008

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