The performance review meeting is supposed to be a two-way conversation to understand and boost employee performance. But all too often, the discussion is often concluded with a sigh of relief and crucial concerns are not addressed.
What people get wrong about the performance review is that it is a one-way dynamic. Don't just sit there and get feedback from your boss. Listen intently to what your manager is saying and engage in constructive dialogue with him or her.
The key to a successful performance review lies in the questions that make up the performance review. Asking the right questions lets you figure out the right areas for improvements and gain deeper insights into your boss’s expectations.
Here are some best questions to ask your manager and get the most out of your performance review.
11 questions to ask your boss during the performance review
1What'd make me a candidate for a promotion?
2Have I met the expectations you had for me?
3How do you measure my progress?
4What are the technical skills I should improve?
5How can I improve [specific technical skill]?
6What are the opportunities available for my professional development?
7Can we talk about my compensation/raise?
8What's our company's biggest challenge presently?
9What areas am I spending too much of my time on and what areas should I focus more time on?
10How can I make your job easier?
11What can I do to support my team members better?
What'd make me a candidate for a promotion?
If you're interested in advancing your career in the company, you'd need to know what you should do to get promoted. But the timing is key here. It may be too soon to mention this if you just worked in the company for 6 months.
💡What to expect: First, your manager may show you the career path for your position. He or she then breaks down to you the necessary steps and skills required to attain the position ahead of you. They can also reply by assigning you more tasks and responsibilities to prepare you for a promotion within the company.
Have I met the expectations you had for me?
One of the primary purposes of a performance review is to receive honest feedback on your performance, both good and bad. By asking this question, you will find out the areas of your work your boss has been impressed with and the areas for improvement.
💡What to expect: The first response you can get to the question will either be a straight yes or no, followed by a detailed explanation that shows you why they said what they said. If the answer is yes, you can expect praise. If the answer is no, you should expect recommendations on areas for improvement.
How do you measure my progress?
Apart from your defined KPIs, this question helps you better understand other criteria your manager uses to evaluate your performance. Knowing the specific criteria, you can rely on them to personally assess your performance and improve yourself.
💡What to expect: The answers to this question could be your quality of deliverables, job knowledge, or feedback from other team members etc. This may include feedback reports, progress charts or personal notes. Remember to ask the standard for these criteria and how you can improve it.
What are the technical skills I should improve?
Asking this question lets your manager know that you are serious and eager to develop yourself. If you have a specific skill in mind, bring it up too. You can know if that skill is really necessary for your job.
💡What to expect: Honesty. Brutal honesty. This question not only encourages your manager to share the needed skills to excel at this job but also reveals if you have a future in the company. If your manager thinks you have a future within the company and stand a chance to advance, they will provide you with certain resources to facilitate your growth.
How can I improve [specific technical skill]?
This a follow-up question for question number 4. If you're smart, then you'll use this opportunity to collect as much feedback and advice from your manager as possible.
💡What to expect: Valuable tips from your managers. Make sure to note down the key takeaways and keep asking follow-up questions to get the most out of your manager's experience.
What are the opportunities available for my professional development?
This question is crucial because it helps you understand the company's stance on employees' growth. If you want to learn an online course or earn a certificate, this is a good opportunity to mention. Prepare a pitch to show that the course is beneficial for you and the company.
💡What to expect: Your manager should enlighten you about the available training and coaching programs and explain to you how you can take part in such opportunities. They'd recommend you for the ones they feel would be most beneficial to your professional development.
Can we talk about my compensation/raise?
Performance reviews are also an excellent time to demand for compensation and pay rise. If you have done an outstanding job over the past period then this question is a must-ask.
💡What to expect: Most raises and promotions are planned in advance so don’t expect to get a raise instantly. Your manager may either consider your concern or plot a timeline for your next raise. If they feel you're not yet deserving of a raise or compensation, they should tell you a track of success that you need to prove.
What's our company's biggest challenge presently?
This question shows you care about the company and you want to contribute to the company's growth. It also provides more insight into the future plans of the company and the latest trends in the industry.
💡What to expect: Your manager should share with you the company's greatest challenge and discuss the plans they have to solve the problem and how you can fit in to help the company overcome its current challenges.
What areas am I spending too much of my time on and what areas should I focus more time on?
By asking this question, you're inviting your manager to help you set your priorities straight.
💡What to expect: Your manager should help you sort out your tasks by level of importance and assign to each task how long you should spend on it to achieve optimal results. Regarding what you should focus more time on, your manager should respond by explaining their expectations, the company's mission and your objectives. They should let you know about the several areas you need to notice and spend more time on to be more productive.
How can I make your job easier?
With this question, you can build a better relationship between you and your manager. Most managers are usually busy and so by asking this question, you're looking for ways to ease their burden and make work easier for them.
💡What to expect: Relief and appreciation from your manager. Your manager should review the tasks you can help them with and delegate them to you. They can also use it as a means to prepare you for a higher position.
What can I do to support my team members better?
Collaboration with others is the key to company success. Sometimes you can be unsure of what to do next when working with others. By asking this question, your manager can assist you with tips on how to collaborate/support your team members better.
💡What to expect: A few tips to help you with your team members. Your manager should take your technical skills and strengths into consideration when suggesting ways you can support your team members better.
Ask the burning question you have always wondered
Whether you’re curious about the company process to handle a product input or a workplace rumour, don't be afraid to ask. However, watch your time and ensure to address all the important questions beforehand.
A performance review is not just to evaluate performance. It is to have valuable developmental conversations between the employees and their managers and that can't be achieved without asking the right questions.
Ahead of your next performance review, here are 10+ best self-evaluation examples for performance review for you to stay on top of the game.