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How to answer question on Performance Review


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#1 Bone Apple Tea

Posted 17 February 2017 - 08:48 PM

I have a performance review at work next week and need help answering a questions in a section relating to career aspirations.

As a bit of a background, I work for a very small NFP in a professional role with no latitude for promotion and if I want a promotion I would have to leave.  Mid last year, they adopted a new formal performance review process which entails having quarterly performance reviews.  

At the last review, my boss advised the career aspirations section was optional.  However they have now done a backflip and all questions must be answered.  Very thoroughly.  No exceptions.

Anyway, the questions are along the lines of where do you want to be in 1-2 years, 3-5 years, 5-10 years, and how can the organisation support to you to best achieve your goals.  

I am stumped about what to write.  Reality is that I have been looking for jobs elsewhere and applied for a couple (unsuccessfully) last year.  If I was brutally honest in answering the questions on the review, I would say I wanted to leave and want to have a job at x level in a large state gov dept in 1-2 years, y level in 3-5 years and z level in 5-10 years and the organisation could help me by sending me on a few courses that I can add to my resume.

I'm not going to write that down, but am stumped as to what would constitute an acceptable answer.  

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Edited by Bone Apple Tea, 17 February 2017 - 08:49 PM.


#2 DM. 2012

Posted 17 February 2017 - 09:14 PM

I HATE performance reviews, they are so painful.  I've never had this question on a review but you could answer along the lines of looking for ways to improve processes, customer satisfaction etc.



#3 Bone Apple Tea

Posted 17 February 2017 - 09:20 PM

View PostDM. 2012, on 17 February 2017 - 09:14 PM, said:

I HATE performance reviews, they are so painful.  I've never had this question on a review but you could answer along the lines of looking for ways to improve processes, customer satisfaction etc.

There are other questions on improving processes and demonstrating innovation that I was able to answer.

#4 Mands09

Posted 17 February 2017 - 09:23 PM

I frame it as 'I want to have developed skills in x,y,z areas to develop my role with a view to x in 5-10 years. I.e I want to develop leadership and management skills so that I can manage a team of staff in 5 years

#5 gemgirl

Posted 17 February 2017 - 09:27 PM

I would write something like:

I am seeking to advance my career

or

I am seeking to develop my skills or whatever

I wouldn't mention (verbally or in writing) that you're planning to leave. That said, be prepared for them to probe how they can assist you to advance your career, which you may not welcome

#6 jayskette

Posted 17 February 2017 - 11:42 PM

word it so it sounds like another reason why you should be kept at this job. these questions are about the employer and not you.

#7 Bone Apple Tea

Posted 18 February 2017 - 12:05 AM

View Postjayskette, on 17 February 2017 - 11:42 PM, said:

word it so it sounds like another reason why you should be kept at this job. these questions are about the employer and not you.

What do you mean?

#8 jayskette

Posted 18 February 2017 - 12:10 AM

it is just like the question 'what is your weakness' at job interviews. you never actually should disclose your weaknesses. instead you reword a strength.

#9 FatherofFour

Posted 18 February 2017 - 01:41 AM

So you are looking and applying for jobs elsewhere, but are worried about how you answer a performance review question that is looking ahead up to 10 years?

Ok, here is some free advice.

Make.up.something.

Put down that you want to be CEO in 10 yrs, hell, say 5 yrs.

Who cares !? tell them what you think they want to hear and move on.

#10 CCABW

Posted 18 February 2017 - 07:13 AM

 FatherofFour, on 18 February 2017 - 01:41 AM, said:

So you are looking and applying for jobs elsewhere, but are worried about how you answer a performance review question that is looking ahead up to 10 years?

Ok, here is some free advice.

Make.up.something.

Put down that you want to be CEO in 10 yrs, hell, say 5 yrs.

Who cares !? tell them what you think they want to hear and move on.

What helpful advice.

#11 AlmondButter

Posted 18 February 2017 - 07:28 AM

For the short & medium term could you just talk about training you'd like to do or goals specific to your role? Then keep it super vague for the long term stuff? Say something like continue to develop my technical & soft skills and refer to any qualifications, if any, you'd be interested in undertaking?

#12 JBH

Posted 18 February 2017 - 08:13 AM

Talk in terms of the skills you want to develop and how you want to implement them, but don't comment on whether there is scope to do that at your current workplace.

For example

My goal over the next 1-2 years is to develop technical skill x and improve my knowledge about y to position myself as a go to expert in the field.  I also aspire to build on my current project management and leadership skills so that within 3-5 years I am in a position to manage a team to effectively meet the organisation's goals.  My long term goal is to drive and develop policy and its roll out throughout the organisation in order to fulfil its charter in a way that benefits the community, the organisation and the individuals within it.

#13 Brutta Borgia

Posted 18 February 2017 - 08:15 AM

Ugh - I hate performance reviews - IMO they are just so the human resources department can justify their own existence.

Anyway - we have to do them - I'm in a flat management structure too. I just said I am looking to consolidate my knowledge base in my core areas of practice for the short to medium term, am interested in any additional challenges such as management courses and opportunity to supervise junior staff or act in in more senior roles should the opportunity arise (someone taking LSL for example) - and yeh - then go back to your computer and get on seek.com!


Good luck.

#14 LambChop

Posted 18 February 2017 - 08:28 AM

Agree with those who said focus on personal development items, like

* develop more senior leadership skills
* expand my knowledge of xyz, because a senior specialist in Y field
* publish a paper due to my awesome knowledge
* improve my knowledge of marketing so I can better integrate strategies in my business plans etc

#15 Weirdly Sane

Posted 18 February 2017 - 08:28 AM

View PostBrutta Borgia, on 18 February 2017 - 08:15 AM, said:

Ugh - I hate performance reviews - IMO they are just so the human resources department can justify their own existence.

Good luck.

see this saddens me.  So many organisations don't do them well, and so many managers and staff hate them.
But please don't turn it on the HR department.  Perhaps yours is like that, but not all.

A good performance review really is a chance to step back and reflect, and both sides genuinely get something out of it - some sense of what can be improved, and what value they bring to the organisation.   Which of course is feedback that shouldn't be saved for an annual review.

But it speaks volumes about so many workplaces that employees don't feel that they can speak openly with their managers about performance questions and give feedback in both directions.

#16 Brutta Borgia

Posted 18 February 2017 - 08:31 AM

There's just a real disconnect between what their stated aim is, and the reality of what they achieve, IMO. but it probably is an individual experience - our workplace doesn't do them well. The format is all wrong.


#17 Illiterati

Posted 18 February 2017 - 08:38 AM

I am in the make something up camp and you can then keep writing that exact thing for every review as long as you are there.

I doubt your managers will ever go back to 2 years ago to check and discuss if you are making progress toward you personal career aspirations...

#18 MarigoldMadge

Posted 18 February 2017 - 09:53 AM

One of the reasons I'm refusing to go permanent at my site, where I've been contracting for 4 years - no performance appraisals!

Haven't done one for 12 years, and watching all my colleagues around me agonize over these questions.... no thanks!

That 5 year question is so irksome - a lot of my colleagues are in their late 50's and a lot just want to say, in 5 years time, I want to be doing exactly what I'm doing right now, but they feel obligated to make up career goals. Really, all they want is to just come to work and do exactly what they are doing today until they retire.

I'm with FatherofFour - just make something up, that sounds appropriately ambitious and future orientated.

#19 Starletta

Posted 18 February 2017 - 10:02 AM

I got this question at every performance review. And every year my answer was the same:

"Whilst I would love to have opportunities for advancement, unfortunately the firm doesn't seem to be offering much for people in my position to progress at the moment.

I'd like to see more mentoring, opportunities for training and development and clear pathways for progression to be inplemented for this role"

Turns it around on them whilst making you look like you actually care about promotion.

#20 Brutta Borgia

Posted 18 February 2017 - 10:04 AM

Yeh that's the thing MM - where do I want to be in 5 years time? I can't really say to my team leader "where you are " - ie, I want your job.

And any way - I'm not sure I do. I like my profession but I'm not sure I particularly want to manage people in addition to it. My profession has a compulsory knowledge development requirement - I have to do so many points a year of professional courses in order to keep my practising certificate current. So we are continually adding to our core of substantive knowledge all the time and hopefully improving as a result of that.

And my work is results driven - if I kept giving dodgy advice we'd know about it. My team leaders have an open door policy - if I am unhappy with an aspect of my employment, or they are unhappy with my performance - it gets dealt with there and then. Performance appraisals just seem to be a layer of unnecessary paper work.


#21 Mozzie1

Posted 18 February 2017 - 10:14 AM

View Postjayskette, on 18 February 2017 - 12:10 AM, said:

it is just like the question 'what is your weakness' at job interviews. you never actually should disclose your weaknesses. instead you reword a strength.

I always rate people negatively in an interview if they answer that question with a strength. The question is designed to show self awareness.

Either answer with a weakness you are working to overcome, or a weakness that isn't an issue for the role (eg. I struggle with repetitive tasks when it's a senior leadership role, or I'm quite risk averse so I need to push myself to take risks).

#22 Weirdly Sane

Posted 18 February 2017 - 12:15 PM

View PostBrutta Borgia, on 18 February 2017 - 10:04 AM, said:

Yeh that's the thing MM - where do I want to be in 5 years time? I can't really say to my team leader "where you are " - ie, I want your job.

If you were working for me I would definitely want you to say that.

Yes you can say that.  With a smile, and then qualify it by explaining that you want the skills to be a serious contender were the boss to leave.

ETA I'm not just saying this, I've done it

Edited by Weirdly Sane, 18 February 2017 - 12:15 PM.





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