How to prepare for a successful performance interview:

• Prepare, prepare, prepare!
• Anticipate good and bad comments. Have non-defensive responses ready.
• Exhibit passion for your job and let your employer know your willingness to expand your role.
• Make creative suggestions for improvement before being told.
• Review steps to implement your plan!
• Practice your review with a trusted associate.
Prepare by:
1. Well rested and clear thinking
2. Good grooming matters!
3. Honestly assess your performance over the past year to anticipate areas of weakness and think through corrective ideas and plans
4. Be aware of successes from the past year and refer to them in your discussion and if possible, construct ways to build new projects, products, or programs that will expand the successes you had over the year.

Anticipate good and bad comments:
1. Attitude is one of the “make or break” personal “statements” that you are indirectly communicating about yourself in relation to your employer and the workplace.
2. Defensiveness can sink you!! When you are defensive, you often appear angry, as if you cannot accept criticism or suggestions for improvement, that you are highly reactive and overly emotional. Instead, take a breath and respond with poise, thoughtfulness and an open mind.
3. Take responsibility for mistakes you have made during the year, and speak directly and honestly about what you have learned from the experience/s.
4. Accept praise with confidence and appreciation – do not minimize or diminish your successes because you are afraid to appear too “full of yourself.”

Exhibit passion:
1. Your employer values your investment and involvement with the workplace most highly. Don’t go overboard – but genuinely refer to your commitment to the job (or the company) and include remarks about your admiration and pride at being a part of the mission and about the role you play in the company.
2. Share your thoughts about ways to further improve or build upon the work you do, in order to benefit the employer/workplace as well as adding more challenge for yourself.
3. Communicate your interest in remaining employed at the company for the long haul.
4. DO NOT comment on how or why you are a better employee than a co-worker. Gossiping about others in your performance review only communicates your pettiness and vindictive feelings.

Make creative suggestions:
1. While you do not want to come across as a know-it-all or as someone who believes they can do a better job than their employer, employers value those who think about new ways to improve and promote their product, advance the company and bring fresh, creative ideas to the workplace.
2. Offer ideas for correcting items that are well-known obstacles. Instead of complaining about how a business practice is unnecessary or burdensome, refer to the positive aspects of the task and suggest additional ways to achieve the same task that might be less obtrusive for others.
3. Enthusiastically, offer your time to help initiate or research ideas or suggestions you have made. Don’t just make the suggestion and walk away from it, leaving others to pick up and run with it.
4. Stress how your ideas are beneficial for the entire workplace, or a particular group of employees.

Implement your plan:
1. Begin to address some of the items that were discussed in the review pertaining to areas needing improvement by sharing ideas with your employer about reasonable corrective action steps you could initiate immediately, and then some longer-term goals pertaining to those same matters.
2. Before the conclusion of your interview, if you and your employer have agreed about some of your ideas for change and/or growth, begin strategizing by offering ideas about implementation. Appear genuinely interested in being a part of something new and advantageous for the company.
3. Offer to make yourself available for any/all steps in the implementation.

Practice:
1. It is always a good idea to practice, alone or with someone else, when you want to make sure to “hit all of your discussion points” and you want to appear confident and credible. Too often, people don’t take time to practice and in the review session, they find themselves tongue-tied or unhappy with their responses. Create a list of potential questions that you assume you might be asked to talk about and compose your answers thoughtfully on paper. Rehearse them out loud until you feel you can respond comfortably and remember the key points you want to convey.
2. If you know someone who is an employer who conducts performance reviews, ask them to run through a mock review with you. You may also want to ask a coworker or colleague to participate in a practice interview and you can do the same for them.
3. Plan to arrive on time, calculating how much time you need to arrive a few minutes early, plan what you will wear to the interview that conveys the image you want to show your employer, and make sure personal grooming is thorough and complete.

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