While performance reviews can be nerve-racking, they don’t have to be. Performance reviews give you that much needed alone time with your supervisor for self-improvement. Plus, they provide you with the opportunity for a pay raise.
Reviews can be beneficial, they can also take a wrong turn if you say the wrong thing. You want to leave the review feeling positive about your future with the company. In order to help you feel like a sparkling employee leaving your meeting, we’ve outlined several phrases you should avoid using to make a good impression.
1. “That’s not part of my job description.”
Every employee should be going above and beyond what is actually in her job description. They say you are given the additional work before you’re actually given the promotion, because your boss needs to see that you will take on any necessary task or responsibility for the good of the company. She needs to be able to rely on you to sometimes help out even if what you are doing isn’t specified in your contract. That's the sign of good leadership.
2. "I should be making more money."
Don’t get us wrong — performance reviews are the time to bring up a potential raise. But you need to prove to your boss that you deserve a raise before you start asking for more money. Make your case: outline the extra work you’ve picked up or the projects you’re heading compared to the year before. If you’ve done something to save the company money, show her. If you’ve done something to help the company to grow, mention it. Only after you’ve outlined exactly why you deserve a pay raise can you ask for one.
3. "I'm going to leave the company unless..."
Absolutely never give your boss an ultimatum. Regardless of how valuable you may be, there's always a line of people out the door eager to replace you. Rather than taking a more aggressive approach, just be upfront with your boss about the challenges you may be facing at your company. Offer a solution and explain how that solution will benefit youself and the company.
4. "Well, so-and-so does this…"
Never mention other colleagues during your performance review. You want this time to be about you and only you (it’s OK to be selfish sometimes). And you don’t want your boss to think you’re A) petty or B) not a team player. Never blame mistakes on other people, either. If an incident did occur where you are being blamed for an issue you did not cause, that should have been settled outside of your performance review. Dedicate this time to discussing your own performance and making a case for your raise!
5. “It was a team effort.”
Again, focus on yourself. While you don’t want to come off as arrogant (and you shouldn’t intentionally take credit for a project that you worked on with others!), if your boss compliments you for your work, don’t deflect this praise onto other employees. Again, you want to make your case for your value at the company. Simply thank her for noticing your hard work, and if you truly feel uncomfortable accepting accomplishments, you can end it there.
While you can assume your boss will lead this meeting, you should always prepare a few things to say yourself. Whether that’s a few questions about your duties, a conversation about your future at the company, a case for a raise, or anything else that may be relevant. Staying silent during your review can give your boss the false impression that you don’t care about the review, what she has to say, or the company. Let her know you are engaged during the review and tell her you are excited about the next year with your company.