Performance Appraisals - The Interview Process

Managers often delay completing performance appraisals. They can feel uncomfortable with the interview process and unsure of how to get their message across in a tactful way.

Here you will find practical steps to make these important interviews go smoothly - and result in fostering a positive attitude in the workplace.

Why conduct an Interview?

The interview involves a manager and an employee having an open discussion in a positive setting. It covers:

  • the employee's progress against goals set for the previous period
  • future goals and how they might be achieved
  • training and development needed to do the job
  • training and development needed to assist in possible career development moves
  • any other issues or concerns relating to the job

Above all, the key purpose of the meeting is to motivate the employee and build a good working relationship.

Interviews are typically held once every six months or once a year. They can last anything from 30 minutes to two hours or more depending on the nature of the job.

Too often, employees have told me "we only hear from our manager when things go wrong".

Regard the interview as a great opportunity to really listen to their concerns, encourage and support them AND give lots of positive feedback!

Before the Interview

  • Give the employee a self appraisal form to complete at least two weeks before the interview
  • Review performance evidence since the last appraisal. Get this from a variety of sources, such as feedback from teams which involved the employee
  • Review any learning and development activity that took place. Was it successful?
  • Choose a venue and timing to minimise interruptions
  • Set up the room to create a relaxed atmosphere - informal seating, refreshments etc.

During the Interview

  • Start by explaining the purpose/scope of the interview
  • Adopt open body language and a calm, positive tone of voice
  • Use open questions (tell me about etc.) and listen intently to encourage discussion
  • Explain the "big picture" and your vision for the future
  • Help the employee solve their own issues - resist the temptation to take them on yourself
  • Adjourn the interview if necessary to achieve what you want from the discussion
  • Review your document in conjunction with the self appraisal form and agree/sign off on the final version
  • Agree follow-up actions

After the Interview

  • Always complete promised actions
  • Store forms in a confidential location
  • Continue to give positive feedback and address areas for improvement as situations arise
  • Ask for feedback on your skills as an Appraiser - can you improve?

In most cases, employees will quickly pick up on the amount of time and effort you put into the appraisal process. It shows respect for the employee, which will most likely be appreciated - and will make your job easier!


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