Dealing with performance reviews

#1 Demonstrate value in your write up

If there is a write up that you must complete beforehand, you should try to demonstrate tangible value to the company. For example “I finished this feature x and these defects x,y,z for this product”. HR cares a lot about quantifying your performance and showing value to the company when calculating employee bonuses and raises. Try to write around five of these for your self-assessment. The best ones to write about are projects that are visible to other members on your team (this helps in the teammate assessment).

#2 Choose wisely for the team assessment

When choosing a teammate to write your peer assessment, choose someone who both knows your work well and also has time to do your assessment. Sometimes senior engineers can have a lot of assessments to do in addition to their work. This can bog them down and they may end up not putting as much thought into them as you would hope. Try to find someone who both knows your work and has the time to do the assessment.

#3 Drive the conversation

Keep in mind that your manager might have a lot of these to do. So you must drive the conversation to get as much out of it as possible. For instance, if you feel like you should be working on more features for the product then you can say something like, “I demonstrated that I am competent in these areas, can I take on this new project?”. It’s always worth it to ask for things at work. In most companies today, you own your career development. Your manager will help you only if you ask.

#4 Let your manager finish before speaking

When your manager is giving you your feedback, do not argue or object. Let your manager finish before bringing up anything. You should listen with an open mind and come up with ways to move forward in your career. If your manager brings up a mistake from the past, for example, you could bring up that you are currently on an upward trajectory with your performance and you’re currently moving forward.

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