Why You Should Self-Evaluate During Your Performance Reviews?

Why You Should Self-Evaluate During Your Performance Reviews?

By Mark Swartz


Performance reviews can turn calm employees into nail-biters. So much rides on the results. As part of the process, you may be asked to assess your own effectiveness.

This self-evaluation component is like a quick job interview. Except instead of asking “why should we hire you?” your boss is pondering “why should we keep you on staff?”

You get to control what is written in this portion. Good thing, since it allows you to prove your worth, highlight hidden achievements, and show how you’ve been able to bounce back from mistakes.


Why Self-Evaluations Are Popular

In today’s workplace independence is increasingly promoted. Technology enables tasks to be done without the boss breathing over your shoulder. More decision making filters down to the employee level.

On the flipside, it means those in charge may be less aware of what you’re up to. And even if they do hover, there’s so much going on it’s impossible for them to recall all your contributions.

A self-evaluation component conveniently reminds the people in charge of what you’ve been up to all year.


See It as A Chance To Direct The Conversation

In a live performance review the evaluator normally takes the lead. They have a list of questions to ask. Also their perceptions may be somewhat pre-formed, and they could have an agenda to pursue or an axe to grind.

Your self-evaluation can help reshape this. You have an opportunity to frame the discussion before it gets started. Don't view the experience as management trying to play gotcha. Focus on positives and neutralize any potential negatives.

Begin By Conducting Your Own Personal Performance Review

If you want to prepare for a review thoroughly, there’s no harsher critic of your performance than yourself. Use that inner faultfinder to your advantage.


Take some time to put together a review of your year’s activities. Ask the following questions:

  • What were your top five accomplishments since your last formal review?
  • Do you have examples of having gone beyond what was expected of you?
  • Which mistake or lapse in judgment do you most regret?
  • Did you take steps to enhance your relevant skills or knowledge?
  • How did you add value to your employer?


Be ruthless in your appraisal. No one but you will see the answers. From these insights you will glean the basis of your self-evaluation.


Focus On Needs of Your Boss and Employer

Throughout the past year your job has had many facets. Much of the day-to-day work is necessary but unremarkable. Some of it stands out as exceptional.

How do you know which actions and achievements to include in your self-evaluation? By seeing things from your boss’s perspective. To them it doesn’t really matter much what you’ve accomplished unless it was directly relevant.

In essence, doing great things is nice, but doing good things that helped your boss achieve their objectives and improved the company’s performance is great.


Be Honest But Avoid Being Humble

A self-evaluation is not the time to be shy. It’s similar to your resume. Boasting – supported by facts – is encouraged. Holding back just makes your achievements less visible or impressive.

You may be asked to rate yourself on a scale in terms of certain performance measures. You might also have to describe specific accomplishments, including the effect they had. Then there’s the matter of explaining a mistake you’d made and how you learned from it.

Whatever you write should be true. If you’ve exceeded expectations, go ahead and rate yourself high. List the best of your achievements and play up the results. As long as you can back up what you say, bragging is acceptable.


Prime The Pump By Regularly Updating Your Boss

Want a way to avoid the immense pressure of once a year self-evaluations? Share your triumphs throughout the year. Keep those in charge updated on your contributions regularly.

This way you can avoid cramming everything into the formal review. Your boss will recall your achievements more readily. And you won’t have to spend money on expensive manicures to smooth your chewed nails.