Annual performance reviews are among the most stressful meetings you can have. Unless you are completely confident that you are a rock star in your boss’ eyes and have completely nailed every project you’ve taken on in the previous months, the prospect of hearing what you’ve done wrong or need to improve is more than little nerve-wracking. If you’ve already received a less-than-stellar appraisal, you probably already know what you need to work on, but if you want to shine in your next review, keep these common criticisms in mind.
Lack of Respect for Company Policy
You show up late and leave early. Your lunch hour regularly extends into two or three hours. You always look busy, but you’re on the phone with your bestie making dinner plans or chatting on Facebook with your hubby. You might think that no one is paying attention to what you’re doing (or not doing), but you would be wrong. All those times that you ducked out early for a salon appointment can come back to haunt you in your performance review, and keep you from earning that coveted raise or promotion. Even if you have a casual work environment, avoid taking advantage of your boss and show up on time, stay until the end of the day, and keep the social media and personal phone calls to a minimum.
Failing to Meet Goals
When you were hired, or had your last performance review, chances are your boss gave you a list of goals to work toward in the coming year. If you took that sheet and filed it away somewhere, and didn’t make any progress toward meeting those benchmarks, you can expect for that to come up in your review. There could be extenuating circumstances that prevented you from meeting the goals. But generally, if your boss asks you to do something and you want a positive review, you need to at least attempt to comply.
Poor Work Quality
If the world “deadline” is more of a suggestion than a requirement, and you fail to get anything done on time, don’t expect it to go unnoticed in your review. Your boss hired you because he believed you could do the job, and if you aren’t getting your work done on time and up to the standards he expects, you can kiss that big fat raise good-bye. It’s not just missed deadlines that will hurt your review, though. If you consistently make errors in your work, fail to meet company standards or otherwise do shoddy work, your boss may have no choice but to give you a bad review.
While the quality of your work is an important factor in your job performance review, how you go about doing that work also plays a role. Failing to participate in meetings -- or spending the hour checking your smartphone or doodling instead of paying attention -- and never going the extra mile by working overtime, volunteering for projects or demonstrating leadership can hurt you at review time. And if you did do those things but griped and complained about it the whole way, your boss most likely noticed and will mention it. Staying late every night isn’t guaranteed to land you the promotion, but showing a little extra effort and involvement at work can keep the negative reviews at bay.
An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer on topics including lifestyle, education, and business. She is the author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), and her work has appeared in Lewiston Auburn Magazine, Young Money, USA Today and a variety of online outlets. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.