Appraisal Interviews: What To Say & How To Say It
By Andrew E. Schwartz

Summary: Some sound advice on how to conduct an effective performance appraisal interview. Focuses on what to say and how to say it.


Dont say: You just dont seem to care about doing a good job. You seem to be more interested in scoring points against Charlie than in working with him. Youre too defensive. Do: Stick to behavior. say, Heres what I saw, or, Heres what I heard you say.

Here is some advice for supervisors that will contribute to a successful appraisal interview.

1. Stick to goals. Measure performance against previously discussed and agreed upon goals.
2. Do not discuss rewards. Make a statement at the beginning such as, While this appraisal may be the basis for a raise, we are getting together today to review performance past and present and then discuss an improvement plan. Information about raises and promotions will need to come at a future time. We can set up a date to discuss them at the end of this meeting.
3. Consistently ask for the employees view throughout the discussion. By asking for the employees view, the supervisor establishes the two-way nature of the performance appraisal process. The supervisor learns how the employee feels about the work environment. This will very often provide important insights into the employees job performance quality.

Here is some advice for supervisors that will contribute to a successful appraisal interview.

1. Listen to employee. The successful evaluation is a dialogue. The supervisor must be prepared to listen to the employee, just as the supervisor expects the employee to listen. After all, the employee has a very important stake in the evaluation. Also, the employee usually wants the evaluation to be a success: that is, with the result that the employee will be more effective on the job. 2. Accept employees feelings. The employee may show signs of stress, anger, or disagreement. Accept them. Thats not the same thing as agreeing or believing the feelings are justified. Accepting feelings (I acknowledge that you feel that way) and proceeding with the meeting allows you to avoid getting into a debate as to whether the reactions are genuine or justified. Move on.

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