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How to prepare for an appraisal at work

candidate , employment , blog , workplace , Appraisal
How to prepare for an appraisal at work

If the thought of a work appraisal makes you worry then you probably aren’t doing them right! Depending on the size of your company will depend on the number of appraisals you will be going to get a year but typically you will have at least one. Appraisals usually have a set format or form that must be filled in during the meeting to guide the discussion. 

The main purpose of an appraisal is to review your progress, achievements, and goals. The information gathered will help you and your manager to decide development opportunities to help you improve.

Although you will be told what you need to bring to an appraisal, there are a few things you can do to prepare:

  • Write out your achievements. It can help you to keep them fresh in your mind so that you feel comfortable discussing them and don’t have to come up with something on the spot.

  • Think about something that challenged you that you would like to do better next time. An appraisal is a great opportunity for self-reflection and evaluation.

  • Get details. Though your manager will have time to prepare they may have more than one appraisal to do. You can bring along evidence of work that you did particularly well to discuss.

  • Pick 3 career goals. Decide a few goals that you want to achieve to discuss. These could be a project you want to complete, course you want to take, skill you want to learn or even new responsibilities you would like to take on.

What do you want to get from the meeting? Prepare questions that cover these things to make sure that you get what you need. Some good questions to ask would be:

  • How can I progress for next time?

  • Is there any training I can take that will help me move forward?

  • Are there any additional responsibilities I can take?

  • What weaknesses do I have that you would most like me to work on?

With this all in mind, our top tips for an appraisal are:

Be upbeat

Try to focus on the positives, even when discussing weaknesses. Weaknesses are an opportunity to grow so when you mention them, it is worth also saying how you plan to avoid or overcome them in the future.


If you’re feeling nervous then practise answers. You can ask for a copy of the form or questions they will be asking beforehand so that you can think about the answers ahead of time.

Be realistic

Try to set realistic plans and goals. It can help to come up with both short term and long term ideas to give you things to constantly aim for.

If you’re looking for a new job then get in touch with your local branch of Swanstaff today.