Last updated December 8, 2023

21 performance appraisal questions you can ask

Why Are Performance Appraisals So Important?

Performance appraisals hold significant importance for several reasons:

1. Employee Development and Feedback

They facilitate discussions about career development, training needs, and skill enhancement, fostering continuous learning and growth within the organization.

Furthermore, appraisals provide a structured way to offer feedback on an employee’s work, enabling them to understand strengths, areas needing improvement, and developmental opportunities.

2. Recognition and Motivation

Acknowledging achievements and contributions during performance reviews can boost employee morale and motivation, reinforcing positive behaviors.

3. Identifying High Performers

Appraisals help in recognizing high-performing employees for potential promotions, bonuses, or leadership opportunities.

4. Companies Goals and Employee Alignment

In addition to being for the benefit of the employee, it is important the employees’ goals also benefit the company. Appraisals can help in aligning the individual’s and company’s goals for the benefit of both.

5. Communication and Clarity

Regular evaluations encourage open communication between managers and employees, fostering a clearer understanding of expectations and performance standards.

6. Decision Making

They provide valuable data for making informed decisions regarding promotions, and transfers, and even identifying areas that might require additional resources or attention.

7. Legal and Documentation Purposes

Performance appraisals often serve as documentation for HR purposes, especially in situations related to promotions, terminations, or legal disputes.

7 Benefits of performance appraisals diagram

21 Performance Appraisal Questions

1. How do you think your job performance improved/declined in the past year?

This will give you an idea of how well the employee is doing and whether they have been actively working to improve their skills.

It also allows them to reflect on what areas need more attention, or which accomplishments should be highlighted during future appraisals.

2. What career goals do you have?

Employees should have a sense of direction and purpose, so it’s important to ask them about their long-term objectives.

By understanding what they hope to accomplish in the next year or two, you will be able to create a plan that helps them achieve those goals.

3. In handling stress or challenging situations, what approaches do you employ?

Assessing how individuals manage pressure is vital in various roles.

This query aims to unveil their strategies for handling tough projects and receiving feedback.

It also sheds light on their overall work attitude and resilience in demanding scenarios.

4. How do you prefer to get feedback?

Understanding the employee’s preferred method of communication is a great way to ensure that they receive feedback in the most effective manner possible in the future. As a manager, you can try to provide feedback in differing ways according to the employee you are managing.

For some of us, we are happy to be told in a very direct manner what we did wrong and the correct solution.

For others, more guidance, support, and a more subtle approach might be needed.

The giving and receiving feedback course materials can be especially useful for understanding feedback in the workplace.

5. Is there anything you would like to learn more about that we might be able to give you training on?

Understanding what areas the employee is interested in expanding upon can allow you to provide additional resources or training that could be beneficial for both them and your organization.

The training will need to align with the company’s own direction and budgets but asking this question can be insightful and provide useful feedback to you, the manager.

6. What challenges have you faced in this position?

This question can help you identify any potential issues or weaknesses that could be addressed to improve the employee’s performance.

It may also reveal areas where additional support or resources are necessary.

7. What skills do you feel confident in, and which ones do you maybe need help developing?

Asking this question will help you identify areas where improvement is necessary, as well as any strengths that could be utilized to the best of their ability.

This will also help you create a plan for helping the employee reach their goals and better themselves in the future.

8. How do you like to coordinate and collaborate with colleagues?

Teamwork is an important part of many positions, so understanding how the employee prefers to work with others can be beneficial.

This question can also reveal the kinds of dynamics and culture within the team that may need to be addressed to improve collaboration.

9. How do you handle criticism?

Being able to accept criticism is essential for growth and development.

Asking this question will help you determine whether or not the employee takes constructive feedback well and uses it as a tool for improvement.

It can also provide insight into their overall attitude towards work.

10. What would you like to accomplish in your next performance appraisal?

Knowing what goals the employee has set for themselves helps both parties understand what areas need improvement or should be given more focus.

This will also aid you, as a manager, in creating an action plan for the employee, to help them achieve these objectives.

11. What can I do to better support you in achieving your career goals?

This question emphasizes the importance of supporting employees and encourages a sense of collaboration between employer and employee.

Identifying what areas need extra work or resources allows for a more efficient use of time and effort, ultimately leading to increased productivity and job satisfaction.

12. What other feedback or information you’d like to provide regarding your performance review?

This open-ended question allows employees to share any additional thoughts, concerns, or details that might not have been covered earlier.

It ensures a comprehensive discussion, capturing all pertinent information.

13. Is there anything specific you’d like to ask or discuss concerning your performance review?

This question allows the employee to voice any concerns or queries that they may have, which can help create a more transparent and honest environment.

It also shows that the employer values their opinions and wants them to be actively involved in the process.

14. What do you think are your biggest strengths?

Evaluating an employee’s self-awareness is important when assessing performance since it gives insight into how much they understand their own capabilities and potential areas of improvement.

Asking this question can help identify whether or not they have realistic expectations of themselves as well as provide additional context on their goals.

15. What do you think are your biggest weaknesses?

This question serves a similar purpose as the previous one, but it focuses more on identifying any potential areas of improvement and ensuring that they are addressed to maximize efficiency and output.

16. Are there specific skills or knowledge areas you are eager to develop further?

Nurturing employee growth and learning is pivotal.

This question allows us to understand their interests, shaping plans for their professional development.

17. Is there anything you specifically would like additional training or support for?

Asking this question can help identify any areas where extra resources may be needed to help the employee reach their performance goals more effectively.

18. Are there any team dynamics that you feel could be improved?

Having a productive work environment is key to employee satisfaction and performance.

Asking this question allows the employer to identify any issues with team dynamics before they become too severe, while also allowing the employee to voice their opinion and be heard.

19. What kind of feedback do you think would be most helpful to your development?

Giving constructive feedback is crucial for improving overall performance levels.

This question helps employers understand what type of feedback would be most helpful to the employee in terms of their personal and professional development.

20. How can I better support you to improve your efficiency in your job role?

Acknowledging that sometimes employees may require more support, this question demonstrates a commitment to finding solutions and offering the necessary assistance.

21. Is there anything else you would like to add or discuss?

It is important to leave room at the end of an appraisal for any other topics that may have been missed or glossed over during the review process.

This gives both you and the employee a chance to ensure that you have covered all the points you wish to.

Training course materials
Dr Valeria Lo Iacono