I have mostly worked for startups/small comapnies or been left alone doing special projects 'off the org chart' in larger companies. Somehow none of my managers ever "got round to" doing any sort of review.

After 3 years at this company I suddenly have a performance review with the CEO.

I assumed I was doing OK here. The product I invented is just going out to customer demos, most of my patents got granted, and there are lots of improvements to be made. But now I have to list all the things I did and didn't do, invent some key performance indicators and show which I achieved.

So is a review always a signal to hit the job search again ?

  • related (possibly a duplicate): How to prepare for first performance review
    – gnat
    Nov 5, 2014 at 18:41
  • CEOs don't usually handle such reviews, so this makes it a little strange... Nov 5, 2014 at 21:18
  • @RaduMurzea - I don't really have a manager, I'm kind of "that guy" Nov 5, 2014 at 21:48
  • No. Other than that we can only speculate because we have even less information than you do.
    – user8036
    Nov 5, 2014 at 21:53
  • Has your company recently started a review program?
    – Blrfl
    Nov 6, 2014 at 14:22

5 Answers 5


So is a review always a signal to hit the job search again ?

Not at all. Many, many companies have a standard policy to do performance reviews on a regular basis. That can be a post-mortem on a project or simply periodically such as every 6 months or year.

  • 1
    Usually being somewhere for 3 years is an endorsement. Unless your CEO has talked to you about your performance you likely have nothing to worry about. Nov 5, 2014 at 21:46

There are many possible triggers for a performance review.

One set of triggers is process driven with no correlation to your performance. Your employer may have long intended to do regular performance reviews but never got round to it, or have recently read something that advocates the advantages of performance reviews.

Good performance might result in a performance review. A manager might be looking to build justification to get a pay rise for you into their next budget or a CEO might want to clear it with other board members. Setting out clearly what you've achieved helps them do this.

Minor niggles might spawn a performance review with the intention of pointing them out in a context where you can also be given praise and encouragement for all the things you're doing well.

It is also possible that the person calling the performance review is deeply unhappy with the performance in question.

Considering all these possibilities, the only thing that's clear is that it's hard to determine why a performance review has been scheduled until you have it, and it may not be apparent even then. I don't think there is any reason to be concerned in advance. Wait and see how it plays out.


Absolutely not. A performance review is just that, a review to determine how you are performing. Perhaps your "organization" actually got organized and figured out you haven't been reviewed in awhile and decided to change that.

I actually love performance reviews, because I learn what I need to work on, as well as can ask for a raise! I would be concerned if I wasn't getting reviewed, actually.

  • Just because the company has performance reviews, doesn't mean that it is organized :) I have had four annual performance reviews, where I was given pointers (unfortunately not always actionable ones!) on what to work on. Now, common logic would say that achieving them would be rewarded, but instead, I have just been given a new set of things to work on along with praise for achieving last year's targets. Unfortunately I am starting to dislike reviews that bear no meaning to anything visible to me. To me, it smells of disorganization - doing them "just because". Just a counterpoint comment :) Nov 6, 2014 at 9:02

A performance review could mean anything from "you're about to be fired" or "you're about to be promoted, or at least offered a payrise" to "your CEO has finally reached the letter P in their 'A to Z of how to be a CEO' book".

Without further context its impossible to say; performance reviews should be a normal part of feedback from your employer.

Unless there are particular reasons to think otherwise related to employment law in your country or something else equally intractable, I would suggest that an employer sociopathic enough to use performance reviews out of the blue just to fire people is sociopathic enough to just fire those people and save its managers the effort of doing a performance review first.

Are you the only person getting a performance review (note that simply being first isn't quite the same thing)? What makes you hear "performance review" and equate that to being fired in the first place? Is there some context for that you've not shared with us all?


Performance Reviews are OK and should be welcome.

Now if you go through this and they have issues with your work and throw you on a period of performance or some sort of "performance plan" then you can worry.

But for now - don't sweat it

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