I've read through a handful of answers about performance reviews (expectations about salary increases as well as actual feedback), but I'm curious how I should approach one as an employee (rather than a manager).

Some Background:

I've been working at my current position (programmer) for a little over a year full time, and also have worked part time as well. Being my first job out of school I'm not sure what the purpose of a performance review is (unless you've been doing poorly?)

  • Aside from re-hashing what I've accomplished in the past year - how can I make the meeting constructive (With good take-aways)?
  • My company doesn't currently conduct annual reviews, so I had asked my manager about it, so the review is coming up I suppose - is this bad practice to ask for a review? (I do not want to come off as "needy" or a person who seeks praise or anything like that)

All in all I just want to have feedback as I am still a "junior", but I have done a lot thus far, and learned more than I would have expected.

  • Raises vary greatly between countries, companies and your performance - anywhere between 0 and let's say 20% (could be more, but even 20% would be rare). The answer to your last question is "not really" - it shows you want to improve yourself. These 3 questions seems fairly distinct and I might recommend splitting them into 3 different posts (or drop the first one), so the answers can really focus on one specific issue instead of being all over the place. Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 4:21
  • @Dukeling Thank you for the feedback - I have removed the first question - I wasn't sure if it was acceptable to post three questions in a short period of time or not. Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 4:25

2 Answers 2


Performance reviews are a tool that is used by management to track an employees performance.

Usually in a performance review, the employer will set an expectation of what your job description and ask to complete all of your duties during the review period at my shop the only possible outcome are:

  • Does not meet
  • Mostly meets
  • Meets
  • Meets +
  • Exceeds

What you get depends greatly on how did VS what the expectation was. Most people receive a "meets expectations".

performance reviews (if not to negotiation wage) serve 2 puposes, help people get promotions (by consistently exceeding the expectations of management) and helping management document issues. If someone is getting "does not meet" on a performance review they can be sacked or put on what is called an action plan. The action plan contains steps to help the employee perform up to the expected level.

I don't think there is anything wrong with asking for at a minimum an annual performance review. At the very least, it should assure that you are meeting expectation. As an employee, you have a right to know how you are performing.

  • What if the initial expectations aren't clearly defined, but the jobs/tasks you are given are completed? For example - I've never had a 6 month goal or anything like that. Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 14:36
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    I would say you are probably ok, but that is the purpose of the review is to set an expectation for the next review period. If your supervisor and manager don't have any complaints, things are probably fine. Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 14:37

If your company doesn't do reviews formally, don't ask for a formal review. Instead have a conversation with your boss in a private meeting where you ask him specifically what you can do to get to the next level and present your case, based on your achievements (many of which he may not actually be aware of), if you might want a raise. Ask him if there are any places where you need to improve. No need to be formal, it is your boss's job to discuss your performance with you whether they do a formal review or not.

Personally I talk to my boss all the time about performance and priorities, etc, so there is no surprises for me when formal reviews come around. Remember performance rewards are dependent on what people perceive about your performance not necessarily what you think about it. You can't focus on what you need until you know how you are perceived. If things start to take a negative turn (which happens eventually to everyone) it is far better for your reputation to be perceived as noticing and fixing it before it gets worse than to tootle along happily until an annual review when you get socked with a problem you didn't even know you had. In fact when you are having an issue or going to miss a deadline, etc. talking to your boss immediately is usually the best thing you can do because I assure you that he is going to be even more unhappy to hear about it after it is no longer fixable or to hear bad news about you from someone else.

If you talk informally about performance regularly, you can make sure to never have a bad appraisal. If there is a problem, the formal review is too late to address it. Informal discussions mean you have a chance to address problems before a review or before they choose to let you go. If you want a reward, it is often best to get it while a large achievement is fresh in everyone's mind. If you want a promotion, then you ask what specific things you need to do to show you are ready and you ask to be assigned to the tasks that will get you that experience. I remember being quite surprised when I was young that what my boss thought I needed to have to be promoted did not agree at all with what I thought I needed.

  • Wow thanks for the great response - A few things (some that probably differ from organization to organization). Is there normally a step to be promoted to from a more junior (or I suppose newer person) to a mid level to senior? Yeah I'm in constant contact with my boss as well which is helpful for me. Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 18:56
  • What might be needed to get promoted to mid level or senior will differ in each organization, that is why you need to talk to your boss about what you need and set up a plan to get what you need.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 21:35
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    A better question would be does there exist a position between jr and sr developers, or is it just a state of limbo where your salary sits? Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 5:03

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