For any interview or meeting you have, remind of the other people point of view. In this situation:
- she doesn't know you either, but (should) cares about how you feel on your project and how satisfied the customer is with your work
- salary raise may be part of a template. If not, ask her when this talk takes place in your company (may be on annual review individually, or end of year for a global company raise planned on january)
- bonus give yourself the opportunity to be the top consultant of your company sent to this customer, offering your help identifying prospect, future opportunities etc...
Please let me answer this question with what your manager wants. I used to be in her role a few years ago (or at least working as manager for an outsourcing company,so close to her role).
How do I approach this yearly review knowing that my manager has a severely limited understanding of what I'm doing?
It doesn't matter your manager has no idea what you are doing. Indeed, she is not in charge of your planning for example. What she wants to know is
- how happy is the customer with your work
- how happy are you in this position
I'm assuming that I'll have to explain to her the nature of my job in order to talk about my achievements for the past year. How detailed should be my description?
Not necessarily very detailed. Of course she has to care on what is your job on a large scale and how you improved during the past year, but please remind she may not have a technical background. Going deeper and deeper into such details is, in my opinion, useless and time-wasting. Does you company set meetings with the customer and your manager? These meetings may be the good place for talking about project progress, future of the mission and so on. I used to ask for such meetings with my customers three times a year. Doing so, I got material for annual reviews.
When do I ask for a raise? At the beginning, middle, end of the review?
If you ask this question, I assume this is the first time you are going through a yearly review with this company. Don't worry too much about, she will probably come with some template to fill, and will talk about (at least) the following points:
- how went the past year
- how you coped to this specific customer/project
- what you are expecting for the year to come (from both customer and employer sides)
She will introduce the agenda at the beginning of the review, and if you think an important point (like salary) is missing to her agenda, please tell her. There is nothing worse for an annual review than ending it without all matters adressed. Specifying to her at the beginning that you want to talk about your salary will avoid her to escape the discussion at the end ("I am sorry but time is running out, may we discuss this point later?").
How do I bring to her attention that she advertised the position incorrectly? Not to indicate that I'm mad bout it, but rather that I adapted to the conditions.
Your manager wants to know how her customer works, in order to be more precise with the next people she will send. Put it in a constructive way. You said she doesn't know you? Fine, let her remind of yourself as the guy whom gave her some much useful information about customer organization, tools used, and so on. You may insist on how well you adapted, but you will get some "good job!" answer, not a 15% raise. If you want a significative raise from an outsourcing company, you have to become more than just the guy working for BigCorp Inc. Offer assistance on identifying future prospects, selecting future coworkers from what she finds because you know the team (and team leader) better than her, etc. As @gazzz0x2z said in his comment, this is a huge bonus for you to come in a review with some info like "they mentionned project %%%%% that will require 5 people with £££££ skill, starting end of october...". Doing so, you are overperforming from your company point-of-view, and this deserves a raise or at least a cash bonus for any signed contract you helped on. It is usual in Europe to have a bonus scheme in place for such action, like co-opting future employees or giving in-site valuable business intelligence.
Hope this helps, and I wish you good luck with this annual review.