Career Development

20 Performance Review Questions to Ask Your Manager

March 12, 2021

Key takeaways:

  • Asking specific questions about your performance and growth shows you’re dedicated to ongoing self-improvement.
  • Prepare thoughtful, relevant questions for your supervisor before your review.
  • Actively listen to their response and ask clarifying questions if needed.

Throughout your time at a company, it's important to get feedback from your manager to know how you are doing. Positive feedback can help you feel more motivated and constructive criticism can help you learn which areas to improve on. That's why most managers periodically hold performance reviews for their employees.

In this article, we share 20 questions you can ask your employer during your next performance review.

Related: Interview Questions to Ask Employers

What is a performance review?

A performance review is when an employee and their manager meet to discuss the employee's performance at work. During this meeting, the manager will share what they think are the employee's strengths, successes and areas for improvement. A performance review may also be a time when the manager offers the employee a promotion or raise. Toward the end of your performance review, your manager will give you a chance to ask them any questions you may have about your employment.

Related: How to Set and Achieve Goals

The importance of performance reviews

Performance reviews help employees stay motivated. Hearing positive feedback reinforces the hard work you are already doing. If your manager shares what you could improve on, this also gives you a chance to work toward a new goal. Performance reviews also give employees a sense of purpose. When you get to discuss your employment, you have time to reflect on your work and create meaningful goals.

Though a performance review doesn't necessarily mean you'll get a promotion or raise, it can give you a better idea of when these things will occur. During your review, your manager may share more insight into where the company is going or any upcoming changes in the company's structure. These things are indicators of whether you will move up in the company.

Questions for a performance review and example answers

There are many questions for a performance review that an employee can ask to learn how they are viewed at work. You can also ask questions to learn more about the future of your department or the entire company.

Here are 20 questions you can ask during your performance review:

  1. Is there room for growth within our department?
  2. What goals should I work toward?
  3. How can I help our team succeed?
  4. What would make me a candidate for a promotion?
  5. Am I meeting your expectations?
  6. How are you measuring my progress?
  7. What skills should I improve to grow in this company?
  8. Are there any opportunities for professional development?
  9. Can we discuss my compensation?
  10. What are my strengths?
  11. What are my weaknesses?
  12. How can I support my team better?
  13. What can I do to make your job easier?
  14. What changes do you foresee for the company?
  15. What is our company's greatest challenge right now?
  16. What goals are you working toward?
  17. How do you hope to grow with the company?
  18. What were your biggest successes this past year?
  19. What am I focusing too much of my time on?
  20. What could I focus more time on?

1. Is there room for growth within our department?

If you plan to stay with your company for a while, you should ensure that there is room for you to progress there. This question will give you insight into whether your manager has plans to grow your team or if they plan to downsize the department's tasks.

What to expect: Look for an honest, straightforward answer. Your manager should be able to tell you where they hope to see the department in the next year. The best-case scenario is that they foresee the department expanding, which could lead to promotions or raises for your team.

2. What goals should I work toward?

This question shows you care about your role and want to do your best at work. This question helps you tailor your goals to what your manager wants and helps you become a more valuable employee.

What to expect: Your manager should give you a few important goals to work toward. The goals should be specific to your role and department. If you are unsure how to work toward these goals, ask a follow-up question for them to clarify what steps to take.

3. How can I help our team succeed?

You are showing your manager you're a team player by asking this question. A quality employee wants the entire company to succeed, and this happens through collaboration and cooperation. Their answer will help you learn what contributions you can make to help your team achieve its goals.

What to expect: Your manager may share examples of what your coworkers are currently doing to help each other succeed. Use these examples to guide you in your own efforts. Your manager should also share specific things you can do to help. They should consider your position and skills when suggesting what you should do.

4. What would make me a candidate for a promotion?

If you want a promotion, this question helps you understand exactly what you should do to achieve this goal.

What to expect: A good answer includes things the manager wants to see you work toward. They may assign you more responsibilities to see if you have the capabilities for this position. Your manager may also explain the application process for a promotion within the company.

5. Am I meeting your expectations?

The purpose of a performance review is to get feedback on your efforts. When asking this question, be prepared for your manager to share what areas you could improve on. This will only help you become an even better employee.

What to expect: Your employer should give you a "yes" or "no" answer and then give a detailed explanation for their reasoning. If you are meeting their expectations, they should give you positive feedback. If you are not, they should explain what their expectations are and what you should focus on.

6. How are you measuring my progress?

This question helps you understand what metrics your manager is using to measure your progress. Going forward, you can rely on these metrics to determine your own progress.

What to expect: Your manager should have set criteria for employee progress. This may include progress reports, charts or graphs. If they do not have a set of metrics, they should work toward creating a system, so employees know if they are meeting expectations.

7. What skills should I improve to grow in this company?

If you are ready for a promotion opportunity, this question helps you determine which skills to work on to improve your chances.

What to expect: Your manager should indicate whether they think you have a future with the company. Then, they should share which specific skills to work on. A good manager will give you resources to help you with this.

8. Are there any opportunities for professional development?

Many companies offer continued education for their employees. Find out if your manager would be open to this by asking this question.

What to expect: If your company values employee improvement, your manager will encourage you to look for professional development opportunities. They may share different courses, training or seminars that the company offers.

9. Can we discuss my compensation?

If you feel like you are proving your value at work, it may be time to discuss your compensation. Your performance review is a smart time to do this.

What to expect: Your manager should either offer you a raise or give you a timeline for your next raise. They may also share ways you can prove to them that you deserve a raise.

10. What are my strengths?

Knowing your strengths helps you continue to work hard and feel motivated. It's a good feeling when your manager notices what you excel in.

What to expect: Your manager should share specific things you are doing well. They will share what things you do that help the team and make everyone's job easier.

11. What are my weaknesses?

This question may be challenging to ask, but it can help you become a better employee. Use their feedback to motivate yourself toward new goals.

What to expect: Most managers will be polite when telling you your weaknesses. They should offer realistic ways for you to improve and give you positive feedback to offset the criticism.

12. How can I support my team better?

There may be times at work when you are unsure of what task to do next. This question can help you get ideas for things you can do to help everyone in your free time.

What to expect: Look for an answer that explains what your coworkers may be struggling with. Your manager should think about your skills and then discuss how you can use your strengths to help others.

13. What can I do to make your job easier?

Managers are usually busy, so hearing this question will give them a sense of relief. Knowing that you care about their wellbeing may help them reciprocate the same for you.

What to expect: Your manager should think of tasks they do that you could take over. They should use this as an opportunity to train you in new areas of the company.

14. What changes do you foresee for the company?

This question helps you understand where the company is headed. It will help you determine if you want to stay there for a long time or start to look for something new.

What to expect: Things like new clients, company growth or pain points are things your manager may discuss. A good response will be one that is transparent and realistic.

15. What is our company's greatest challenge right now?

This question helps you think of ways you can help your employer succeed. It also tells you about the future of the company.

What to expect: Along with identifying the company's biggest challenges, your manager should share what the company is doing to address these issues. If they have a plan in order, you can feel more at ease about the fate of your company.

16. What goals are you working toward?

This question gives you better insight into the day-to-day of your manager.

What to expect: They will share their most important goals and how they plan to achieve them. A good answer will give you inspiration for achieving your own goals.

17. How do you hope to grow with the company?

This helps you learn if your manager plans to stay with the company for a while. This may help you plan your own career path based on their answer.

What to expect: Your manager may hint that they are looking for employment elsewhere. If so, they should have a plan for the rest of the team. If they are looking for a promotion, they may discuss how other employees can take over their role.

18. What were your biggest successes this past year?

Asking this question helps you determine what your manager considers success and how they work toward their goals.

What to expect: They should share what their successes are, how they achieved them and what challenges they had to overcome along the way.

19. What am I focusing too much of my time on?

This question helps you prioritize your tasks and redirect your focus on more important ones.

What to expect: They should share what tasks are the most important for you and which ones are not. They should also help you understand how long each task should take you to do.

20. What could I focus more time on?

Likewise, you may not be focusing enough time on more important tasks. This question gives your manager a chance to go over your responsibilities again.

What to expect: They will explain their expectations and the company's mission. Then, they may explain how you can put in more effort in certain areas of your job.

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