Performance review – how to approach them

A performance review or appraisal happens in almost any job. For some people, the prospect of this is nerve racking and worry inducing. There’s no need to feel this way! A performance review is a chance for you and your manager/employers to chat about your performance, review your progress, give/receive feedback and set goals to succeed! If you’re wondering the best way to approach a performance review – check out our tips!

performance review

What is the performance review for?

Performance reviews come at different points in your career. You may be coming to the end of your probation period, newly qualified as a solicitor, or having a general annual review. Whatever point you’re at, there are some things to consider…

  • Probation period – This is a chance for you to reflect on how things are going in your new role, and identify your strengths and weaknesses.
  • NQ Solicitor – This is a chance for you to understand the expectations of your new role and set yourself up for a successful start in the next part of your career journey.
  • Annual review – This is a chance for you to review your progress, identify ways to improve working and diversify your skillset.

Get prepared

Taking time to prepare for your performance review will ease your worries. Acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses will help you to better understand where you’re at with your role. You’ll be able to easily discuss any issues, or promote your successes with your manager.

  • If this is your first appraisal, make a list of your early achievements and areas that you’re less confident in.
  • If you’ve had a previous performance review, reflect on your objectives and assess your development.
  • If you’re hoping to advance and secure a promotion, identify the ways in which you’ve demonstrated the skills or behaviours needed to take a step up.

What do you want?

Performance reviews are a great opportunity for you to have an open and honest conversation with your manager.

  • Would you like to ask for more responsibility?
  • Can your role, or the wider team improve ways of working?
  • Are there ways you’d like to be supported?
  • Would you like to diversify your skills?

Offering ideas and asking questions are integral to improvement – but ensure that you do this in the most productive way possible. Make actionable and reasonable suggestions for your manager to consider.

Mutual understanding

Setting goals and objectives with your manager is a vital part of your performance review. Objectives should be achievable but ambitious, aligning with your short, medium and long term career goals. Make sure that you fully grasp exactly what the expectations are. If objectives aren’t outlined, clarify with your manager what your priorities will be going forward, so that you’re clear about the direction that you’re heading in.


Afterwards, reflect on your performance review and outline a plan of action for how you’ll achieve your objectives. Touch base with your manager if you need and send them any follow up information.

Performance reviews are valuable – (yes, for your manager!) most importantly, for you. Take the opportunity to be open and honest, and ask for support if you need it.

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