How will you be evaluated? If you’re about to accept a new job offer and you can’t answer this question, you could be in trouble. Today, knowledge-based businesses are increasingly driven by performance metrics. Since those metrics will be one of the primary factors in determining your opportunities for advancements and pay increases, it’s important to know up front how your performance and your contributions to the organization will be evaluated – before you accept an offer. Here’s what you need to consider.
First, determine whether there are formalized evaluation policies in place at the corporate level. If so, ask what their performance criteria are and how often you will receive feedback. It can range anywhere from annually to weekly. Or, it may be on a project-by-project basis. Keep in mind that frequency can be key. The more frequent the feedback, the better your opportunity to shine and advance rapidly.
If there are no corporate performance review processes in place, you need to know how your immediate supervisor intends to handle evaluations. After all, your supervisor will be somewhat of a gatekeeper to your career path. Is there a structured process, or is it more of a case-by-case situation? More frequent and well-documented evaluations can help boost opportunities for recognition and increase your status and pay.
In either case, you’ll also want to have a thorough understanding of expectations. Ask what established competencies are used to measure success. These could include anything from hard skills related to your particular position to soft skills, like how well you work on a team or how you respond to stressful situations. Being proactive and understanding expectations up front will help you avoid surprises down the road and set you up for long-term success.
If there is no structured performance evaluation in place at any level, you should be prepared to take things into your own hands as soon as your first week. Meet with your boss to understand expectations and to help you set tangible goals for yourself. Explain that you’d like to meet again in three to six months to discuss your progress and get feedback. In the meantime, be sure to keep a running list of your projects and achievements that you can share. When it comes to being recognized for your work, initiating the evaluation and asking for regular feedback will help you stay on top of your success.