5 Things to Consider Before Your Next Review

Insights from procurement recruiting expert Mark Holyoake

It’s interesting that when it comes to interviewing for a new job or having a performance review, almost everyone assumes the hot seat position. Meaning, that people enter these sessions with a unilateral mindset, in which the boss or person doing either the hiring or review is the only one who can ask questions.

The fact is that an interview, or more specifically, a review should be a two-way dialogue. There should be an open and productive exchange of information from both parties that leads to discovery and meaningful change.

To get the most from your review, here are the five things you need to consider beforehand.

Do I know how the review process works and what am I looking to accomplish?

It’s crucial to lay the groundwork for an open and honest discussion well before the meeting day.

  • Does my boss know that I expect this conversation to be a two-way street? Are our goals for the meeting both clear?
  • Have I documented my successes over the past year? Do I have a copy of my last review?
  • Are negative comments common as part of this company’s review process? I.e. are they merely a way to frame key areas of development or are they a cause for concern? What is my priority; simply getting a good review or actually learning what I’m doing well, where I can improve, and establishing future expectations/growth opportunities?

Before sitting down, make sure you know what you want and are anticipating the discussion around asking for it.

What is my current job satisfaction?

Before a review, the obvious question to ask yourself is: ‘Do I want to be here?’ If you find you aren’t willing to put the effort in to prepare for your review, there is probably a bigger issue at stake. Consider the following:

  • Am I challenged right now? Am I getting the support I need? Do I have the opportunity to learn and apply new skills? Is my company investing sufficiently in my professional development and training? e.g., further education and CPSM/SIG certification, conference fees, leadership training etc. The stats would suggest that most companies are not.  What exactly do I need, why, and how much is that going to cost? Be prepared!
  • Is my current company interested in, and investing in, the future of Procurement? Digital, AI, etc. What is likely to happen to my job in the face of these changes and emerging trends?  Conversely, what if the department is investing in absolutely nothing? How does my role change then?
  • Is my current company willing and able to recognize and reward me for exceeding expectations?

Am I expecting a raise?

Thinking about a salary bump and possibly not getting it creates apprehension come review time. Perhaps an increase isn’t justified. Maybe it is. Market research and an honest evaluation of your growth and skills are all necessary before proactively bringing up a raise.

  • If an increase is justified, do I have the information needed to back it up?
  • Do I understand the organization’s expectations regarding my performance? Am I hitting those targets?  Have my responsibilities been elevated, and have they increased in number over the past year?
  • Is the market paying more for my skills now versus a year ago? From where can I get information on current market pay scales? Have I been approached about a position elsewhere to compare? What did that pay? Have I spoken with a specialist Recruiter in my field about this or consulted The Procurement Foundry’s most recent salary survey?
  • When asked, have a number or range ready to go!

What is my current career path?

Part of assessing your current job satisfaction is looking to the future. Is it a reasonable goal to expect a promotion into a more senior role within 12-18 months? Assessing whether or not that role interests you is crucial. You should know what else is on offer, internally and externally.

In life, there are so many factors and variables, and plans change on a whim. However, at any given time, you should, at the very least, have an idea of where you want to be.

  • What procurement career track do I see for myself? Team Leader or Subject Matter Expert? Category specialist or generalist? Direct or Indirect?
  • Am I most interested in staying within Procurement or using this experience as a springboard to move into other parts of the business (e.g., SRM, Third-Party Risk, Supply Chain, Operations, Sales, Finance, etc.)?

It can be daunting, but it’s completely necessary to have a long, hard think about the possibilities before a review.

What if I don’t get what I want?

Sadly, you also have to consider the worst-case scenario. At a minimum, what are you willing to accept regarding a meeting outcome?

  • If things were to stay exactly the same, can I accept it and wait until things get better? Or, do I have a plan B at the ready?
  • Using a review as a reminder to maintain an up-to-date resume and professional network is a great practice. It keeps things current and ready to go in the event of a not-so-favorable outcome, and ensures that there are others looking out for your career also.

The above ‘checklist’ should serve as a guide to ensure that all the areas of importance for you, your boss, and the organization are in alignment. A person spends more time at work than anywhere else, so the experience should be fulfilling. It is only when said alignment exists that a mutually beneficial relationship can exist and continue to thrive.

Mark Holyoake is a recruiter, specializing in Procurement. For more with Mark Holyoake, head over to his LinkedIn, where you can connect with Mark and view more interview tips and career content.