When you go for your annual review with your supervisor, you will often be asked to provide him with your own self-assessment on your progress and performance. This can be nerve racking, particularly for those who struggle with self-reflection. Many people fear that if they are too positive about their work, they will come off as arrogant. On the flip side, many wonder if being too negative will draw attention to a problem that the boss otherwise wouldn’t notice.
The first step in thorough self-analysis is to understand that it should be written keeping your professional goals in mind. You and your boss should both be aligned on your goals for the future. Approach the process as a collaboration and not as an assignment.
When you begin to write your own self-analysis, you should focus on major events during your work year. If this isn’t your first review with this particular boss, then you have an excellent template for your next one. Focus on what you and your boss pinned down as goals for you. Your self-reflection should focus on how you’ve progressed.
If this is your first review, or if it is the first time that you’ve been asked to do self-analysis, then you have a bit more work ahead of you. One way that you can approach it is to think about how you started the review period and where you are with your skills now.
Contemplate some examples of what you might consider during a self-analysis. These are a good basis for a self-analysis assignment:
- During this review period, I set a goal for myself to understand XYZ system. I have made some progress in this goal in that I can now use the system without someone assisting me. I want to continue improving my speed and accuracy with this system.
- I wanted to improve my communication with co-workers and colleagues. According to client and co-worker feedback, I have drastically improved my communication skills, and people feel more secure about leaving me to work independently as a result. I strive to continue to make improvements to my interpersonal skills.
- Over this past review period, I feel like I have been more scattered and disorganized than I have been in the past. I am working with electronic reminders, keeping detailed written notes and focusing on personal habits to improve my organizational process.
This particular question is one that can make the interviewee's heart race. However, a good interviewer and a good employer won’t want you to give the “right” answer. Instead, they want you to give them the honest one. Before going to an interview or review, sit down and think for a few minutes about what you would like to improve. If you are unsure, you can ask your co-workers about what you can do to make yourself a better person with whom to work.
Regardless of your weakness, follow it up with what you do to combat that weakness. If your weakness is that you have a bad memory, you could then explain that you take detailed digital and written notes for future reference.
No self-analysis should be totally positive. Every employee has things on which she should work to improve job performance. Avoid saying things like “I care too much” or “I tend to work harder than I’m supposed to” since answers like that can make you seem out of touch or pompous. When in doubt, you can always ask your boss and co-workers for help pinpointing on what you need to focus. Always default to being open and honest when you work on your self-analysis, and it will get easier over time.