Your annual job evaluation presents an opportunity to review your past year's performance with your supervisor and set goals for the year ahead. If the results of your job evaluation meet or exceed the company's performance expectations, you might even earn a salary increase. A little anxiety is normal during a job evaluation, but don't let that prevent you from providing concrete, well-thought-out answers to your supervisor's questions.

Understanding the Job Evaluation Process

Many organizations include self-assessment as part of the performance appraisal system. This typically means that you will have a copy of an evaluation form or a specific format you need to rate your own performance. To prepare for the meeting with your supervisor, review the form and get comfortable with the format. Rate yourself as objectively as possible, but don't be reluctant to showcase accomplishments. Use the notes you make during the self-assessment process to help you form answers to your supervisor's questions. In addition to rating your performance on a numerical or alpha scale, briefly describe your achievements and the areas where you admit you may need some training or development.

Questions About Job Tasks

"Which of the five tasks on your job description would you prioritize as the top three?" Straightforward questions about job tasks are relatively easy to answer. For example, you could respond by first explaining how you prioritize your work and then discuss the three most important job functions. You might say:

The priority of my job tasks vary according to the business cycle. The first two weeks of the each month, I devote time to identifying potential new clients through my business development efforts. I review government solicitations and identify those for which we have sufficient time to develop a proposal and quote for services. On the 15th of each month, I review our subcontractors' work hours for the first half of the month; the end of each month is almost solely devoted to preparing month-end reports.I assemble subcontractors' hours and compare their work product to the project deliverables.

Questions About Career Development

"Where would you like to be in five years?" is typically a question that a hiring manager might ask during a job interview. Depending on how long you've been with your employer, your supervisor might want to know what your plans are for the next step in your career. This is an area you have likely given thought to, depending on your current position and available opportunities for an internal move or promotion. Whatever you do, don't answer with, "Well, that's something I haven't considered." If you really haven't given much thought to your future, tell your supervisor:

I'd like to excel in my current role; however, if there are opportunities for upward mobility, I am certainly open to exploring them.

Also, here is where you express your desire for training or development. If there's a skill you want to acquire or if you are interested in professional development or want a mentor, explain what you intend to gain from the experience. For example:

I am very happy in my current role and I enjoy working for ABC Company. I've given some thought to training courses that would improve my skills or help me develop leadership capabilities.

Questions About Leadership

Many supervisors and managers want to improve their own leadership capabilities, so one of the best ways to begin professional development is to ask for feedback. If your supervisor asks: "How do you rate ABC Company leadership? Are there areas where our leadership team could improve? What suggestions do you have?," this question is not opening the door for you to gripe about the company's leadership or its strategic direction. If you are unhappy with the leadership team, don't unload on your supervisor. Begin your response with a positive comment about leadership, such as:

I find ABC's leadership team to be very responsive to employees' day-to-day needs, especially where personnel and HR issues are concerned. Whenever I ask for a benefits form or need information from payroll, they provide me with exactly what I need in a short time.

If you're reluctant to be entirely candid, feel free to tell your supervisor that you would rather focus on your own performance and how you can improve.

Questions About Accomplishments

Show that you're proud of your accomplishments and discuss your achievements in a way that doesn't come off like bragging. If your supervisor asks what have been the high points of your past year with the company, talk about a couple of your achievements. For example:

At the risk of being immodest, I am particularly proud that I was part of the team that developed the proposal for the recent $1 billion contract that the government awarded to us in July.

Even though you're proud of individual achievements, if you work in a team-focused environment, always share the credit for accomplishments.