Performance interview

A performance interview is an interview that can take place annually between superior and employee. During this interview, the performance of the employee over the previous period is discussed. So the performance interview can also be called annual interview or result and development interview.

A performance interview is no assessment interview

In principle, an assessment interview is focused on performance in the past. There can be consequences connected to the result of the assessment, such as whether or not the employee is promoted, gets to a higher scale or gets dismissed. The assessment interview is also one-sided. The superior assesses the performance and the employee’s results with the help of the established standards or agreements. Read more about the assessment interviews here.

A performance interview is focused on increasing the quality of the work and optimising mutual collaboration. The interview takes place in open consultation and is two-sided, which means that the performance of the superior can also be discussed, in order to optimise mutual collaboration. In principle, performance interviews are constructive and focused on the future.

What is discussed?
During the interview, the following subjects will be discussed:

  • Setting goals
  • What is going well?
  • What can be improved?
  • How can improvements be executed?

Prepare well for the interview
A good preparation is half the work! So when your superior says he wants to have a performance interview, the VAWO recommends the following:

  • Make a good overview of all the results you have achieved with your work.
  • Describe the activities you took part in, and what exactly your part in this is or was.
  • Then name and qualify these according to the established standards and requirements or the agreements that were made. It is also practical to take a good look at the standards or the function requirements specifically for your job and the agreements that were made in the past, and maybe write these down.
  • If activities or aspects of your work are less successful, you should formulate the points you would like to improve.
  • Formulate your goals: where do you want to go with your work, what are ambitions or personal (learning) goals?
  • What wishes do you have regarding these goals (education wishes or career agreements)?
  • Then draft a schedule, so that you can discuss the different parts point by point in the performance interview.
  • It is wise to keep a record of all your work, activities and results in writing over the course of a year, so that you already have all the data close at hand. It’s also wise to mention this in the performance description or the performance profile, which your job is part of.

The report
A report should be made of every performance interview, including a summary of the outcome and the agreements that were made.

Agreements that are made have to meet the following requirements:

  • Specific: clear and unambiguous
  • Measurable: verifiable with the help of the established standards for the job
  • Acceptable: in mutual agreement and fitting within the already established standards for the job
  • Realistic: attainable, within reach and according to a realistic time schedule
  • Time-bound: reference dates agreed in writing.

(These are called SMART agreements, because of the first letters.)

Signing of the report
Both the superior and the employee sign the report. The report can be signed with a mention of “for approval” or “for read.

Only sign “for approval”, if you really approve of the report. Your employer cannot make you sign “for approval”. If you don’t agree with the report, you can ask the superior for amending proposals in the report. If your superior refuses, you can sign the report “for read” with reference to a separate letter, mentioning the parts you do not agree with. You should send this letter back to the superior, together with the report signed “for read”.

Schemes relating to performance
Most universities, university medical centres and research institutions offer information about performance interviews on their websites. In a lot of cases you can also find schemes there, explaining the procedure article by article. Sometimes you can download a form off the website, to record the subjects and results of the performance interview. Aside from your employer’s information, it is a good idea to also check independent sources (such as this VAWO website).

The VAWO recommends to take a good look at this scheme and the form beforehand.

Good luck with your interview!

Are you a VAWO member for over six months and do you have any questions about your legal position,
then contact VAWO.