How to carry out a self-assessment

Posted by Fed Finance Suisse in Our employment advice
Posted at 19/02/2024
How to carry out a self-assessment
Refine your professional self-assessment with our practical advice. Discover how to analyze your year, highlight your successes, and plan your future development. Master this essential step to shape your career progression.

During your career, you will probably be invited to an annual performance review. In the run-up to this event, many managers encourage their teams to engage in the delicate exercise of self-assessment. This exercise can take the form of a sheet to fill in, or a self-assessment grid. This is no mere administrative formality, but rather an opportunity for employees to reflect on their achievements, skills, and objectives. Self-assessment is a good way of guiding the upcoming interview and enabling a constructive discussion on career progression. Get ready to find out how you can make the most of this important step in your professional development. 

Analyze the year in retrospect 

The first step is to carry out a thorough evaluation of your past year, often comparing it with the previous year. Review your previous annual review, where you may have drawn up an action plan with your manager to achieve your objectives. This is the time to look back at your own achievements and analyze them. 

Analyze your successes 

Carefully analyze your annual professional successes, identifying the highlights and victories that contributed to your goals. Explore projects in depth, detailing the context, challenges and strategies employed. Gather tangible evidence of your excellence, such as quantifiable targets, outstanding performance, and positive feedback. Link these successes to the objectives of your last annual appraisal to show consistency in your career path. Self- assessment goes beyond a simple list of achievements, demonstrating your added value to the organization and reinforcing your credibility within the team. 

Analyze your difficulties: decipher the lessons for the future

Immerse yourself in a rigorous analysis of the unreached objectives over the past year. This approach goes beyond simply identifying failures; it aims to reveal the lessons that each challenge can offer to fuel your professional progress.

Examine the reasons why these goals were not achieved and insightfully identify the specific obstacles that prevented them from being achieved. This in-depth analysis will give you a better understanding of the internal and external factors that played a part in the difficulties encountered, laying the foundations for a constructive improvement strategy.

As with the analysis of your successes, detail precisely the actions you have taken to overcome these challenges. Consider the potential changes you could have made to your approach. This detailed introspection goes beyond identifying mistakes, aiming to understand how each experience can be used as a lever for your professional development. Finally, analyze the lessons learned from these challenges and explore how you can turn them into opportunities for continuous improvement. This proactive approach demonstrates not only your ability to learn from less successful experiences, but also your commitment to evolving and converting challenges into long-term drivers of professional growth. 

Assess your performance using the job description

If this is your first year in the job, or if objectives were not defined during previous annual interviews or evaluations, it is particularly important to examine your job description carefully. The aim is to objectively assess your performance in relation to the responsibilities and tasks specified in this document. To begin with, take a close look at the various tasks detailed in your job description. Analyze how you approached each task and assess your contribution to achieving the team’s or company’s overall objectives. Identify the aspects of your role that took up most of your time and reflect on how these responsibilities fit into the overall vision for your career. Then review your results against key performance indicators (KPIs).

Also explore your preferences and your appreciation of the different tasks in your job. Identify those that arouse your interest and that you would like to develop further. Also, do not hesitate to recognize the aspects that represented challenges on a day-to-day basis. This introspection will not only give you a better understanding of your current role but will also help you to define areas for development in the future. An in-depth review of your job description is the benchmark for evaluating your year objectively and constructively, laying the foundations for a thorough and meaningful professional self-assessment. 

How do you complete your self-assessment? 

Be honest and objective

Give priority to honesty in your self-assessment, thereby laying the foundations for a frank and constructive discussion with your manager with a view to the annual interview. Maintain neutrality in your comments to demonstrate a clear understanding of your actions and career aspirations. This approach will enable your manager to perceive your ability to question yourself if necessary. If you have encountered any difficulties during the year, do not hesitate to mention them. Take the discussion a step further by suggesting potential solutions to these difficulties. Identify actions to be taken to overcome them, demonstrating your willingness to progress.

A lack of honesty on your self-assessment form risks making you appear out of touch with professional reality. Avoid distorting reality to ensure a fair and constructive assessment. On the other hand, avoid false modesty. If you have worked hard, met or even exceeded your objectives and your results prove it, make this explicit. By playing down your successes, you run the risk of coming across as someone who has little confidence in their own abilities. The annual performance review is a good time to highlight your achievements, especially when they may influence decisions such as a pay rise or promotion. 

Highlight your soft skills

As well as quantifiable results, your self-assessment is an opportunity to highlight your “soft-skills”. These are behavioral skills that are crucial both in everyday life and in the professional world. Do not forget to note in your self-assessment grid skills such as your ability to communicate, your proactivity, your thoroughness, your emotional intelligence, and your eagerness to learn. These assets are just as important as numbers in presenting a complete picture of your professional value. This assessment can be tricky to carry out on your own. If you are not sure, ask your most trusted colleagues who work with you daily. Their perspective can offer you valuable insights into your qualities and shortcomings at work.

Self-assessment, or thinking about future directions

In this final phase of your self-assessment, concentrate on defining your professional future by looking at your current job and your future aspirations. 

Thinking about how your job is changing

As in the previous year, take the time to define your objectives for the coming year. Identify the major projects that will mark your career path, including factual elements and quantifiable objectives. To clarify your future areas for improvement, define the tasks on which you want to make progress this year. Draw up a list of points related to your professional behavior that you would like to improve, making sure that you formulate measurable objectives. This approach will make it easier to reassess your progress the following year. Identify the problematic aspects of your working environments or company organization during your self-assessment. Make suggestions and suggest new ways of solving these problems, giving reasons for your requests so that they can be put forward at the annual appraisal meeting. 

In preparation for the annual interview, ask yourself about your career development. Express your expectations to your manager by answering questions in advance, such as whether you would like to take on more responsibility, whether your salary is commensurate with your duties, you would like a raise, whether you are considering a promotion, or even whether you would like to change jobs. Be prepared to back up your requests with figures, if necessary. Anticipate the training section of your appraisal by identifying the areas in which you would like to progress. Find out what training is available in-house or externally, and how to access it. Present to your manager the benefits that such training will bring to your professional contribution. 

Planning a follow-up

After the self-assessment and annual interview, ask for a follow-up meeting with your manager a few months later. This interim review will enable you to measure your progress, resolve any difficulties, find new solutions and redefine the objectives for your professional success.

In conclusion, self-assessment plays a crucial role in the workplace, especially before annual appraisals. By clearly outlining your successes, you reinforce your credibility by demonstrating your significant contribution to the company. By learning from the challenges you face, you demonstrate your commitment to professional development. Reviewing your job description provides an objective assessment, facilitating an honest discussion with your manager. By clearly planning your future goals, identifying areas for improvement and scheduling training, you are proactively directing your development in line with your career aspirations.

By adopting these principles throughout the self-assessment process, you lay the foundations for a successful and fulfilling career. It is a strategic opportunity to work effectively with your manager, demonstrate your commitment, and positively influence your career path.