Can you tell me about your last appraisal?

  | James Innes


Can you tell me about your last appraisal?

Alternative and related questions:

How was your performance rated in your last appraisal?
How would you comment on your last appraisal?
What areas for improvement were identified at your last appraisal?

The meaning behind the question:

Appraisals are supposed to address both your strengths and your weaknesses – both your achievements and your failings. However, the interviewer will know that appraisals focus more on where there is room for improvement than on giving you a pat on the back. This question is a clever ploy to get you to confess precisely where there is room for improvement in your performance.

Your answer:

You’re going to need to be careful with your answer to this question. For a start, it’s very important to be totally honest – because the interviewer can easily check up on this sort of information when taking up your references and, if it’s an internal vacancy for which you are applying, then you can be more or less sure they will already have examined your last appraisal.

It’s not a difficult question to get right. You need to focus on the positive points that were brought up in your last appraisal and only touch briefly on any less positive points – making sure that you confirm these are issues you have now addressed or are in the process of addressing. You’re under no obligation to relate every last detail of your last appraisal so I would vote in favour of mentioning several positive points but limiting your answer to cover just one weaker point. If your appraisal brought up an apparent weak point that you can put a positive slant on then so much the better.

Of course, not all employers have a formal appraisal system – and this will certainly simplify your answer! It would, however, be a good idea to mention that, while there was no formal system in place, you have routinely received positive feedback on your performance, both from your boss and from your colleagues.


My last appraisal was very positive. My manager felt that I had made excellent progress in many areas and had really mastered the intricacies of the project we were working on. He did say that he felt other members of the team had become too dependent on me and that a lot of my time was being taken up in showing them how to tackle difficult or unusual issues. While he perceived this as an area for improvement, I perceived this as further evidence that the time is now right for me to take a step up to a management-level position – hence my applying for this role with yourselves

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