Recent College Grad New Hire Need-to-Knows #4: Performance Reviews

performance-reviewsNow that we’ve touched on your employee handbook, the importance of knowing your company and getting to know your colleagues, and understanding your job description, it’s time to dive into our fourth New Hire topic: understanding the purpose of and preparing for your first performance review. 


To understand how you’ll be evaluated, you should know what type of performance review your company employs. There are five common types of evaluations, all with different standards of evaluation – and varying requirements for preparation. Let’s get into it.


Preparing for Performance Reviews

After your first quarter, six months, or year, you’ll receive your first performance review. Some employers do formal reviews, while others are more informal, though the goal is always the same: to evaluate your work, progress, and future potential. 

Different companies evaluate performance differently, however, so it’s suggested that you ask your employer what method they use during your new hire orientation and onboarding process.  This way, you’ll know what variables you’re judged against. You’ll find the five most common types of performance reviews below.


5 Common Performance Review Methods

Ratings Scale Review

This is likely the most common performance review method and uses a set of employer-defined criteria to judge you by. Your employer’s criteria can include a number of desired behaviors, such as being team-oriented. Ratings scale reviews also evaluate your abilities, such as having valuable technical knowledge, traits, such as being a quick learner, and completed projects.


If your company uses self-evaluation performance reviews, you’ll be required to judge your own performance against certain criteria set by your superiors. These are typically taken prior to an official review, so that you and your supervisor can have a more fleshed-out discussion about your performance thus far.

Behavioral Checklist

A behavioral checklist looks at aspects of your behavior to determine your value to the organization, with different industries and companies having their own desired traits. Rather than evaluating yourself, your employer will fill out a list of “yes” or “no” questions as they relate to your behavior over the past quarter, six months, or year.

360-Degree Feedback

This type of review looks at your performance through the lens of outside sources, such as feedback from co-workers, reports, and indirect managers that you work with from day to day. Although it still includes a review of your performance and skill set, 360-degree feedback mostly relies on testaments from your acquaintances.

Management-by-Objectives Review

The management by objectives (MBO) review is a more recent style of performance appraisal. In this case, you and your manager will agree on a specific set of objectives with predetermined deadlines. This makes it easier to define success and failure when compared to other, more subjective styles of evaluation. 


Achieving Great Performance

No matter which performance review method your employer uses, your goal should be to: understand your job and what is expected of you in terms of your day-to-day job performance and to hold yourself accountable to achieving such goals.  You should consider setting up your own personal metrics and milestones list that you hold yourself accountable to and strike to achieve.  

If you find you’re having challenges achieving your performance goals, or you believe that your performance goals are inconsistent with your day-to-day job duties and function, be sure to flag this right away and to discuss with your manager or supervisor to see if you all can revisit and reframe the goals. 

In addition to staying in regular communication with your manager and supervisor and seeking constructive feedback from that person along the way, you should be sure to identify someone in the organization who can serve as a mentor to you and can be a confidant to you when you have questions or need guidance about your performance or other matters relating to the workplace.  

Most importantly, remember that you can do this!  You have this job in the bag!

Listen to this recent Hack My Business episode for Angela’s insights on the significance of your employee handbook, and visit this blog for the first entry in her Recent College Grad new Hire Need-to-Knows series. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn at angelareddock-wright, and tune-in to her radio show KBLA Talk 1580’s Legal Lens with Angela Reddock-Wright each Saturday and Sunday at 11am PST, or catch past episodes on For media inquiries for Angela, please reach out to


Experienced Employment Law Attorney, Mediator, Arbitrator, Investigator, Legal and Media Commentator 

Twice-named a U.S. News Best Lawyer in America for employment and labor law, Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment and labor law attorney, mediator, arbitrator, and certified workplace and Title IX investigator (AWI-CH) in Los Angeles, CA. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues. Furthermore, she’s been named a “Top 50 Woman Attorney” in California by Super Lawyers, a “Top California Employment Lawyer” by the Daily Journal and one of Los Angeles’ “Most Influential Minority and Women Attorneys” by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, NewsNation, ABC News, CBS News, Fox 11 News, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times,, Yahoo! Entertainment, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Daily Journal, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.

Angela is a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Judicate West, a California dispute resolution company. She also owns her own dispute resolution law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in the mediation, arbitration, and investigation of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace claims, along with Title IX, sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct conduct cases, along with hazing and bullying cases in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, fraternities and sororities; fire, police and other public safety agencies and departments; and other private and public sector workplaces.

Reddock-Wright has also launched her own radio show, Legal Lens with Angela Reddock-Wright, airing on Tavis Smiley’s new KBLA Talk 1580 radio station on Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. PT with replays on subsequent Sundays. Listeners may tune-in by downloading the APP @kbla1580 and call the PowerLines at 1-800-920-1580.  You can listen to past episodes on Anchor.Fm/Spotify.

For more information regarding resources for employers, businesses, and employees during this time, connect with her on LinkedIn for new updates, or contact her here. You may also follow her on Instagram.

This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.

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