For most paralegals, performance review interviews can be a time of stress and fear, with supervising lawyers spending only 10 minutes on the interviews, providing reports with no specific feedback, basing their opinion on the most recent events, or forgetting to recognize their paralegals when they do a good job.
In this context, to make sure that your career progresses smoothly, we have listed some tips that will hopefuly enhance your job security and boost your career.
- Be prepared: Review the goals that were set for in your last performance evaluation or ask your boss for the measures he/she will be using to evaluate your job performance during the current year. Then, based on these criteria, document your performance, make lists of your achievements, and prepare answers to potentially tough questions.
- Ask questions: Ask your boss questions during the interview to learn how he thinks you could be of even greater value to your department. This is also the time to think of ways the rest of the team can be more effective in helping you fulfill your duties, whether it's through better communication or a reallocation of resources. Also, be specific in your questions. That way, you will show you are prepared and you will not open the door to criticism by asking open questions for which you do not know the answers in advance.
- Be professional: Take notes during the interview for future references since it can be difficult to solely rely on your memory to keep a complete record of a stressful conversation. Also, make sure you have completed the self-appraisal form and turn in the form on time, so your boss will have it before writing your review.
- Understand that even the best paralegals have room to grow: Think about the position and responsibility area you would like to hold in two or five years. And see your boss' perspective on you performance as a way to help you prepare for the next phase. Your supervising attorney knows you best and can point to the skills you need to develop to take on the next level of responsibility.
- Leave with an action plan: You should also think about your broader career goals. What training or development opportunities would benefit you? Could your organization sponsor membership in professional organizations? Are there specific assignments that would help you prepare for the future? Additionally, this action plan should include goals and ways of determining if you have reached your goals next year.
In fact, if done right, a performance review is one of the best opportunities to boost your career and keep you motivated for the months ahead. The team at Legaco wishes you all the best!