The lead up to an appraisal can be rather daunting as a trainee, especially in your first seat when you have not been through the process before. However, once you have been through your first appraisal you realise that it is a great opportunity to formalise a feedback dialogue that has been taking place throughout your seat. Whilst an appraisal is very much a personal experience, below are some thoughts to consider when preparing for and undertaking your appraisal:
- Don’t be afraid to emphasise your strengths. Often trainees are hesitant to admit “I am good at this” in respect of certain areas of their performance. Admitting your strengths doesn’t demonstrate a lack of modestly, but awareness that you have given serious thought to your performance as a whole
- Feedback is two-way. Whilst it is important to take on board all of the feedback provided by your supervisor, they will also want to know your thoughts on, for example, areas of the law which you feel that you are lacking exposure to. As you may be receiving work from a variety of team members, it is useful for your supervisor to know that you are being given the breadth of work which they would like you to be exposed to
- Consider the goals that were set in your last appraisal. These can often be forgotten when dealing with the daily realities of your workload. Casting your eye over these goals once a month or so gives you an early opportunity to request work which will allow you to achieve these goals
- Your appraisal shouldn’t surprise you. Often trainees are apprehensive before their appraisal because they are unsure of what their feedback may be. However, most trainees I have spoken to have found that their appraisal highlights areas of strength and weakness that have already been discussed.
Remember, an appraisal should be a positive process with the aim of helping you to develop.