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Answering Leadership Questions

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Have you ever had to give an employee a poor performance review? How did you feel about that responsibility?

Example #1
"A large part of my role is to give monthly performance reviews to my team of 13 employees. When I need to deliver a poor review, the employee is already aware that I will be looking for improvement in their performance. This awareness is because I stay in close contact with all of my employees on their monthly progress. The last poor performance review I delivered was a 30-minute review that I booked with the individual ahead of time. Their productivity had been slipping for about four weeks, and it was time to make a new plan of action. I was sure to make the meeting private. I gave tangible feedback using specific examples. Then, we created a measurable plan together. This team member was appreciative of the time that I took to nurture the situation rather than reprimand them."
Example #2
"To be completely transparent, giving critical reviews is not my favorite task; however, if I am prepared for the conversation ahead of time, I can complete a well-balanced performance review. I have trained a few temp administrators in my current role, as we utilize a temp agency during our peak seasons. Just last month, I was asked to provide performance feedback to a new temp associate. I gave some critical points, with examples, and then offered suggestions and action steps for improvement. The temp associate was appreciative that I put in the added effort to help them do a better job."
Example #3
"Recently, during my exit interview, I gave my company a performance review, which was an interesting twist from my typical performance reviews that I deliver as a manager. I sat down in private with the CEO before I left and gave him valuable feedback regarding some of the company's processes. It was a slightly uncomfortable conversation; however, he thanked me for my honesty in the end. I provided helpful information and thoughts that the company can build on for future growth and improvements."
Example #4
"I have delivered a handful of performance reviews in my current role as Marketing Manager. When I give an unsavory review, I act as a mentor and ask the employee to work with me on a performance plan. I never want anyone to feel like they are on the verge of being fired because that never improves an employee's performance. I took this approach a few weeks ago when I noticed one of our junior marketers' productivity dwindle. We discussed the approach, the tools I could provide to support her better, and we also set a timeline for change. I wanted her to feel like she was part of an important collaboration to boost engagement."
Example #5
"In my previous role, performance reviews were handled by my manager. However, I did help my manager file write-ups related to performance issues. I believe that performed correctly, a performance review with a poorly performing team member, is a great service since it's an investment of time aimed to help them improve. I am open to learning how to deliver a proper performance review."
Example #6
"I am comfortable giving feedback to others when needed. I know to be specific, approach the situation with empathy, and ensure that all poor performance-related conversations happen in private. A couple of months ago, when I was giving an employee review, I started by asking the person to assess their performance. The person pointed out their shortcomings, which aligned with the notes that I had prepared. From the point of agreeance, we had a positive brainstorming session and came up with a plan for improvement. This particular team member thanked me for coaching rather than reprimanding them."
Example #7
"I give student reviews all the time, even aside from report card time. I am comfortable giving constructive feedback in any situation; however, I have never critiqued a fellow teacher. In one of my more recent parent-teacher interviews, I needed to let the parents of my student know that his attentiveness in class was slipping. In the conversation, I focused on his performance, rather than his personality. This way, the situation did not become personal in any way. Together, we worked on a plan to help this student become more engaged in class. In the end, the student responded very well, and his parents were happy that I came to them with my concerns."
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Our interview questions are created by writers, most of whom have a long history of recruiting and interviewing candidates. They do not necessarily have experience interviewing or working with the companies, careers or schools they may write for on We strive to match our experts' background and expertise with the appropriate question sets found on our website.