The interviewer wants to know how you react to uncomfortable tasks and difficult conversations. No matter how seasoned a leader you are, it is never fun to deliver a poor performance review.
Highlight to the interviewer that you are confident in your professionalism and communication skills, that you are capable of difficult conversations, and that you are able to give helpful feedback while providing respected mentorship to your team.
"A large part of my role is to give monthly performance reviews to my team of 13 employees. Generally when I need to deliver a poor review, the employee is already aware that I will be looking for improvement in their performance. This is because I stay in close contact with all of my employees on their monthly progress. When I deliver an unsavoury 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 employees performance. I want them to feel like they are part of an important collaboration."
"Yes, I have had to give unflattering employee reviews to my team before. It is a task that I do no love doing but can absolutely do it."
"No, performance reviews were handled by my manager. However, I did give employees warnings and write-ups for performance failures. I felt that I was doing them a service by helping them see what they needed to do to improve."
Sales answer example
"Yes, absolutely. If possible, I start by asking them to assess their own performance. Almost without fail, they will point out the shortcoming that I am noticing and we then are able to have a positive brainstorming session about it together, rather than feeling like I am reprimanding them."
Marketing answer example
"I haven't had to give any type of employee review in a management capacity, but when I left one role, it was in large part due to the poor management. That said, I did sit down with the CEO before I left and gave him candid feedback about the VP of Sales that no one else was going to give while still working for the company. It was certainly uncomfortable, but it was valuable feedback to give to him and he made company decisions based off of it."