At Google, we do employee reviews every six months. Right now, we’re almost halfway through our review period, so I will take the next few weeks to meet with my employees and help them self-assess where they sit in terms of a rating and, potentially, a promotion. I do these meetings in the middle of the cycle to avoid any surprises and offer the opportunity for improvement before the formal assessment time.
Today, during our mid-cycle review, one of my team members made an excellent point. Preparing for our review process mimics how you might prepare to answer Google’s interview questions. In some ways, each review cycle is a mini, written interview.
Because of my team member’s analogy, I looked back at some of Laszlo Bock’s interview advice for a Thomas Friedman column. In answering “What’s your best advice for job interviews?,” Bock also provides good advice for review preparation.
“What you want to do is say: ‘Here’s the attribute I’m going to demonstrate; here’s the story demonstrating it; here’s how that story demonstrated that attribute.’ ” And here is how it can create value. “Most people in an interview don’t make explicit their thought process behind how or why they did something and, even if they are able to come up with a compelling story, they are unable to explain their thought process. (“How to Get a Job at Google, Part 2”, NYT, 4/20/2014)
While Bock’s advice focuses on future impact, it also applies to showcasing past impact which you can use for your next review.
In my opinion, the best way to show how you created value is to use specific numbers. For example, instead of writing in your self-review “I lead a complex deal for XY customer that we won. While doing so, I received great feedback from my peers saying “yada yada,”” write:
“Over the past three months, I worked with XY client to increase their spend from $XX to $YY dollars. I did so through leveraging XY engineers and creating this [insert your link here] timeline with the customer. After I realized the strategy of using Y [external partner] with Z [internal resource], drove me to close my sale faster, I shared my process with our team, so that they could learn from my success. After speaking with ZZ team members that employed the process I created, we saw each of their deals progress XX days faster than the rest of the deals on the Americas team”.
Even beyond a review cycles and interviews, you can employ this strategy when writing you resume. Challenge yourself to provide excruciating detail. Instead of “I lead XY team and we achieved 170% of quota,” say “Leading a four person sales pod with three hundred customers, I leveraged six partners to achieved 170% of quota while also selling the largest number of products average five skus versus the national average of two”. Here is very outdated resume I prepared for business school internship interviews where I tried my best to use these techniques.
Good luck in your next review, resume submission or interview!