How to Conduct an Assessment Interview - Sample Performance Appraisal

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How to Conduct an Assessment Interview - Sample Performance Appraisal

The aim of an assessment interview is to identify the gap between the assessed employee’s competencies and the job requirements (as stated in the job specifications), in order to set priority development goals. This assessment can either take place in the context of the yearly appraisals, or be set up independently.

It is essential that the gaps observed between the position and its incumbent are clearly identified and acknowledged by the different partners. This is necessary in order to set up a training and development plan (guidelines) that may perfectly meet the needs of the person concerned.

Please note that it is also necessary to be very clear as to what the aim of the assessment is. It is indeed not rare that an assessment of the employee’s competencies results in an assessment of his/her performance, and vice-versa, these two notions being strongly related.


Here is a non-exhaustive list of assessment techniques:

In order to avoid any hasty judgment, several sources should be cross-checked. The synthesis of the assessment should thus be based not only on test results, but also on the observation of the candidate by the assessor(s) and on the information provided by the candidate during the interview (discussion of the results).

Please note that, in order for the assessment to be valid, the computer tests should have gone through a statistical validation process (internal and external validity, reliability and sampling), and the confidentiality should be guaranteed.


The first step of any assessment process (illustration) thus is to clearly define the requirements of the considered position. This implies choosing the success criteria (or "key-criteria") that are essential in order for the job holder to be successful in this position. These criteria will have to be taken from all the dimensions (initial training, experience, technical skills, languages, specific behavioral skills, physical resistance…) that are relevant for the job.

Moreover, in a career development interview, the following steps should be included:

  1. Clarification of the assessment’s general context and course
  2. Discussion of the results obtained from the tool/method used (in a structured interview)
  3. Comparison of the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses with the position’s success criteria
  4. In any case, a the action plan of the development process should be set up in order to mitigate the gaps between the position's requirements and the candidate's skills
  5. Conclusion of the interview
  6. Monitoring and control


The following table presents a list of behavioral skills (Sigmund Potential assessment criteria). You can perform your self-assessment by selecting a dozen criteria which you regard as necessary for your position and then assessing each one of them by checking the corresponding column.

Here is a table that presents the synthesis of an employee's assessment (illustration), based on the example of a salesperson who has applied for a Sales Manager position. Please note that, while some skills are critical to the occupied/targeted position, others are not. In the case of a performance appraisal interview (MBO Process), it is the lacks observed for these skills that will be given the priority in the development plan (sample).

In practice, we have observed that, when the gap between the job’s requirements and the employee's skills is equal to zero, the latter is at risk of progressively losing his/her motivation and of feeling useless. This can significantly impact an individual’s performance and even make him/her unable to fulfill activities that he/she perfectly masters.

Any development process should thus aim to achieve goals that are both stimulating and challenging for the individual.

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