Don’t Share Performance Reviews With an Interviewer

Performance Review

Tip of the Day

It doesn’t happen very often, but every once in a while a prospective employer will ask to see a copy of your performance review. You should politely decline.

The information in your review is proprietary and giving a prospective boss access to the document allows him to scrutinize every task you performed and read you manager’s subjective comments. That’s more information than they need. In addition, performance plans are controlled documents because they often detail a company’s technical infrastructure and business objectives.

Explain that your review is confidential and ask if a reference will suffice. If you understand why the employer needs the information, you can suggest an alternate source to validate your experience. It’s OK to divulge your rating from the last performance review or to reveal the top two or three goals in your plan. Or, you can provide a copy of your job description to validate your experience.

Peer references or a letter from a previous boss may also satisfy the hiring manager’s curiosity, and of course you can provide copies of complimentary emails or awards you’ve received. But keep your actual performance review to yourself.

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4 Responses to “Don’t Share Performance Reviews With an Interviewer”

  1. I think it’s a Red Flag if any employer asks for a performance review. After they ask for this, then they will want all your grades from college and criticize every grade below a B. I have worked for an employer who wanted my college transcripts and it was a nightmare working for this person. Other people had the same experience working for an employer who asks for college transcripts. I would peruse other job opportunities and not work with someone who’s already criticizing you before you even start the job.

  2. W.Lego

    Thank you for this post. While the recruiter on the other end of the line did not explicitly ask me for my performance review during the phone screen, she asked me (knowing that I said not to contact my employer since I still work there) how my manager would describe me. After answering her question and completing the phone screen, I had a urge to send a copy of my interim review to back up my claim. However, after reading this post I’m glad I didn’t since I agree that doing so would be providing too much information. They will need to assess me based on my skills and experiences rather than on arbitrary review from another company.

  3. Question: What about Performance Improvement Plans? I had an interviewer ask if I had one at my previous job, the question shocked me. I wasn’t prepared to answer. Is it necessary to answer? How can I tactfully decline?

  4. No, no employer has asked me to provide my performance reviews but I have gladly shared it. Not the actually plan, but I did copy and paste comments from all my past reviews and put it in a Word Document and submit it with my job application as Additional Documents. I dont mind sharing it. It’s up to the candidate.