3 Top Questions Engineers Should Ask at Their Next Performance Review

In this episode, I talk about performance reviews, and how you can prepare for your next performance review by providing you with three questions that you should ask in your next one.  I recently wrote about this topic on the ASCE blog and based on feedback and interest, I thought I would it would be a good topic for a podcast episode.

TECC 262 Quote 1

Here Are the Three Questions to Ask at Your Next Performance Review:

1.    What are the different pathways for growing my career here going forward?

  • As an engineer, it is important that you have clarity in what’s ahead in your career. You will probably never have a detailed map to follow, and you shouldn’t, as flexibility is a good thing. However, a certain level of clarity is important. Without clarity, you are essentially rowing a boat into a fog. You can’t see what’s ahead, and therefore you can’t plan or prepare accordingly.
  • The best-case scenario is that you ask this question, and your supervisor provides some options – one or a few of which you are excited about. The worst-case scenario is that you don’t ask, and you end up missing out on an opportunity that you really would have liked, or you fail to discover that there aren’t great opportunities for growth from your current position.

2.    What training and development programs will be available to me over the next 24 months?

  • Most civil engineering companies that I speak to have greatly fallen behind on training because of all of the project work they are currently inundated with. This is a dangerous habit to adopt.
  • One of your goals in your career should be continuous improvement. Each day, month, and year you should strive to become a better version of yourself. Learning and development, including training, is fundamental to that.

3.    In your opinion, what is one change that I could make that would yield the largest improvement in my overall performance?

  • This question may be tough to ask, but a great supervisor will take the time to answer it thoroughly.
  • The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 Rule, says that 80% of the success in your career or life comes from 20% of your efforts. Essentially, a few of the actions you take garner most of your success. What if you could identify these key drivers and improve them? Your performance would likely improve exponentially. And you may not be able to identify them without asking this question.

Resources and Links Mentioned in This Session:

Ask Anthony: 3 questions every civil engineer should ask at their next performance review

This Episode Is Brought to You by the Following Sponsors:

Washington State University

Performance ReviewWashington State University’s Engineering and Technology Management master’s degree program is a perfect balance of technical and managerial education that helps prepare practicing engineers for managing projects, people, and organizational systems. As one former student noted, “The knowledge that I gained from the ETM Program helped me become a more competent, confident engineer and manager. The program greatly impacted my career and has been a key element in my continued success.” Learn more about the Engineering Management profession at or [email protected]. Take charge of your career and reach out today.

ASMEThe American Society of Mechanical Engineers – ASME

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers serves a wide-ranging engineering community through quality learning, the development of codes and standards, certifications, research, conferences, publications, government relations, and other forms of outreach. Becoming a member and joining the ASME community is the most important connection a current or future mechanical engineer can make. Don’t miss your chance to advance your career, enhance your professional network, and find your next ME opportunity. Check out ASME on

We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share on the questions you ask during your performance review.

Please leave your comments, feedback, or questions in the section below.

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To your success,

Anthony Fasano, P.E., LEED AP
The Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success

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