How to Properly Respond to an Inaccurate Negative Performance Review That Places You on Probation

••• workplace image by Andrey Kiselev from

Related Articles

Performance reviews are meant to be constructive critiques of an employee's work. At their best, they praise the strong points of an employee's performance, while suggesting areas that could be improved. At their worst, they drag the employee through a sludge of inaccurate claims and negatively impact self-esteem. If you have recently received a performance review that you feel was unfair, there is something you can do about it. By following the appeal process outlined below, you can set the record straight and begin to prosper in the workplace.


Calm down. Receiving an accurate negative performance review is upsetting enough, but an inaccurate one is sure to make you twice as angry. Before storming into your reviewer's office, take an hour or two to try and relax.

Read and reread the review. Single out the parts which you feel are completely inaccurate and think about why you object to them. Keep an open mind as you read and think about your performance from an objective stance. This is difficult for most people, but it will help you to understand your reviewer's point of view.

Approach the reviewer politely and ask to schedule an appointment. Explain that you have several concerns about the review and that you'd like to discuss them in a private and professional setting. If you carry yourself with respect in this step, most reviewers will be happy to meet with you and receptive to your objections.

Listen carefully to the reviewer's reasons for why they wrote a negative review. Respond professionally, citing concrete evidence (a successful project you helped lead or an insightful presentation you gave) that challenges his points. If the negative review was a result of a misunderstanding or a mistake, reconcile this with the reviewer.

Act according to the outcome of the meeting. If the reviewer agrees to revise or retract the review, you might no longer be on probation. If the review stands and you are still on probation, make every effort to improve your performance if you want to stay employed. If you still think the review was inaccurate, you might want to think about looking for another place of employment.


  • Stay positive. Even if the review isn't retracted or revised, you still have a chance to prove yourself as a competent and effective employee. Learn and grow from the mistake.
  • Remain friendly and nonconfrontational during the meeting with your reviewer, it will make a big difference.



About the Author

Brandon Getty began writing professionally in 2008, with columns appearing in "Thrasher" magazine. He received a Bachelor of Arts in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and lives in Stockton, Calif.

Photo Credits