While conversations with your employees should be ongoing, performance reviews are a great time to formally look over and set goals, identify gaps in knowledge or services and facilitate a positive conversation between managers and team members about their goals and roles.

There are many ways to give performance reviews and zeroing in on a method can often seem a bit overwhelming, even in the initial research phase. We know your time should be spent elsewhere, so we’ve broken down the main types of performance reviews and go over the pros and cons for each of them.

Types of performance reviews

There are many different types of performance reviews available to use. The kind you select should fit your management style and team dynamic in a way that easily facilitates conversations and goal-setting. We’ve done our research and narrowed down the seemingly endless amount of choices to a more manageable list of three: objective-based, numerical scale and descriptive scale performance reviews.


An objective-based performance review is what is sounds like: a review based on objective facts like tardiness, job completion, etc. This type of review is often used for employees whose jobs involve doing repetitive tasks. Were they late? Did they complete they tasks? These cold, hard facts make for an easy review.

Pros: A simple yes or no answer is usually all that is required, making an objective-based performance review quick and easy to complete.

Cons: An objective-based performance review doesn’t take subjective concepts into account, like level of professionalism, teamwork and resourcefulness.

Numerical scale

Using the numerical scale is the next step up from applying the objective-based review. With a numerical-scale review, an employee is assessed based on several facets of performance competency, including skill in carrying out tasks, levels of responsibilities, communication skills, etc. Normally based on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being “Poor” or “Not Applicable” and 5 being “Excellent”), this review enables managers to give a bit more feedback on specific things an employee does well or areas that may need improvement.

Pros: The scale lends itself to concise feedback on specific tasks or responsibilities. It also presents a more in-depth picture of areas in which the employee excels and areas where the individual may require additional training or attention.

Cons: This type of review can be a bit more labor-intensive and may not be suitable for all of your employees and team members.

Descriptive scale

Similar to the numerical scale, the descriptive scale provides a spectrum of feedback that can be given for specific competencies/tasks. Instead of using numbers, this scale is based on concise descriptors that give managers a better ability to communicate performance levels to their team members.

Pros: The descriptive scale allows for a higher quality of feedback for your employees.

Cons: This scale may not be the best option for large teams that have a small number of managers, as it requires more day to day, in-depth knowledge of an employee’s performance. It may not be a good choice if you are strapped for time or aren’t working closely with every team member.

If you’re interested in going paperless, access our performance review forms through our Snagajob dashboard. Request a free demo here and start getting your time back!