Your first MUS – what to expect

Do you only vaguely know what the employee development interview is about and are you a little nervous about it? Below is some advice from IDA to help you through the interview and help you get the most out of the conversation with your boss.

First job

Prepare for the interview

The employee development interview is more commonly abbreviated to MUS (medarbejderudviklingssamtale) in Danish work settings.

Spend time thinking the interview through. In fact, it can be a good idea to write down regularly the tasks you spend most time on, what has made you most happy, where you’ve felt that you contributed something important, or where you’ve felt most exhausted.

Don’t spend lots of time every week, perhaps just 5-10 minutes on Fridays to give yourself useful empirical data that can form the basis for what you want to talk about at the interview. It’s a good foundation to show what you contribute to the company. And it’s also an opportunity to think about what makes you happy professionally.


Video: How to approach your MUS

Make your work visible

The employee development interview is your chance to make your manager aware of your competences and what you contribute to the company.

Some workplaces have forms you can use as your starting point. In other places, the staff development interview is just a casual chat. In all cases, it’s important that you bring your results to the table.

Prioritise a few points you want your boss to know about before you leave the interview. Mapping out your work for yourself will give you an idea of what to say and what your boss needs to know.

For example: I’d like to do more of this, I’d like to do less of this because it wears me out. I’d like this completely away from my desk, and I miss this and I’d love to work with that.

Remember to support your points with specific examples of why this would also benefit the company. Perhaps think about it as planting a small seed before the salary negotiation you’re going to have at some point.

And then informally ask your boss to remember your results at the next salary negotiation. This will lay the groundwork for reaping good results at your salary negotiation.


Think strategically

Try to incorporate your wishes and priorities into the company’s strategy and goals to increase your chances of getting a positive response from your boss. And also be realistic.

What is possible? If cutbacks have been announced, now may not be the time to ask for continuing training. However: if something is crucial for you to be able to function in your job, you should say this to your boss. And if you’re told that a course is impossible, but you know it’s essential for your job, perhaps you should think about moving on to another job.

Many companies use so-called SMART goals which you could have in mind when setting your goals. SMART is short for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

At your employee development interview, you will also look at: What was the plan at the last interview? If you haven’t had an employee development interview before, you can look at: what we agreed when I was employed, or at the 3-month interview, and is this consistent with what I’m experiencing?


Be honest

The employee development interview is also a forum in which you can talk about difficult things. Your boss is not your opponent, but your ally and sparring partner.

Give them an opportunity to manage and help you. If there is something that makes you feel uncomfortable, something at work that keeps you awake all night, the employee development interview is the place to let it all come out.

If you have a colleague you think is difficult to work with, you can also mention this at the staff development interview. Others may have the same problem.

But always keep a professional, sober and constructive tone, and ask for advice on how to solve the conflict. Remember that you can – and should be able to be – honest with your boss. If you’re not honest, how will your boss find out about your challenges?

Be professional

Always make your points in a professional context.

Your boss won’t be influenced by emotions; at least not if they come from a negative place. For example, if you have a colleague who gets all the fun assignments, then say: I’d like us to cover for each other more. Because I feel that we’re very vulnerable as things stand. If we exchange our ideas and can cover each other’s assignments, the team will become more robust.

This is a professional way of saying that you’re actually fed up with your colleague getting all the fun assignments. But remember: Keep negative feelings out of the conversation, and don’t hesitate to use the positive.

Make specific agreements

Make sure to get your boss to write down what new assignments you’ll have and what assignments will be passed on to your colleagues, so your agreement is specific and documented.

Before the interview, you should know exactly what courses or continuing training you need, what they cost, etc. And remember to be clear about how this will benefit the company.

If you’ve just started, perhaps continuing training can wait. It might be better for you to settle in your new job before you take a course. This is something you should consider. But in any event: Make sure to make specific and written agreements with your boss.

Talk with each other over the year

It’s important to continuously talk about development goals and similar, otherwise you risk that they and you will be forgotten in a busy working day.

So, talk with your boss regularly and don’t save everything for the employee development interview, which in most places is only held once a year.

If you’re young, newly graduated and digitally fluent, you’ll expect regular feedback, because you’re probably used to this from your studies and social media.

You could mention at your employee development interview that you’d like to receive regular feedback. Perhaps you can schedule a brief talk once a month.

Do you want sparring on how to prepare and get the most out of your MUS?