As you prepare for an interview, the most common interview questions await and you want to prepare for a whole host of behavioral questions that ask about your previous experience. “What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment” is one of the toughest behavioral questions to ask during an interview.
As youngsters, we are often taught to be humble; not showing off in social situations because it is considered impolite. Therefore, as adults, we often find it uncomfortable to talk about our performance, even when asked about it directly. We subconsciously worry that we will come across as unsympathetic or offensive.
Of course, humility is a useful quality in many situations, including at work. But the whole purpose of an interview is to convince your interviewer that you are the best person for the job. So start embracing what makes you great.
In this writing, we should fully equip you with information on how to answer the “what is your greatest accomplishment” Question in an Interview and will help you understand what your interviewer is really looking for when asking about your greatest success.
What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment “question
“What is your greatest accomplishment” or “What is your greatest professional achievement” may seem like a no-brainer to answer. But actually, getting your best performance out of it can feel daunting right away.
“What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment?” or “What is your greatest professional achievement” is an example of a behavioral interview question that is often used in interviews to assess skills and competencies through discussions of your previous experience.
“What is your greatest achievement?” and similar variations were developed to evaluate:
- What you value most in life, how this can benefit the company and whether you fit in with the corporate culture.
- How you see success and whether it is in line with the business objectives of the company.
- Whether you have the desired soft skills such as communication, leadership potential, ability to work in a team, adaptability, creativity and problem solving.
- Whether you have ambition and the will to succeed. For example, if you had to fight hard for your greatest achievement.
Why are interviewers asking this question?
Companies look for specific skills and characteristics in their employees and teams. By asking “What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment?” Employers can see whether your skills and work ethic match their needs and corporate culture.
Your greatest achievement choice shows the interviewer what you think is important and how you achieved it will tell them how you get things done. Employers can also read up on your definition of success.
In essence, your answer to this question shows your hard and soft skills and how you would fit into the company culture.
You are asking this question to get an insight into your proven work and what accomplishments you consider to be the most valuable and important. When interviewers ask about your greatest accomplishment, they are interested in knowing three important things:
- Your work ethic: Interviewers are interested in what you consider an “achievement” and the proven work you have done on it.
- Your core values: Interviewers are interested in which performance you choose as your “greatest” and why.
- Examples of your work: Interviewers want to get to know specific examples of your work. These examples will give them an idea of what projects you have completed and what to expect from you.
How to choose an achievement to talk about
Research and preparation are key to the success of your interview. That means you want to check the job description, company website, and social media presence if you haven’t already.
Also, take a look at the latest press or employee reviews. If you’ve received notes from a recruiter or have a connection within the company that recommended you for the position, these will also help you better understand the company.
All of this homework can help you come up with an answer that is tailored to the company and its needs.
For example, if you’ve read that one of the company’s core values is “personal responsibility”, you might want to choose a time to take on a project because you thought it was necessary or to fill in the gaps in your team to fill when someone went for another job.
Whichever achievement you discuss, your response should demonstrate that your skills are transferable and relevant to the role.
Here are a few questions to ask in order to identify achievements to talk about:
- How have you contributed to the company’s goals in previous positions? Perhaps you had a big impact on a key performance metric like increased sales.
- What influence did you have on a team as a mentor, manager or team player? Perhaps you helped an intern get them on board and make them successful, which benefited the entire organization.
- How did you help an organization become more efficient? Perhaps you have led process improvements by improving communication channels.
- What have you done to improve the customer experience? Perhaps you helped innovate towards a new user-centric solution.
- If you are new to the workforce: Have you ever managed something in a student organization or volunteer work? Maybe you organized an event, won a competition, or raised money for a good cause.
- If your interviewer specifically asks for an example outside of work, what personal goals did you achieve outside of the office? Perhaps you’ve run a marathon, finished a long distance bike ride, or mastered a personal challenge.
When it is difficult to pick an accomplishment that feels like the “greatest” accomplishment, then come back to your research and think through the lens of the hiring manager you want to impress and the job you are trying to land.
How to answer “What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment” Question
To answer this interview question, it is important that you prepare an outline of your answer so that you are comfortable giving an answer during your interview. Here are the steps you can take to prepare a good answer:
Start by making a list of your accomplishments
Put together two to three stories that you think represent your best work in relation to the position you are applying for. These examples will be stories showing your most interesting and impressive accomplishments.
It’s a good idea to think of more than one example so that you can tailor your story to different interviews. Also, having more than one example will be ready when the interviewer asks you to discuss your additional accomplishments.
If you have trouble remembering impressive accomplishments, think about when you received compliments or recognition for your work. Think about how you made a difference in your previous positions;
If you recently received a promotion, think about the reasons why you might have been promoted.
Check the job description
To make your response relevant to the interviewer and the company, be sure to read the job description and research the company. This will help you select a performance that demonstrates the skills and qualities that the employer is looking for.
Follow the STAR approach (Situation, Task, Approach, and Result)
This gives you the opportunity to focus on the most important details of your performance and create a story for your interviewer that is memorable and concise.
How to use the STAR method
To use the STAR method, there are four different steps you should take to get a cohesive, concise, and clear answer: Situation, Task, Approach, and Results.
In the first part of your answer, give a brief context that justifies your performance. This often describes a specific problem that you, your team, or your company is facing.
For example: “In my marketing internship at a software company, the team spent several hours each month organizing budget sheets.”
Next, explain your role in the situation. These could be the assignments for which you are responsible, the role you played in a particular topic, or certain skills you offered that were of value.
Example: “Although my role has usually been helping other marketers with copywriting and other creative endeavors, I thought my experience dealing with budget sheets from a finance course I completed could be useful.”
Then discuss how you helped make an impact or solve a problem. Make this concise and applicable to the interviewer by including keywords from the job description.
For example: “After getting approval from my manager to take on this project, I developed a more organized budget process that allowed each teammate to organize their own section on a weekly basis so we no longer had to recreate the entire budget every month. “
To complete your answer, describe the positive result of your work. If you can deliver tangible results with numbers (the company saved $ 5,000, increased sales 30%), your answer will be more telling.
For example: “After a quarter of using the new process, we reduced the time spent organizing the budget by 35% so that the team can focus on more important marketing projects.”
Tips for answering the “What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment” Question
In short, you want to stick to a single example whenever possible – unless they ask for more – and you want to make sure that example represents the best work you’ve done in the past while being an interesting story.
When talking about your greatest accomplishment, keep these things in mind:
- Mention how well the performance was for you, but focus on the added value for your employer.
The most important thing about performance to you, of course, was the way in which it affected your own life, but an interviewer will wonder how you will benefit him and his own company in the future.
- Don’t go negative. There are other interview questions about conflict and challenge, but your answer to this question should be largely positive.
Don’t make anyone look bad in your story; Just talk about a time when you were really proud of something impressive that you did.
- View specific qualifications. If you can stand out with an answer that links your qualifications and skills directly to the job description, you can go a long way with that answer.
- Make sure you prepare for this question in advance. You don’t want to remember a story at the last second. You’ll leave out details or, worse, forget your best stories.
- Do not lie. Lies are often plagued by job seekers, so it is best to avoid them altogether. If you need to simplify your story for the sake of simplicity and keep it short, that’s fine – as long as the essential terms of your performance are right.
No matter how few jobs you had before the interview, you should always have an answer to this question. So, if you feel that you don’t have good answers to this question because you haven’t worked long enough, then you need to get a little creative.
Think about school projects, travel, private tragedies, and public disasters – anything that had to make you overcome something while contributing to something or someone else around you.
Prepare and practice your answer so that it comes by itself. It doesn’t have to sound perfect, but you have to sound confident.
Even if you never get this exact question, your greatest accomplishment is worth pondering. It not only prepares you for an interview but also gets you to know yourself and your values better.