Job Interview Question

What are some of your greatest and/or proudest accomplishments?

How To Answer Interview Questions Series

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This is a great job interview question, but a lot of people don’t do it or themselves justice when they answer it.

One of the worst mistakes people make is that they will say that their greatest or proudest accomplishment is something that matters to them personally, like their two kids.  It doesn’t matter if your kids are saints who never fight, spend their weekends feeding the poor, and have just won the Nobel prize…that’s still the wrong answer.

Being proud of your kids is fantastic.  We all love our kids.  But that can’t be the answer to this.

You’ve got to remember that you are in a job interview.  Good job interview strategy requires that everything you say in the interview must be focused on selling you for the job.  That’s why you’re there.

The answer to this needs to be something that directly relates to the job, like being awarded X prize for achievement after being in a position for only 18 months…or being recognized as the ABC….or figuring out a solution for a big hairy problem that the company had been struggling with for a long time.]

job interview question - what is your greatest accomplishmentIt MUST be work-related:  awards, accomplishments, successes.

If you fail to say something work-related, you could easily lose out to a candidate who is not necessarily a better candidate than you, but who does a better job of focusing themselves on the job at hand rather than on their personality or family.

It’s also a mistake to say something work-related that isn’t especially relevant for this job.  For example, you don’t want to tell a story about how you solved a technical problem if you’re interviewing for a sales job.  Even if it was the most complicated technical problem in the world requiring advanced knowledge and serious expertise, they won’t care if what they really want to know is, “Can you make a sale?”

Prepare to answer this question before you get to the interview by thinking about your proudest accomplishments at work and choosing one that would be especially impressive to this company, for this position.

Or, come at it another way and read over the job description and then think about impressive things you’ve done that match up with at least one of those requirements.

When telling the story of your proudest accomplishment, be strategic and choose an example that directly relates to this job.  (At the same time, choose another story to keep in your back pocket to help you answer the “What are your greatest strengths?” question.)

In your story, provide details.   Try to quantify those accomplishments as much as you can because numbers are impressive as hard evidence.  Don’t be afraid to brag.  That’s what this question is for.


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