Are you preparing yourself for an important job interview?
To be able to present yourself well, it is best to spend time preparing your answers. Fortunately, there are several standard questions that the interviewer is almost guaranteed to ask.
“What is your greatest accomplishment?” is a common behavioral question that interviewers love to ask. It can be challenging to answer this question and maintain the perfect balance between humility and self-worth.
Fortunately, there is an art to successfully answering this question, so let’s find out what it is…
- Why Interviewers Ask You “What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment?”
- How to Choose Your Greatest Accomplishment for Interviews?
- Brainstorming The Perfect Answer
- How to Prepare Your Answer?
- Common Mistakes to Avoid
- Want Guidance on Answering All Standard Interview Questions?
- Final Thoughts
Why Interviewers Ask You “What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment?”
The main objective of this question is to discover what makes you stand out from the crowd. The interviewer is likely to have several candidates who have very similar skills, at least on paper. The behavioral interview questions help to give the interviewer an insight into your personality.
The answer you give will help the interviewer to understand your core values. These values are likely to influence how you perform in the working environment. Some workers are focused solely on their own targets, while others are more team-focused.
Your answer to this question will also help the interviewer to work out how you would benefit the company. Most companies have a particular culture that is reflected by their commercial goals and working environment. Interviewers need to be able to identify applicants that will work well within the company’s culture.
The bad and good news is…
There are several other types of behavioral questions that interviewers could ask instead of this standard. This could include “tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership” or “describe a time you solved a difficult problem.” If your standard answer is well-structured, you should be able to shape it to fit almost any type of behavioral question.
How to Choose Your Greatest Accomplishment for Interviews?
The first step to responding to this question is working out the type of achievement to share. In many cases, the kind of achievement you choose is just as important as the details you include. I’d recommended that you write down a selection of examples and narrow them down to your best one.
Keep it Recent
Make sure the achievement that you choose is as recent as possible and relevant to the job you are applying for. Also, make sure the example you choose has made a big impact on your overall career. Demonstrate how the achievement was significant and the effect that it has had.
It should be clear to the interviewer exactly what you achieved and why it was significant. It should also be clear how your achievement benefited the company you were working for and your team. This will help the interviewer to see how you would be a valuable asset to them in their context.
Keep it Professional
Even if you are not specifically asked for a professional achievement, it should still be linked to your career. This can help to narrow down your options of what to talk about. It will also make sure that your answer stays work-focused and will be interesting to the interviewer.
What if I have none worth mentioning yet?
If you’re just entering the workforce, you may need to talk about an academic achievement instead. With a little bit of spin, you can still link an academic achievement to your professional career. If you excelled in a particular project, this is a good time to mention it.
Brainstorming The Perfect Answer
You may find that you are still stuck for inspiration when it comes to picking an achievement. A good example could be giving an excellent presentation at work and beating your sales targets. Other options include mentoring a coworker, completing a challenging training program, or organizing a successful event.
How to Prepare Your Answer?
Practicing in advance is the secret to being able to answer this and all other interview questions well. It is best to break your answer into several sections and write each one out first. This will help you to see precisely which parts of your response are essential and which are fillers.
Steps to follow…
Start by highlighting the context in which your greatest accomplishment took place. Next, think about the challenges you were faced with or what you were aiming to achieve. You should then go through the action you took and the skills you used to take that action.
The last part of the answer is explaining the result that your action had. Once you have fleshed out the answers to each of these points, it is time to start editing. The goal is to hold your interviewer’s attention the whole time that you are speaking.
Highlight Your Values and Best Qualities
Make sure that the accomplishment you choose convinces the interviewer you are perfect for the job. It should represent your values and your essential work ethic. The skills and attributes that you used should be transferable to your future work.
Research The Job and Company
Before applying for a new job, you should research the company and the company’s culture. Work out the main skills and qualities that are valued by the company. You can then tailor your answer to highlight these skills and qualities.
Carefully review the job description and underline the skills that are mentioned as being necessary. There may also be other skills that are desired by the company that you know about through word of mouth. This will guide you to the types of skills you need to highlight in your answer as well as other answers.
And don’t forget… the internet!
You can also discover information about the company’s philosophy and values on its website. Read online employee reviews of the company as well as news articles. Client testimonials and blogs can also help to reveal the company’s culture and values.
It is tempting to tell tall stories and embellish the truth in interviews to make yourself sound more impressive. However, interviewers are often trained in psychology and are likely to be able to detect dishonesty.
Trying to make yourself sound like Superman may actually have the opposite effect. It could indicate to the interviewer that you do not have any genuine accomplishments that you are proud of. In fact, as long as you can talk confidently about your skills, it does not matter too much what your achievement was.
Make sure that your answer is as clear and detailed as possible without repeating yourself. Instead of simply saying that you oversaw a project, explain what the project was. You should also reveal why your feel this was a significant accomplishment and the impact that it had.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
In many cases, knowing what not to say can be just as important as knowing what to say. We all only get one chance to make a great first impression, which is even more critical during an interview. Being aware of some common mistakes will help you to steer clear of them.
Giving a long answer that meanders indicates to the interviewer that you are not prepared. Ideally, you should keep your answer to two or three sentences at the most. If the interviewer wants more details, you can be sure that they will ask follow-up questions.
It is vital to have an achievement already picked out and be able to present it convincingly. Hesitating over this question and listing several possible achievements will make you sound unprepared. Again, planning your answer in advance will help you to avoid this awkward situation.
Trying To Be Funny
Using humor is a great way to establish rapport with someone, but it has its place. Humor is a very personal thing, and it can damage your chances if it is not well received by the interviewer. Giving a joke answer to a serious interview question is likely to make the interviewer question your commitment.
Putting Other People Down
Even if your answer involves correcting a mistake, take care not to make the other person look bad. Focusing on the shortcomings of other people will make you sound unprofessional. It could also indicate to the interviewer that you are insecure.
Want Guidance on Answering All Standard Interview Questions?
We’ve got you! To prepare yourself for all the questions that will likely come up in most interviews, check out our guide to Answering Tell Me About Yourself in Interview, talking about Strengths and Weaknesses for Job Interviews and responding to Why We Should Hire You? as well as Why Do You Want to Work Here?
Thinking of investing in a personal resource for interviewing at your best? I recommend Answering Tough Interview Questions For Dummies, Ray Dalio’s Principles: Life and Work, Interview Like A Pro, or How to Create Positive Impressions.
Finally, if you’re interviewing with a US company chain, you should search our database for what questions to expect in 2023. So, check out the Dollar General Interview Questions, Walgreens Customer Service Associate Interview Questions, Levi Strauss Interview Questions, Disney Store Interview Questions, Del Taco Interview Questions, and much more! Simply type your potential employer in our search box to find out more!
Back to today’s question…
Answering this tricky interview question convincingly and with a touch of charm takes practice. It is essential to become comfortable talking about yourself without coming across as boastful. Make sure that your answer is well structured so that you keep it brief while still packed with relevant information.
Practicing answers to standard interview questions in front of the mirror can help you to build confidence. This will help you to become aware of your body language while you are talking. Make sure that you know what you want to say and maintain eye contact in a natural way while talking.
Good luck interviewing!