What Is Your Proudest Achievement?

This is a behavioral interview question that’s designed to let a hiring manager have some insight into the place you give yourself in your achievements. It can tell them whether you are a team worker who values being able to make a strong contribution, an all-star who can outperform anyone when you’re properly supported, or more of an independent and entrepreneurial sort who works best on their own. It all just depends on what you choose to brag about and how you present the narrative of that information.

Points to Emphasize

When approaching this question, it can help to keep the following ideas in mind, and to use them to move your discussion forward as you need to.

  • Showcase the work, so that the interviewer sees what you put into the project that made you so proud about its outcome.

  • Remember, your personal reasons for pride don’t have to be about the achievement being the biggest or best of something.

  • Talking about the whole team shows how you work with others, which can give a hiring manager insight into who you are most compatible with.

  • As with all the behavioral questions, your attitude and approach are just as important as your actual choices, so keep that in mind as you choose your words.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

These common missteps can be easily reworked with the right attention, but you need to work on them and see them as the interviewer would.

  • Don’t be afraid to brag. A lot of people try to downplay their success, either because they are being humble or because they want to emphasize the team. This is your moment.

  • Remember to talk about the achievement, because it can be easy to lose yourself in the recollection of the positive attention that came with it.

  • You need to avoid losing sight of the fact that this is about the job you’re interviewing for, to make sure you tie it in somehow.

  • Try not to place your achievement too far in the past, because it can leave people wondering what you have done since.

Sample Answer

Balancing detail with positive energy takes a little finesse, but practice will help a lot.

I’d have to say my proudest achievement was when I hired my first intern. I’d been mentoring the summer program for a few years, and we’d hired a few candidates I worked with, but when I was able to offer a position on my team to an exceptional candidate who really grew through the program I was in charge of, it gave me a sense that I was building something bigger.

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