Think deeper about what the interview question you are asked really means. There is usually some hidden meaning that they are trying to get to. If you are able to understand this hidden meaning, your answer can focus on it specifically, which strengthens your answer.
The question, "How do you determine or evaluate success?" has some hidden meaning. You should not focus on your definition of success, but rather how your definition of success shapes your work ethic. The interviewer is interested in what qualities will allow you to succeed. They want to be confident that you are self-motivated and dedicated to your work.
Points to Emphasize
Figure out which qualities they are trying to find in you and focus on them. These may vary with the specific job, but they should be, more or less, consistent.
- Even though you are focusing on your attributes, remember to answer the question. Start by defining success.
- You should probably include going above expectations in your answer. This is the most common goal for this question. Do you consider yourself successful when you meet the minimum expectations or when you do the job right?
- If you are interviewing for a management position, their expectations for your answer may be different. Instead, you might focus on what your expectations for employees under you are.
- Be confident, without being prideful.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
If you follow the above points to emphasize, and avoid the following pitfalls, your answer should be very strong.
- Do not spend the entire answer determining success. Even though that is what they literally asked you, you should move on to explaining your positive qualities.
- Do not lose your focus. Success is a vague idea, but you should choose one or two attributes that are relevant. Including too many weakens the strength of all of them.
- You should avoid talking about how you are completely successful. No matter how capable you are, being able to improve will be appealing to employers.
- A genuine and sincere undertone will be very effective. Do not exaggerate or stretch the truth.
The context of the question you are asked may require other specifics that are not covered here. Be sure to adjust your answer to the job you are applying for. Generally, however, your answer might look something like this:
I determine success as getting the job done properly. Even if the expectations are lower, I will not consider myself successful unless I met all of my own personal requirements. Of course, I'm always trying to push my personal requirements higher and higher. I welcome opportunities to improve.