It's common for interviewers to ask job candidates to describe their proudest or most significant accomplishments, and for most people, this can be a challenging question to answer.
It's important to understand that this question usually serves a few purposes. Your description of the achievement helps the interviewer evaluate whether your skills and character traits are a good fit for the position in question.
The accomplishment that you choose to describe also gives the interviewer a sense of your background, values and interests. This can help the interviewer decide whether your personal attitudes would fit well with the company culture and objectives.
Points to Emphasize
You should use your account of your accomplishment as an opportunity to share the reasons that you would thrive at the job you are interviewing for. Make sure to do the following:
- Describe the practical skills that enabled you to succeed.
- Explain the specific strategy that you used or the steps that you took to meet your objective.
- Mention any obstacles or challenges that you encountered and overcame.
- Touch on any useful knowledge or insights that you gained during the process.
Make sure to provide detailed information to establish credibility and help the interviewer understand the value of your accomplishment.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Even if you have an impressive resume and a list of accomplishments that any job candidate would envy, describing your greatest achievement during a job interview can be tricky. Watch out for the following pitfalls:
- Do not undermine your accomplishment by trying to act modest.
- Don't provide an overly simple or short answer that won't give the interviewer any useful insights.
- Try not to focus on an achievement that has little relevance to the job that you are applying for.
- Don't exaggerate a real accomplishment or fabricate one that you think will sound impressive.
It's crucial to be sincere and descriptive when you answer this question.
An effective answer to this tough interview question could be something like the following response:
At my last position, I oversaw the implementation of a new software system, which is now used by over 100 employees. I developed a customized training program, worked one-on-one with about one-quarter of the employees and introduced an incentive program to ensure that they stay current with the software. This allowed me to practice planning a large-scale project and motivating a sizable group of employees.
No matter how far you have advanced in your career or what your accomplishments are, answering this question well can be a great way to show an interviewer why are uniquely qualified for the job.