What Is Your Greatest Achievement Outside Of Work?

When you go into a professional interview, the hiring manager may ask, “What is your greatest achievement outside of work?” Interviewers ask this question because your response will reveal much about what motivates and inspires you.

Hiring managers are not just interested in your resume. They want to find quality individuals that they can invest in and rely on. This question helps them find out if your mindset will work well with the company policies and your potential coworkers.

View the achievement question as an opportunity to show your passion for personal growth and development.

Points to Emphasize

When you recall a good memory, you will naturally relive the emotions you experienced when the event took place.

This genuine response will shine through in the form of excitement. This real emotion is engaging, so don’t be afraid to let it show.

  • Choose something that you’ve done in the last 5 years.
  • Emphasize how the experience will help you be a good employee.
  • Include your motivation for accomplishing your goal.
  • Highlight qualities such as tenacity, focus and positive attitude.

Remember to stay positive and keep it professional. Even if your achievement was difficult, focus on the good to come out of the situation.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

In retrospect, people remember how you make them think and feel as opposed to your exact words. Thus, it is very important to be honest about which past event is most important to you.

  • Do not pick a work place achievement.
  • Do not choose an event that took place more than 5 years ago.
  • Do not focus on the negatives from the road to your past accomplishment.
  • Do not tell an anecdote that did not actually happen in your life.

Always keep your response professional. You are sharing a personal experience, but remain cognizant of where you are and the type of details that are appropriate in such a setting.

Sample Answer

Here is an example of a good answer to the greatest personal achievement question:

In an effort to be healthier, I recently lost about 40 pounds and started training for a marathon. Over the past two years, I’ve changed everything from my diet to my hobbies. It was difficult initially, but now, I’m ready for my first marathon next month. I’ve never had a problem with accomplishing a goal, but now I know I intimately understand the power of determination.

Remember, the hiring manager wants to find a good fit for the company, so don’t forget to sell what you bring to the company.

About the Author

LiveCareer Staff Writer

At LiveCareer, we live and breathe the belief that we can help people transform their work lives, and so do our contributors. Our experts come from a variety of backgrounds but have one thing in common: they are authorities on the job market. From journalists with years of experience covering workforce topics, to academics who study the theory behind employment and staffing, to certified resume writers whose expertise in the creation of application documents offers our readers insights into how to best wow recruiters and hiring managers, LiveCareer’s stable of expert writers are among the best in the business. Whether you are new to the workforce, are a seasoned professional, or somewhere in between, LiveCareer’s contributors will help you move the needle on your career and get the job you want faster than you think.


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