Job Interview Question & Answer: What is Your Greatest Achievement?
Why Managers Ask This Question
When hiring managers ask questions like “What is your biggest achievement?”, they are trying to get a better sense of what you value and how you define success. They want to know what sets you apart from other qualified candidates if hired.
How to Answer Appropriately
Answering a question such as “What is your greatest accomplishment?” allows you to influence how the interviewer sees you. It’s an opportunity to show how qualified you are and what an impressive worker you can be. To answer this question, practice talking confidently about your accomplishments and ensure that your examples relate to the job you want.
What to Avoid Saying
Interviewers want to hear you describe your best work or what makes you proud. Don’t take credit for team projects, rather express how a contribution you made to a process helped with it’s success. Be careful not to act full of yourself, and don’t use disciplinary scenarios to boast about power.
How to Answer “What is Your Best Accomplishment?”
During an interview, you might hear different versions of this question. A hiring manager could ask, “What was your best achievement in your most recent job?” or they might ask you to tell a story about a time you felt proud at work.
Have a list of three to five specific examples or stories when an interviewer starts with questions like, “Tell me about a time you went above and beyond…,”. Here are some ideal topics for talking about “What is your greatest accomplishment?”:
- Planning a big project
- Contributing to a company’s goal
- How you solved a challenging problem
- Going out of your way to help others
- Personal goals you met that had an important impact
- Leadership experience in school or as a volunteer
For those who need a little more guidance about how to answer “What is your greatest accomplishment?”, the following examples can teach you how to prepare your own answers. Remember to tailor your response to the position and be able to clearly explain how the examples relate to the job.
Sample Answer 1 – Customer Service Rep at a Department Store
“At my last customer service job, I had to deal with a product recall. We got many complaints from agitated patrons. In order to make people feel heard, and keep my coworkers from getting overwhelmed, I made a script for handling a complaint, and it worked very well.”
“We were able to take a calm, even approach to the situation, which made everyone feel at ease and increased efficiency and progress. The customer’s dispositions lightened as they could tell we had everything under control, and we were able to handle the recalls and complaints with no further issues.”
Sample Answer 2 – Cashier Job at a Fast Food Restaurant“So far, my greatest accomplishment was organizing a food drive at my high school. They needed volunteers, so I took the initiative. I had to pick a charity, find workers to run the donation table, organize shifts, advertise around the area, and coordinate a drop off time with the organization.”
“The drive ended up being the most successful the school had run in ten years. By being prepared and organized, we were able to help distribute a record number of donations. The same organizational skills would apply to a busy lunch shift, people need to get their food quickly and without issue.”
During an interview, you may be asked to describe a time you felt the most successful or accomplished. Managers ask this question because they want to know how you view success and what you can bring to the company. Keep your examples specific towards skills the position requires and highlight your most successful moments.