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What's Your Greatest Accomplishment?

On14/ 09 /17


The question “What’s your greatest accomplishment” is another interview favourite that asks you to sell yourself and your skills. 

Many of us can find this question tricky, perhaps because we don’t feel comfortable ‘blowing our own trumpet’. However, by using practical examples you should be able to answer this question with flying colours.

What does the interviewer want to know?

How you answer this question will reveal your work ethic, values and how you view success. The interviewer wants to hear how you work at your best and whether you are motivated to do well.

Common pitfalls

Always try to relate what you’ve accomplished directly to the position you’re applying for. The temptation here is to tell a long-winded story that isn’t strictly relevant to the role. 

Perhaps you won a tennis tournament or completed a marathon? The hiring manager may be impressed by your achievements but unless you can somehow tie this to the position, this is unlikely to be the answer they’re looking for. 

Equally, don’t try to be funny or sarcastic. If you want to come across well, it’s important to take the question seriously.

How to answer the question well

This is your opportunity to tell the interviewer what sets you apart from other candidates. As for any other behavioural question, you can structure your answer using the STAR method.

STAR stands for situation, task, approach and results. You can briefly describe the situation, the task in question, the approach you adopted and the final outcome.

Whatever example you chose, you also want to highlight the skills and attributes that enabled you to succeed and why. Ideally, you want to come to the interview with a few different examples in mind to help ease the nerves.

How can I pick a good example?

Your example needs to be relevant and ideally an achievement at work. For example, you could talk about a big project that you managed, a process that you streamlined or a difficult situation that you diffused successfully.

As a starting point, go through the job description and note down all your skills and attributes that match. Next, think of examples that demonstrate these in practice.

If you are a recent graduate, you could use an example from your studies or a part-time job where you showed skills that could be relevant to the role. In this instance, try to find the closest possible example with a work context that you can.

Some example answers

“I’m very proud that I’ve nurtured the skills of my team members and helped them to grow. I have invested the time to produce a development plan for each team member and schedule regular catch-ups and actions to help support the achievement of their goals. Two of my team have been promoted in the last year.”

“My greatest achievement at work has to be the client feedback I have received. I organise my time to ensure that all client queries are answered promptly and regularly call clients to make sure that they have everything they need. We send out a bi-annual client feedback survey and my ratings have consistently been excellent.”

If you’re getting ready for your next interview, our series of blogs are here to help.
Why not take a look at last month’s post “Tell Me About A Time Your Made A Mistake” or view our ‘Interview and CV Tips’ section?
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