How to Answer “What is Your Greatest Achievement?” and Other Achievement-Related Interview Questions

Right now you’re in a tough spot because a hiring manager is about to ask you that all-too-familiar question: “What is your biggest accomplishment?” Your heart starts to beat faster, and your mind starts to think even faster.

Weve all been there. Do not worry, though. You can answer this interview question well, and we’ll be here to help you every step of the way.

This blog post will show you how to write an amazing answer to the question “What is your biggest accomplishment?” that will stick with people for a long time. With our tips, you’ll be able to pick the right accomplishment, show how it made a difference, and show what makes you special.

Okay, so grab a coffee and settle in. Let’s learn how to talk about your proudest moments like a pro.

Interviewers frequently ask questions about achievements and accomplishments to assess candidates beyond their basic skills and qualifications. By probing into a candidate’s major achievements, interviewers gain insight into their abilities to set ambitious goals, overcome challenges, and deliver impactful results.

In this article, we’ll explore examples, strategies, and tips to help you craft winning responses to popular achievement-focused interview questions.

Why Interviewers Ask About Achievements

Achievement questions aim to reveal key insights about a candidate

  • Ability to set stretch goals – Achievements demonstrate the ability to establish challenging goals beyond basic expectations. This shows ambition and vision.

  • Problem-solving skills – Overcoming obstacles to accomplish goals reflects strong analytical thinking, resourcefulness, and perseverance.

  • Leadership and influence – Major achievements often require rallying others, developing influence, and directing teams. This demonstrates leadership potential.

  • Impact orientation – Achievements reveal candidates who drive measurable impact vs simply going through the motions. This highlights drive.

  • Performance under pressure – Overcoming adversity and pushing limits to achieve something exceptional reflects grace under pressure.

Common Achievement Interview Questions

Some frequent achievement-related questions candidates may encounter:

  • What is your greatest achievement?
  • What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  • What is your biggest accomplishment in your current/previous role?
  • Have you ever accomplished something you did not think you could?
  • Tell me about a time you achieved difficult goals.
  • Give an example of when you showed exceptional initiative.
  • Walk me through how you overcame a major obstacle.

Interviewers may also ask about specific categories of achievements based on the role such as leadership, technical, research, etc However, expect questions that allow you to provide your unique stories and examples

Crafting Your Achievement Stories

Your achievement examples and stories should highlight specific situations that showcased your capabilities. Structure them using the STAR interview response technique:

Situation – Provide brief context and set the stage for your achievement story.

Task – Explain the challenges, goals, and obstacles faced. Quantify stretch targets.

Action – Elaborate the steps you took, skills used, and perseverance to drive results.

Result – Share the impact and results delivered. Use metrics and numbers to quantify the achievement.

Set the stage briefly, focus most of your response on the actions you took, and close with the results achieved. Interviewers look for the thought process and behaviors that drove an achievement vs just the end accomplishment.

Tips for Responding to Achievement Questions

1. Choose relevant, impactful examples – Select achievements that relate to the role you are interviewing for. Focus on major accomplishments vs routine tasks.

2. Quantify your targets and impact – Use numbers, stats, percentages, etc. to emphasize stretch goals and outsized impact.

3. Spotlight soft skills and behaviors – How you achieved something can be even more impressive than what you achieved. Highlight competencies.

4. Align to company values – Tailor your achievements to resonate with the organization’s mission and principles.

5. Be concise yet compelling – Keep answers focused but include engaging details that add color to your achievement stories.

6. Be honest and avoid exaggeration – Make your achievements bold but believable. Authenticity builds trust.

7. Practice often – Refine your achievement stories and delivery through mock interviews. Internalize them vs sounding scripted.

8. Engage your interviewer – Welcome follow up questions. Achievement discussions provide a chance to showcase your passion.

Examples of Strong Achievement Stories

Now let’s look at some illustrative examples of achievement stories using the STAR approach:

Situation – I was managing a software project that was seriously behind schedule and over budget. Task – My goal was to get the project back on track for an urgent client delivery deadline in just two months. Action – I worked extensive hours to diagnose issues. I identified wasted efforts, created a revised plan, brought on extra resources, and met daily with the team to drive progress through motivation vs micromanagement. Result – We delivered an expanded product scope on time for the client launch that substantially increased customer satisfaction. I helped save the project from failure.

Situation – Our 30% quarter-over-quarter growth was stalling due to lack of customer conversions. Task – I aimed to improve conversion rates by at least 25% over 6 months to reignite our growth. Action – I spearheaded an initiative to overhaul our web landing pages and improve messaging. I persuaded other leaders this was vital though not urgent. I had the team run A/B tests and iteratively optimize based on data. Result – We increased conversion rates by over 27% through continuous small improvements, getting our growth trajectory back on track.

Situation – Our engineering team was struggling with low morale and lack of unity. Task – I sought to improve team morale and create a more collaborative culture. Action – I actively listened to understand frustrations. I created new social events, recognition programs, and communication rituals that involved the whole team. I coached struggling engineers. Result – Our team engagement scores steadily improved over 18 months. Engineers cited the increased support and feeling of community I helped instill.

Takeaway Tips for Achievement Questions

  • Prepare 2-3 strong STAR stories – Have compelling examples ready spanning different skills and past roles. Practice them.

  • Highlight both the results achieved and how you drove them – Interviewers look for the behaviors and process behind an accomplishment.

  • Tie achievements to transferable skills – Explain how the competencies you exhibited apply more broadly.

  • Engage your interviewer – Ask clarifying questions, welcome follow ups, and let your passion show.

Achievement questions allow candidates to showcase their aspirations, abilities, and acumen. With preparation and practice, you can craft persuasive, authentic responses that highlight your potential and impress interviewers. Emphasize both the extraordinary outcomes you’ve driven as well as the skills and perseverance you leveraged to accomplish them. Let your achievements demonstrate the value you can continue bringing to future roles.

5 Ways NOT To Answer “What is your biggest accomplishment?”

One common mistake is sharing an achievement that is unrelated to the position or lacks significance. Make sure your answer fits the job requirements and focuses on a big accomplishment that shows off your skills and abilities.

Tips on how to answer “What is your biggest achievement?”

When selecting your biggest achievement, consider the specific skills and qualities that the employer is looking for.

Tailor your response to align with the requirements of the position.

For instance, if you’re applying for a job in sales, you could talk about a time when you surpassed your sales goals and helped the company make more money. This demonstrates your ability to drive results and meet business objectives.

When discussing your achievement, emphasize the positive impact it had on the organization, team, or project. Clearly articulate the outcomes and results that were achieved.

If you changed a process that made it more efficient, for example, list the percentage of time or money saved as a result of the change. Quantifying the impact helps the recruiter understand the significance of your achievement.

Provide specific details about your achievement to make your answer more compelling.

Explain the challenges you encountered, the actions you took to address them, and the strategies you employed. This showcases your problem-solving abilities and demonstrates your capacity to overcome obstacles.

For example, if you led a cross-functional team to successfully launch a new product, describe the exact steps you took to make sure everyone worked together well and the product was delivered on time.

How to Answer “What Is Your Greatest Achievement?” Interview Question!

How do you answer interview questions about your biggest achievement?

When answering interview questions about your greatest achievement, aim for a detailed but concise response, ideally within 60-90 seconds. Confidence is key, so be prepared to sound self-assured and showcase your accomplishments. This is not the time to be humble or timid.

How many accomplishment interview questions are there?

Contact us here. Practice 15 Accomplishment Interview Questions. Written by professional interviewers with 105 answer examples and 75 community answer examples.

Why do interviewers ask about your greatest accomplishment?

Interviewers ask about your greatest accomplishment to gain insight into your proven work and what achievements you view as most valuable and important. When they ask this question, they’re interested in learning about three main things:

What type of achievement should you share in a job interview?

The best answers to the interview question ‘What Is Your Greatest Achievement?’ will show the hiring manager that your greatest accomplishment is both impressive and also relevant to their team’s needs. Follow these steps to determine what type of achievement you should share in the job interview: 1.

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