How to Answer “What Is Your Greatest Achievement?” Interview Question
What is your ACHIEVEMENT – Generally asked to know whether a candidate has any success in his/her life or not. It’s hard if you’re a new graduate without much to draw on, and it’s even harder when looking back on the bunch of smaller accomplishments over the course of your career. Furthermore, you may not even consider your greatest achievement to be work related; you might consider it to be an event in your private life.
Most people don’t have one big accomplishment that stands above all others. And anyway, for people who do have one big accomplishment that could very well be a private matter. Maybe they overcame terrible hardship growing up. Maybe they’re raising a child with special needs.
A lot of interviewers are stuck in the past. They can’t get off the script. They’re going to ask you “What’s your greatest accomplishment?” and you’re going to have to answer. Clearly, you don’t want to go on and on with any one answer. So figure out your key points ahead of time, and do your best to keep your response to a few minutes tops.
Talk about yourself within the context of the organization in a way that highlights your abilities and confidence in what you’re good at, but it shouldn’t come off as bragging. Or that the co-workers were lost without your brilliance. As great as you may be, you still need others to want to work with you.
Describe the challenge you were up against, your plan of attack and the success you saw on the other side. Use the opportunity to relate what you’ve accomplished to the position you’re applying for, and show off how your achievement could benefit the company if you were hired.
You’d be smart to think about your answer to this question in advance, before somebody asks you to talk about your greatest accomplishment.
Don’t attempt to be funny, silly or cute. Take the question seriously and answer it professionally. Don’t talk down about someone else in an attempt to make yourself look better and keep your story positive; overcoming an instance in which you were a victim isn’t a situation the interviewer wants to hear about.
And if your greatest accomplishment to date happened outside the work arena, that’s a perfectly fine choice. Just make sure that in your answer you find ways to connect your skills to where you want to go next.