August 7, 2013
Chances are, this question will pop up during the interview process: “What’s your greatest accomplishment?” Interviewers want a sense of what you’re capable of as an employee—previous accomplishments can be an indicator of future performance. Forget about being humble—this is your time to shine!
Here are some suggestions to effectively talk about your greatest career accomplishment:
Make it Relevant
The key to answering this question is to describe a big accomplishment that relates to the desired position and is fairly recent. Although you might consider winning Prom King in high school a big accomplishment, instead, highlight an accomplishment from your professional experience or from your college years if you’re a new graduate. Consider the role’s requirements and try to describe an accomplishment that’s relevant to show how you can meet the company’s needs.
Focus on Specific Results
When answering questions about your accomplishments, it’s helpful to give the interviewer as much information as possible. Describe not only what you did, but how you did it and what the results were. For example, instead of “I redesigned the layout of Company X’s product pages, which helped the company increase sales,” you should say, “At Company X, we had a low rate of people purchasing products after they landed on one of the product overview pages. After performing some research and user testing, I developed a new layout for the product pages which brought more attention to the purchase button and limited links off the page, all of which increased our sales by 50%.”
If you can’t whittle down your many accomplishments to the greatest (lucky you!) or want to demonstrate a range of successes from your career, it’s acceptable to name a few. You can preface your answer with something along the lines of “I’ve had a number of big accomplishments in my life, and it is difficult to name just one. Some of my recent successes that are most relevant include…” or “My biggest accomplishments have revolved around developing simpler processes that turn into time-savers for my employers. For example…” and continue by listing off a few major accomplishments.
The achievement question is one of the most common interview questions you’ll come across in your job search. It’s important to be prepared with a number of past accomplishments to bring up in your conversation—especially those accomplishments that are relevant to the job and company. By highlighting achievements that align with the company’s needs, you can position yourself as the perfect candidate for the role.