Very rarely are any questions during an interview straightforward. They’re strategic; they help the interviewer or hiring manager learn more about you as a person and whether you’d be the right fit in their organization.

One of those questions is likely to be, “What is your greatest achievement?” It can be pretty complicated to navigate, as you don’t want to be too humble and undersell yourself, but you also don’t want to be too self-absorbed or brag too much.

You also need to make sure it’s an actual achievement and relevant enough to impress the hiring manager. Select the wrong achievement and use a poorly-structured answer and you’re likely to leave a negative impression instead. Don’t worry; use our tips below to help you navigate this answer like a pro that will leave hiring managers eager to offer you the position.

Tips on Choosing the Right Answer

Try and pick an achievement that’s as recent as possible. Also, make it relevant to the job you want or your career. It isn’t always possible, but try to select the achievement that has genuinely had a significant impact on you and others around you. The more recent it is, the more valuable you can come across.

Make sure your achievement is specific, too. The best way to get this across is by highlighting results. Show what you did, how you did it, why it was a significant accomplishment and the end outcome.

Another tip to help you structure a valuable answer is to select a professional achievement rather than a personal one. Even if the hiring manager doesn’t specifically state the type of achievement, always start with the professional one. That’s because they usually leave it open to interpretation and choosing a professional one will make planning easier.

You’ll be ready with the most important achievement and if they ask for a personal one, you can select the one you’re proud of. Chances are, in a job interview, they’ll want a workplace-related achievement, so make sure it’s relevant.

9 Examples to Inspire Your Answers

  1. In my last role, our development team lost a colleague to a competitor. He was leading a client project and nobody had the Python skills to that level. Since I had the experience, I found a replacement to take over the project I was a part of and volunteered to take the lead development role of the project requiring Python skills. It meant both projects were finished on time, we received positive reviews and created additional revenue streams.
  2. My greatest achievement is rebuilding my last workplace’s marketing team. A poor line manager resulted in people leaving; then the decision was made to let the line manager go. I was brought in to help create new marketing plans and mentored four new colleagues to build a trustworthy environment. Since then, we’ve had two promotions within the team, positive NPS scores and an extra $50,000 in revenue.
  3. I received employee of the month on three occasions, back to back. I worked in sales and customer service and helped by offering my services in overtime when the company needed them. At the end of the year, it was announced that I received the most positive customer responses and achieved the second-most sales.
  4. My proudest achievement is launching the design and development department in my last workplace. We acquired another agency, but employees didn’t want to relocate. I interviewed and hired eight people, trained them, onboarded them and within 18 months, we started to regularly bring in the most revenue — 12% more than the other departments on average.
  5. Two years ago, I was thrown into the deep end by becoming the development lead overnight. I was hired to lead a multi-national project in the Nordic region, liaising with big-name CEOs. Within a year, I developed great relationships with them all, we delivered projects on time and they signed off on another $3 million project, which we finished last month.
  6. The end-of-year feedback I received from my team is my greatest achievement. In my last role, leadership was new to me, but I was determined to create a healthy, respectful relationship with the five people I was responsible for managing. We not only got on well, but my mentorship and learning how each one works best has seen them all receive promotions, salary increases and be responsible for 20% of all revenue coming into the business.
  7. My greatest achievement was in the third week of my last organization. I realized the company was using an outdated tech stack. Rather than using poor tools, I got out of my comfort zone to pitch three new design and development tools to our board. Within weeks, I achieved sign-off and was responsible for training the team. It saved us 30% in time to deliver projects and helped us modernize the business.
  8. My greatest achievement was completing 11 coding courses in my spare time over the summer while working full-time and raising my family. I managed to lead the team in sales once more, upskill my team, onboard new hires while chasing my passion outside of work. It’s unlocked new skills which I can bring to this organization and finally chase my dream career.
  9. My proudest achievement is delivering workshops to our clients. They aren’t the most tech-savvy people and I’ve never been a confident public speaker. I got out of my comfort zone to walk them through our tools and processes that they can adopt if needed. Since then, I’ve spoken at two events and have been commissioned by another organization to host five more workshops at universities.

Final Thoughts

The easiest way to find and structure an answer regarding your greatest achievement is to use the STAR method. It’s where you set the scene, explain your responsibility, highlight your actions and reveal the outcomes. By following our tips above, you’re likely to leave a great impression on the hiring manager.

For more tips, tricks and advice to help you excel in your career, make sure to head over to our blog.

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