Job Interviews

How To Answer The Interview Question, ‘What Is Your Proudest Accomplishment?’

How To Answer The Interview Question, ‘What Is Your Proudest Accomplishment?’

‘What is your proudest accomplishment?’ is an often misunderstood job interview question (‘Tell me about yourself’’ is another one).

Related: How To Answer 5 Tricky Job Interview Questions

The mistake job seekers typically make with this question is to think about it in terms of their entire life story. So, they talk about finishing the Ironman competition, or (worse) bring up their kids. It’s not that these things aren’t wonderful—they are. Your job interview just isn’t the time or place to talk about them. Every single question in a job interview is another place that you need to be selling yourself for the job, and this question is no different. If you are asked to describe your greatest or proudest accomplishment, know that you MUST give a work-related answer.

Also, it must be an answer that relates to THIS job that you’re interviewing for. Otherwise, it doesn’t help you get the job. So, for instance, if you were interviewing for a sales job, you wouldn’t tell the story of when you solved a process problem that saved the company money. That’s a good thing, but it doesn’t say anything about how great you are in sales. You need to tell a story of how you made a big sale, or a complicated sale, or brought in a valuable new customer, or something like that. One way to formulate your answer is to make a list of your work accomplishments and choose one that would be impressive and help sell you for this new role. If you really want to target your answer, look at the job description for this new role and make a list of things you’ve done that match up with at least one of the requirements they’ve listed. Once you’ve got your example, construct your story. Don’t just say what the accomplishment was and leave it at that. Tell the story of what happened. The STAR technique is a great way to organize your thoughts (STAR is an acronym for Situation or Task, Action you took, and the Result you achieved). In your story, provide a few details. The best details quantify your accomplishment: How much time did your idea save the company? How many new customers did you bring in? How much money did you save by switching suppliers? By what percent did you increase efficiency? You reduced accidents by how much? Whatever it is, there must be some kind of bottom-line result. It doesn’t always have to be money…time is money, too. If you can tie your result to a quantifiable benefit for the company, that’s when you know you have a good answer.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert.