Interview Questions: What is your greatest career achievement?

Translation:

Do you work on deliverables? Can you identify when you attain your deliverable?

Other versions of the question:

  1. Which accomplishment are you most proud of?
  2.   If you were to retire today, which project will you look back at in your retirement party and feel absolutely accomplished?

Important to note:

  • This is the most important behavioral interview question your interviewer will ask. The answer you give not only provides an insight of your values, but a peak at your commitment, tenacity, persistence and ability to prioritize.
  • Your answer should be related to your career. If you are a beginner, talk about something you did that stemmed out of passion; like volunteering, or how you exceeded your supervisor’s expectations during internship.
  • You can also talk about a particular roadblock at work that you overcame. Success in handling customers or suppliers can also be termed as achievements.
  • Your answer should highlight the processes that led to you attaining the achievement in question.
  • Ensure that you have your three most cherished achievements and their details on your fingertips just in case the interviewer is interested in knowing more.
  • Make sure your achievements are tangible and measureable. E.g in sales give actual numbers, in customer service state awards given and if certificates are available, present them. However, be careful not to give away confidential information that might not only present legal consequences to you, but also make the interviewer wary that you have confidentiality issues.

 

Pitfalls to avoid when answering this question:

  • Being unprepared for this question is a guaranteed failure. If this question finds you by surprise you will stumble through the answers and will most likely forget items that might actually make you stand out.
  • Have more than one achievement, in case the interviewer is more interested in your projects.
  • Avoid giving achievements that are not related to your career or the position you are applying for.
  • Do not give negative achievements. For instance, stating how funding for projects in your previous employment were always pulled out at the last minute which resulted in massive layoffs and you achieved by avoiding the layoffs.
  • An achievement is usually something outside your normal job description. Do not state how you performing what is expected of you as an accomplishment. E.g do not say ‘I was never late for the whole of last year.’ Or ‘I handed in all my accounting reports in time.’ Your interviewer wants to hear how you helped take the department you were in to another level, not how you helped maintain the status quo.

Sample response: “I have had several outstanding achievements throughout. My most recent and what I consider the most outstanding is when I led my department in winning the Customer Service Award in the region. I lead a customer service team of 15 members. Our services are carried out via phone, email and various social media platforms. We launched a social media campaign early last year and by the time competition for the award was set in motion at the end of the year, we already were a force to reckon with. We already had overwhelmingly positive reviews and there is a marked improvement in sales as a result of customer referral. Credit for the award goes to my team for unique and creative problem solving solutions, immediate response to queries 24 hours a day, timely and effective follow up and pure raw passion for customer satisfaction. I am proud to have led such an incredible team and I hope to bring with me the same passion and enthusiasm for customer service.

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