What is your greatest achievement

How To Answer Interview Questions: What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment?

“What is your greatest achievement”? is one of the numerous interview questions that recruiters pose to job seekers that come for open positions in their organizations. While preparing for an interview, you should expect to be asked about your accomplishments. But unfortunately, most people find it difficult to come up with a convincing answer, addressing the question. One of the reasons for this is that they misunderstood the motives of the interviewer. The interviewer simply wants to know more about the accomplishments of the job-seekers.

Here, we want to establish why the question is vital, what the interviewer seeks to ascertain about the job seeker with the question and how best to address the question to increase your chances of landing the position.


Understanding the Reasons, this Question Comes Up?

People fail to effectively answer this question because they are not on the same page with the interviewers. They answer the question based on their understanding and fail to give the interviewers what they want to know about your ability based on those achievements.

The first thing you should consider when going for an interview is that they are other candidates for the job. So this question is another way to sieve out those they deemed not suitable for the job. Thus, you should take this question seriously.

The main objective of the question is to analyze your behavioral qualities and how you can work with other people. Note that in answering the question, you may not necessarily use an accomplishment in a related field to the job, but it does help if it aligns with the job.

When you understand that they want to know about your behavior attributes and what you have achieved based on that, you can answer this question effectively without feeling too ambitious or arrogant. It is not a tricky question to determine your level of arrogance, but a direct question that needs an honest and detailed answer about your best accomplishments.

From experience, we have established that the interviewers seek to know the following when asking the question:

  • The interviewers seek to use this as criteria to qualify the candidates.
  • They seek to ascertain behavioral attributes based on the information provided by the job seeker with this question.
  • To determine that the job seeker is truthful, showing no sign of arrogance in addressing their accomplishments.
  • Also, the interviewers can determine the value the job seeker can bring to the company. They will evaluate the applicant’s value to the position based on their accomplishment.
  • To determine if their success and abilities will coincide with the aims and objectives of the company.
  • To determine their soft skills that will be suitable for the available position, such as communication skills, leadership positions, creativity, problem-solving, and much more.
  • To determine if you have the right ambition for the job and take the company to the next level.

We have established the objectives from the point of view of the interviewers. And in doing so, you can answer the question properly to give the interviewer all the information they will need and increase your chances of getting the job.


How to Prepare and Answer the Question “What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment?

Since you will be asked this question, it will be crucial that you perform well to increase your chances of getting the job. Before and during the interview, consider these approaches to enable you to come out on top in the interview process.


  1. Highlight the values that made you achieve the accomplishment

In asking about your accomplishments, the interviewers seek to know more about those personal attributes that made you stand out and attain those accomplishments. For example, if your greatest achievement with your previous employer was the salesperson with the highest sales, you should focus more on those values you possess that made you attain that accomplishment, like the ability to convince customers with your sales pitch.

When you have stated the accomplishment, you should then focus on those personal attributes like being punctual, good follow-ups, providing value to the customers, good communication skills, and working as a team to get the job done.  It is paramount that you spell out these attributes along with the accomplishments. The interviewers will then determine the value you can bring to the company and how their organization can profit from it.


  1. Research the company and what they seek in their employees

Now it is normal to research a company before you go for the interview. However, for this question, you will be doing deeper research to learn about the company’s structure and attitude. Learn from the employee’s point of view what is expected of them in the workplace.

If you can learn more directly from someone working in the company, it can help you with insights into the attitude expected in the workplace. With this knowledge and all you gather from your research, you can direct your answers toward the company’s objectives. For example, if you know it is an organization that encourages teamwork, then you should emphasize how being a good team player has made you attain that accomplishment.

Responding to the question to address the aim and objective of the company based on the research, you will improve your chances of impressing the interviewers.


  1. Be honest with your accomplishments.

It may be tempting to paint your accomplishments in a way that would hype you. But you should stick to the truth and avoid over-emphasizing your accomplishments, thinking it may impress the interviewers. You can provide facts and evidence about your accomplishments when called upon, so you must stick to the truth.

It will help to list all your relevant achievements, write them down, and analyze them right before the interview. Lay down a proper strategy on how to spell out the accomplishments before the interview day.


  1. Ensure that the accomplishments are relevant and recent.

It would be best if you used recent references in your accomplishments. The interviewers want you to express your present behavior, which they can only ascertain from recent accomplishments. Also, by finding out about the company, you can tailor your accomplishments based on the company’s perceived needs.


Tips for Answering the Question “What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment?”

  1. It would be best if you avoid unnecessary repetition when answering the question. You should not keep repeating a keyword because it is associated with the company’s needs. It becomes vague when you keep repeating one attribute thinking it is what the interviewers need to hear.
  2. You do not have to provide a long list of accomplishments. The interviewers will get confused with many accomplishments, especially if they are not relevant to the job description. Use your most recent and relevant accomplishments in answering this question.
  3. In trying to portray your attributes, do not undermine anybody or take all the glory for a team effort. Be sincere about the role you played as a team member. Undermining others will be distasteful to the interviewers, and may discredit you as a team player.
  4. Don’t make informal statements or jokes. Keep it formal and direct at all times.
  5. Keep your answers short and direct, not straying outside the question.


Interview Questions

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