How to Answer Interview Questions – What Are Your Proudest Accomplishments?

What are some of your proudest accomplishments?

This is a popular job interview question and it ought to be an easy one…but most candidates don’t make themselves shine as much as they could with their answer.

One of the worst mistakes people make is to say their greatest or proudest accomplishment is some sort of personal accomplishment, like raising their two children. It is a beautiful thing to be proud of your kids, but the hiring manager really doesn’t care.  That can’t be the answer to this question.

Always remember where you are- at a job interview. Good interview strategy requires that everything you say in the interview is focused on selling you, your skills and abilities for the job. 

The answer to this question, then, must be something relating directly to your work. Perhaps you were awarded an achievement award after being in a position for only a year, or you were recognized as the “something,” or you figured out a solution for a particularly sensitive problem that the company had been struggling with for a long time. 

Whatever “story” you tell in answer to this question MUST be work-related: awards, accomplishments, successes, etc.

If you fail to give a work-related answer, you could lose out to a candidate who is not necessarily a better candidate, but who is better able to focus on the world of work rather than on their personality or family. 

It could also be a mistake to say something work-related but not particularly relevant for this job. For instance: let’s say you solved a complicated technical problem, coming up with answers that required advanced knowledge and serious expertise, but you’re interviewing for a sales position. The hiring manager doesn’t really care about your technical knowledge; what they want to know is “Can you make a sale?”

This question also needs a little prior thought before the interview. Consider your proudest accomplishments at work, even going so far as to make a list. Then choose one that would somehow pertain to this position and be especially impressive to this company. Another thing that might help would be to reread the job description and then think about impressive things you’ve done that match up with at least one of those requirements. 

When telling about your proudest accomplishment, be strategic and choose an example that directly relates to this job. Don’t forget to provide details of the accomplishment and try to quantify those accomplishments as much as you can; hiring managers are impressed by numbers and percentages, especially when they’re related to increases, gains and profits. This question offers a chance to brag, so, don’t be afraid to be honest, show off your successes and give them what they want; you’ll have a better chance of finding yourself in the job that you want.

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