When it comes to all of the questions you can expect to hear in an interview, “Tell me about an accomplishment you’re proud of,” or “What’s your greatest achievement?” is one of the easiest to answer. Employers ask this question to know what you accomplished in the past and to learn more about your work ethic. That’s pretty much all there is to it.
Here’s the deal:
While this interview question isn’t the most difficult to answer, it takes some strategy and finesse to come up with a response good enough to impress an employer and make them want to hire you. You have to make it relevant to the job, while also showing that your biggest motivator is helping the company, and not just yourself.
With that in mind, here are 5 tips for honing in your humblebragging skills and to give the best answer to the question “What is your greatest achievement?”
The most important part of answering this question is to make it relevant to the job at hand. When you’re preparing your response to this question, review the job posting and make a list of the qualifications and skills that line up with your resume. Then, connect the dots and think of some accomplishments that show you actively using these skills to your previous company’s benefit.
Describing an accomplishment that relates to the job is a great way to show that you’re the perfect candidate to bring success to the position you’re applying for.
Make sure you have a story to add some credibility to your accomplishment. Give a specific example of what you did in your previous job. Give the interviewer context about the the task and the specific outcome that you achieved.
Hiring managers know that you’re not a miracle worker who can instantly solve all of their problems. They just want to see that you’re an effective worker who has the ability to solve problems. Think about the times that you went above and beyond your daily duties and how they had a positive effect on the company. Having specific examples will show that you can actually back up your claims and that you’re not just all talk.
It’s easy to look around at others who have been in their career longer than you and start to feel down on yourself for where you are now and what you’ve accomplished so far, but that doesn’t mean you’re not a good worker, or that you’ll be any less successful.
When you think about your most valuable accomplishments, don’t sell yourself short. Give yourself some credit, even if your greatest accomplishment involved working with another colleague. Every work-related achievement is a great opportunity to learn valuable workplace skills, whether they be team work, or how to use a specific software.
Here’s an easy template to get you started:
“My team achieved our goal of [goal your team was working toward]. My part of the project was [your duties]. While this project wasn’t revolutionary, I’m proud of it because I learned [skill or concept you learned that relates to the job]. Because of this experience, next I time I run into this challenge, I’ll be able to use my newfound abilities with [skill or concept].”
When you’re talking about your most impressive accomplishments, make sure to choose one that shows how you helped the company you were working for, and even added value to their business.
For example, maybe you increased productivity, reduced the budget on a specific project, or made improved efficiency on certain tasks or processes. Make the focus of your success on the company instead of yourself. This will show the interviewer that you’re motivated to help the company improve, and that you’re not just focused on looking out for yourself.
While you definitely want to play up your strengths and achievements, you don’t want to be that person that goes on and on forever about how wonderful and awesome they are. It’s normal to want to tell an interviewer every single detail about a successful project, but just try to give them the watered-down version. If they want to know more, they’ll ask some follow up questions.
Unless the hiring manager has already decided if they want to hire you or not, they’re probably going to ask you more questions about your awesome achievements — but if you ramble about them forever, it’s going to be difficult to have a two sided conversation, and interviews are all about making a genuine connection with the employer. Plus, you’ll look super arrogant.
“Last quarter, my team was behind on our sales quota. We were having trouble selling our product, despite our best marketing efforts. However, I came up with a new marketing strategy involving social media campaigns that increased our sales by 200%. I could go on about this project, but I want to be able to get to all of your other questions.”
Brief, descriptive, and leaves room for questions. Try it out during your next interview.
Talking about your biggest and most impressive achievements is a great opportunity to have some fun and humblebrag about your skills and work ethic. Employers ask about your biggest accomplishments to learn more about your successes and how motivated you are in the workplace.
Make sure that you use this opportunity to show off your qualifications and make yourself stand out from other candidates. Show employers that your biggest motivator for getting results is to help the company, and not just to make yourself look good.
If you follow these steps to give the best answer possible, you’re one step closer to getting the job of your dreams!