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How To Answer What’s Your Greatest Personal Achievement

One common interview question you may encounter is what your greatest personal achievement/accomplishment has been in your life thus far. This question is a way for the hiring manager to learn more about you, your values, and what you consider important in your life. As they write in an article on Forbes, “Stories are the most important part of a job interview. When you tell the interviewer a story that shows how you came, saw and conquered, you’ve answered about twenty questions that the interviewer doesn’t even have to ask. You’ve told us how you roll. That’s the whole point of a job interview.” In today’s blog, we’ll share some ways you can answer this question confidently and honestly hopefully impressing the hiring manager and leading to the next phase in the hiring process.


Brainstorm and Prepare

In preparation for this type of interview question, start to brainstorm and think of two to three examples of the biggest personal life achievements that you’d feel comfortable sharing and highlight your strengths. In an article on Indeed, they write, “Put together two to three stories that you feel represent your best work as it relates to the position for which you’re applying. These examples can be stories that showcase your most interesting and impressive accomplishments. It’s a good idea to think of more than one example so you can tailor your story to different interviews. Plus, if you have more than one example ready, you can be prepared if the interviewer asks you to discuss your additional accomplishments. If you’re having trouble thinking of impressive achievements, consider the times that someone complimented or recognized you for your work. Think of ways you’ve made an impact in your previous positions, such as making it possible for you to complete a task faster or with fewer people, saving the company money or increasing revenue. If you’ve received a recent promotion, think of the reasons why the company may have promoted you.”


Be Honest

While it may be tempting to embellish or stretch the truth with your example, don’t do it. As with all interview questions and your resume, honesty is paramount. Getting caught in a lie is not a good look and is a quick and instant disqualifier. It’s also much easier to recall and give specific details if the story you’re sharing is the truth. Interviews are stressful enough, and sharing honest stories will help you feel more comfortable.


Connect it to the Job Description

Once you’ve thought of some good examples to share, the next step is to take a deep dive into the job description and company culture and see if your achievement can be tied to anything relevant. If you’re able to share an achievement that highlights the skills that are in the job description or one that is linked to the company culture, that will show you’ve been thorough and thoughtful enough to connect your story with the job/company. This will leave the hiring manager impressed you did so much research and homework ahead of time.


Utilize the Start Method

A lot of questions you’ll encounter in interviews can be laid out and answered using the STAR method which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. In an article on Glassdoor, they write, “While finding an accomplishment that’s relevant to what the company is looking for is an important first step, how you structure your story is also something you should consider. The way to best accomplish this is by using the STAR method. Using this method, you talk about the situation or problem you were facing, the task or role you played within the situation, the action you took to solve the problem, and the result you achieved.”