You're in the interview, and the employer asks:
"What is your greatest achievement?"
This is one of the most common interview questions, and for most people, this can be a challenging question to answer.
So how do go about answering professionally, while still showing the employer just how awesome you are?
1. Prep Some Examples Beforehand
"Tell me about your greatest achievement," is an example of a behavioral question.
Employers use behavioralquestions to see how you've handled past situations, and to get a sense of your ability to perform in a position.
To prep for this tricky behavioral question: Start by making a list of accomplishments and example scenarios that are relevant to the job and employer.
2. Be Specific
Once you have your list, you'll want to narrow it down to 1-2 of your strongest examples.
If possible, choose recent examples.
In your example:
Describe the practical skills and specific strategies or steps used that enabled you to succeed.
Explain any obstacles or challenges you encountered and how you were able to overcome them.
Describe the results of your achievement, and if possible, quantify them.
Talk about any useful knowledge or insights gained during the process.
3. Use The STAR Method To Frame Your Answer
A handy tip is to use the STAR method to help frame and organize your answer.
The STAR method stands for: Situation, Task, Action, Result
Situation: Describe the situation/scenario.
Action: Describe what actions and strategies you took.
Task: Describe what needed to be done.
Result: Describe the results of your achievement.
Example 1: Answer For A Customer Service Role
Situation — At the local market, a customer had purchased quite a large order and was having difficulties transferring their items to their car.
Task — Someone on staff needed to assist the customer.
Action — Although I was on my break, I was aware that the other clerks were busy helping customers, so I offered to help that customer with their items.
Result — The next day, we received a message from the customer addressed to the manager. They were really impressed by my customer service and wanted to thank me! As a result, I was promoted on the spot to Customer Service Rep.
Example 2: Answer For An Administative Role
Situation — Our team was struggling to make the monthly quotas for our fundraisers.
Task — As the Program Assistant, I was tasked with helping out the fundraising team with contacting potential donors.
Action — I helped out my team by creating a plan for us to divide up the call list and to set goals for each day for the number of calls for each team member to aim for.
Result — My idea helped to increase the number of donors contacted daily, which led to an increase in our daily quotas achieved for our team.
4. Avoid These Common Mistakes
Being too modest - this can undermine your accomplishments.
Speaking negatively about past employers or staff - this reflects poorly on you.
Making something up or exaggerating your achievements - they want to get to know YOU.
Ready to impress? Take some time to prep for the interview and to craft your answer!