How To Answer The “What Has Been Your Biggest Achievement?” Question

By Amy Edwards | Small Business

When it comes to job interviews, it goes without saying that some questions are always more likely to crop up than others, regardless of the role you’ve applied for and the industry you work in. Now, we’ve covered a lot of these questions and how to answer them before in our ‘Interview Advice‘ section, but there are still a few we’ve yet to discuss – and one of those is of course the ‘key/biggest achievement’ question.

With this type of question, the employer is obviously looking for an insight into who you are as a professional – and how successful you are – but they’re also keen to find out what makes you tick as a person, and what you personally feel are your biggest successes.

It can be hard to know where to start when trying to prepare for this kind of question – and, like many job interview questions, there’s no ‘perfect’ answer – because the answer you give will all come down to your personal experience and career successes.

That said; whatever your experience, it’s always a good idea to keep your answer as relevant to the role in question as possible. OK, so you might be proud of the fact you’ve got a beautiful family or that you own a five bedroom mansion – but that’s not really what the employer is interested in.

As I said earlier, with this question, they want to hear about your career highs – and how they might relate to the position they’re interviewing you for – so when preparing for this question, consider what the aims of the role are – and what success you’ve had in the past that would be relevant.

Have you managed to effectively double the number of inbound calls a business has had? Did you implement a new strategy which helped to increase ROI by 30 percent? Did you create a new platform or website which has been hugely popular?

How To Answer The “What Has Been Your Biggest Achievement?” Question image interview key2 300x199.jpgHow To Answer The “What Has Been Your Biggest Achievement?” QuestionWith this question, the employer is interested in your personal successes – so if you’re going to reference projects, it goes without saying that you need to ensure you were actively involved with them – and not just sitting on the sidelines! Consider which successful projects you’ve had an active role in – and how you personally contributed to this success.

Remember, with this type of answer, it doesn’t have to all be about stats. A big achievement for you could have been coding a simple website (if you’re not a natural developer!) – or it could have been negotiating and managing a partnership which helped to increase the profile of both brands.

Whatever achievement you choose to reference, be sure to explain the background of the situation, what the aims were, what the results were, how the results were achieved – and what your personal role was.

Obviously, if you’re a graduate or you’re applying for your first ‘real’ job outside of education, you might not have much career experience that you can dip into – let alone relevant achievements. In this situation, just like your CV, it’s important to use the experience and achievements that you do have – and try and make them relevant to the role.

For example, you might have successfully managed a team in your SU bar on the busiest night of the year. Your achievements could be £xx taken on the bar, with just xx number of staff – and you achieved this by implementing strategy A, B, and C. This would show you have initiative, strong management skills, and can work well under pressure – three traits any employer would look for in a candidate.

With this type of question, although they ask for your ‘biggest achievement’, there’s actually no harm in naming a few if you can’t whittle it down to just one. If you do name a few, be sure to choose achievements which show off a range of skills – this way, you’ll avoid sounding like a one trick pony!

The last thing to say with this question is that while the employer is looking for you to obviously discuss your key achievements, you need to be careful not to brag. Remember, you’re interviewing for a job, you’re not trying to become Lord Sugar’s new Apprentice – so try and sound professional and avoid making any radical claims such as you “were the saviour of your last company” if that’s simply not true. Why? Because you’ll end up sounding foolish and you could inevitably talk yourself out of the job!

So there you go; just a few things to consider when you’re faced with the “What has been your biggest achievement?” question in your next job interview.

Do you agree? Or have anything to add? Leave me a comment below.

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: How To Answer The “What Has Been Your Biggest Achievement?” Question

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