It’s the rare job candidate that doesn’t experience some anxiety when it’s time for the interview. One of the most common questions is “What is your greatest career achievement to date?” It’s designed to be a tough question that tells the interviewer so much about what you value as well as what you’ve done. Here’s how to answer that question and ace the interview process.
How to Answer Tough Interview Questions
Some general tips for answering tough interview questions include the following:
- Prepare in advance by researching the company and the job. Try to imagine the types of interview questions you will be asked. You can even practice your response with a friend or colleague.
- Be honest. It’s okay not to have an answer to a question. Don’t fake an answer but do follow up in an email once you have one.
- Offer examples from your history to illustrate your points and the skills and qualifications you highlight.
- Stay very positive. Avoid negative language and respond not with negatives but with how you add value to a team.
- Ask clarifying questions, but also to buy yourself some time. This also shows active listening skills illustrating your interest in the position.
- Take your time. Get comfortable with a little silence and don’t rush your answers.
- Stay confident that you are the best candidate for the job.
Now let’s get to that difficult question: What is your greatest career achievement?
How to Answer, “What is Your Greatest Career Achievement?”
When an interviewer asks you about your greatest career accomplishment, it’s essential to answer in a way that highlights your skills within the context of how they align with that company and that job. If possible, pick an achievement outside or above and beyond your normal job description. Saying, “I had 100% attendance,” or, “My reports were always early,” isn’t an achievement but a job standard that everyone should strive to meet.
Start by briefly describing the accomplishment. Then explain the impact the achievement had on the company. Finally, share your specific role in the accomplishment. Pay particular attention to how you use “we” versus “I” in this recitation. If you’re always saying, “we did this,” it may leave a question in the interviewer’s mind about what you, as the individual accomplished. Using “I” exclusively leaves out the team and may make you appear less collaborative with the group. Finally, make sure to share what you learned from the experience and how it makes you a stronger candidate for the job.
Practice this in advance to make it a compelling story. Also, if you’re unprepared to answer it, it’s almost certain to move you into the disqualification category during the interview process.
If you’d like to practice your answer to this or other job interview questions, why not reach out to Stellar Staffing? We bridge the gap between employers and great employees by facilitating these connections. Give us a call today to find out how our free recruiting service can help you find your dream job.