The interview question usually goes something like this…
“tell me your proudest professional accomplishment?”
“What’s your greatest achievement?”
Interview questions that require you to brag about yourself aren’t easy, so I’m going to walk you through exactly how to give a great answer so you can get hired!
This is a time to brag, not be humble. Think about your greatest professional accomplishment and how you achieved it.
I recommend picking something that’s as recent as possible, and somewhat relevant to this job or your career.
I realize this isn’t always possible. If your best, most impressive accomplishment is five years ago, you can still use it! My point is that if you’re debating between a few options of stories to share, you should always choose more recent and more relevant to the job you’ve applied for whenever possible.
And be sure to choose something that had a big overall impact on your career.
Then get specific and talk about RESULTS. Show exactly what you achieved and why it was a significant accomplishment. How did it help you? How did it help your team or your employer at the time?
If you just graduated and your accomplishment was in an internship or in a university class, what did you learn, what challenges did you overcome, and how did this help you get to where you are today?
Now that you have a general idea what to do when you answer these questions about your proudest accomplishments/achievements, let’s look at some word-for-word sample answers.
I’ll start with an example for a recent graduate. Then I’ll give a second sample answer for if you have previous work experience.
“I’m most proud of my work in my recent internship. I had the chance to help develop a new Android app for a fast-growing startup and I took the lead on the project after one of the other team members quit. This was outside the original scope of my internship, but ended up being a great opportunity to learn and show what I’m capable of. I was able to deliver the app on time before the end of my internship, and have deployed it to the Google Play store. It currently has 25,000 users and over 100 four- or five-star reviews. I can send you the URL if you’re interested.”
“My proudest accomplishment was a new content marketing strategy that I created for our sales and marketing department this year. This was a three-month project and it was the first project I led from start to finish. I enjoy leading and want to do more of this in my career, which is why this project meant a lot to me. In the six months since the launch of this program, my company grew our website visitors by 43%, and boosted the number of customers that contact us for a free consultation by 20%. That’s our primary way of getting leads, so the CEO is extremely happy about this and called me into her office to personally thank me and acknowledge what I did.”
After you give your answer, you should definitely expect follow-up questions. When employers ask this question, it’s to find out about you as a person – your interests, your strengths, etc. This isn’t just a question where they ask and move on.
So don’t panic when they ask for more details or continue with related questions. It just means they’re interested in learning about you and hearing how you handle challenges and why this particular achievement made you most proud.
So stay confident and calm, and when you prepare for your interview, you should think about the questions they’re most likely to ask you AFTER you share this story. What will they want more information about? What might they not understand the first time you tell it?