Interviews can feel nerve-wracking even to the most well-practised candidate. Remembering all you know about the company while trying to keep calm and create a great first impression can be tricky.
When asked a question about your biggest accomplishment or greatest achievement, many people struggle with how to pitch themselves.
Here are my top 5 tips to answer the interview question “What is your greatest achievement?”
1) Practice your delivery
It’s best to have a couple of different examples you could talk about for this question, in case you have already used one example in a previous interview answer. Test out your various accomplishments by talking them through out loud in advance of the interview and reflect on which examples work best.
Experiment with the type of language you use so that you sound confident but not arrogant. Don’t write out your practice answers in full and learn off a script – you’ll likely come across as inauthentic and robotic.
2) Consider your structure
Deliver your answer in a logical, easy to understand way. Outline the context of the accomplishment, how you approached it, the action you took, and the result. Don’t rush your answer, but be concise and specific about what you did, focusing on your specific contribution, even if there were others involved.
3) Demonstrate passion and impact
Talk about something you are genuinely passionate about, and let your enthusiasm come across in a natural yet measured way. Talk about the wider impact that your accomplishment had – for example if it was repeated or adopted by others in future – and don’t forget to bring in what personal strengths you utilised to achieve your accomplishment.
4) Bring in your ‘Why?’
Interviewers are interested in why you’re proud of your accomplishment, and what motivated you to do it in the first place. Share how this accomplishment fits in with your overall career purpose, and highlight how it links to other professional goals you have accomplished or hope to accomplish in the future.
5) And remember…
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your achievement has to be akin to solving world peace. Achievements are all relative, and if you are early on in your career, interviewers will recognise this. What’s important is that you can articulate why your achievement is significant to you in a clear and compelling way.
PS. Are you a student or graduate looking for a job? I run a career coaching programme in partnership with City Career Series specifically designed to help graduates develop the skills and awareness they need to get a graduate job they really want.
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