“What Is Your Biggest Achievement?”: Advice

It’s possible that at some point in the past, you came across challenges, handled them coolly and achieved solid outcomes. You should be able to use details from the occasion to produce an answer for the question of “what is your biggest achievement?” at interviews. Still, in most of the cases, mere descriptions of achievement won’t let you stand out among the crowd. You must answer the question in a way that impresses the interviewers and I can show you the way. 

Interviewers Asking About Achievements: Motivations 

By asking you about your past achievements, interviewers hope to determine your expertises, aptitudes and strengths. For instance, if you mention how well you led people in previous projects, interviews will be able to gauge your leadership capabilities. In addition, interviewers naturally seek out candidates who have a track record of success and achievement questions help them streamline the process. Other details that interviewers aim to acquire while asking about achievements include ambitions, communication skills, career goals and so on. 

How To Nail The Answer

Relevance

You may have a ton of achievements but it’s wise to avoid rambling on and on about non-relevant things. Note down your achievements and remove everything that is not related to the position you have applied for. Take a look at the job description, pick some of the requirements and select achievements that match them. By doing so, you can put together a sound answer as well as keep interviewers engaged. 

Impact 

While listing your achievements, you must arrange them in order of impact and the 1st one should have the biggest impact. One of the key criteria once it comes to measuring impacts is whether the achievements can be applied to the new position. Here is an example: if your achievement was managing a complex project, your skillset can be applied to positions that require management skills. Besides that, it won’t hurt to describe how your achievement influences your professional growth and link it to future successes of the company. 

The STAR Cheatsheet

Different people answer interview questions in different ways but it’s a good idea to have a system in mind. If you stick to a system, you should be able to provide relevant information to interviews and minimize the odds of going off-course. Here, I’m going to talk about STAR (Situation – Task – Action – Result):

  • Situation: Highlight the scenario you were in.
  • Task: State the role you played in that situation and its responsibilities.
  • Actions: Discuss the actions you took to complete the task.it’s strongly recommended that you concentrate on what you did instead of what your team did.
  • Results: Emphasize the outcomes of your actions.

Sample 1: Cut Unnecessary Costs

“In my previous role, I was a project supervisor and in the third quarter of a financial year, I faced a challenge. The project was eating up our profits due to extremely high expenses and we were already finding ourselves in deficit. I had to identify ways to cut costs but also prevent the quality of the products from being compromised. Following a comprehensive review of our expenses, I concluded that the raw materials were purchased at prices much higher than the market average. I visited all our suppliers and asked them if we could renegotiate their selling prices and they agreed to lower them a bit. In the next financial year, the project’s operational costs had gone down by 25% and all of our goals for the year had been met.”

Sample 2: Reduced Sales Returns

“I was the sales manager in my previous company and despite our quality products, I noticed a high amount of returns from our online sales. My main objective at the time was either to get rid of these returns or at least reduce their number. After tracking a selected number of orders right from the customer making an order up to delivery, I made a big discovery. Our delivery personnel roughly handled the packages leading to physical damages like breaking etc. I promptly implemented rules for the logistics team and one of them included responsibility for careless handling of orders. Three months after this measure came into effect, returns were reduced by 90% and the number of complaints related to product manufacturing defects dropped too”

Should I Only Talk About Big Achievements?

While grand accompaniment can leave lasting impressions, don’t hesitate to share some of your small victories if the situation is right. What matters is the impact of achievement on the company so make sure that whatever you share reveals your prowess, determination, knowledge and so on. 

Things To Avoid While Describing Achievements: Overview

  • Adding details excessively: While it is good to be meticulous, you should avoid giving out too many details.
  • Being too technical: Not everyone in the interview panel is an expert so speak in a way that normal people can understand. 
  • Concentrating solely on personal gains: Describing your achievement as if they revolve around you may give off a selfish vibe. If possible, explain that your achievement was a team effort and it benefited the company as a whole. 

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