What is Your Greatest Accomplishment?

April 10th, 2014 | Articles, Interviewing | No Comments »

What is Your Greatest Accomplishment

No need to be humble. A job interview is the perfect time to talk up your exploits and what better way than while answering “What is your greatest accomplishment?”

By this point in your adult life, you can safely say your accomplishments, big and small, are numerous. Yet narrowing all of those top contenders down to one apex achievement can be overwhelming.

Yet there are several ways to separate your ultimate show stopper from lesser achievements. Follow the criteria below and you can distill down your greatest accomplishment without any further migraines.

Weed out irrelevant accomplishments – Choose an achievement that resonates with the position you want. You may be proud of a service project you led or a Polynesian long boat you’ve painstaking built in your garage but if it doesn’t mesh with your professional goals, don’t use it. There should be a logical dotted-line that a hiring manager can draw between your accomplishment and a career with his or her company.

Avoid anything over two years old – Dwelling on the past can dilute the potency of your response. Your greatest accomplishment should be pulled from within the last few years. A candidate who seems to be beyond his or her prime is less likely to get an offer.

Bring in the team – A team player is far more attractive than a lone wolf. Unless you are going to be part of an autonomous, self-contained department with no chance for outside interaction, include other people in your response. Your greatest accomplishment should show ways you combined your efforts, maximized your collective talents, and crossed the finish line as a group.

Highlight the right values – Be aware of the values your response is conveying. More than just an ordinary tale, your greatest accomplishment should be an allegory about what you hold dear and what you bring to the team. Better yet, it should help a hiring manager determine whether or not you are aligned with that the company values.

Show your brainpower – Your greatest achievement should be one that was reached through struggle and by surmounting major problems. If you give the impression that your greatest accomplishment was no harder than a stroll through a shaded cherry grove, you won’t have the fanfare needed to wow your interviewer.

by James Walsh

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