Interview questions come in different forms with so many variations of almost the same group of questions. One pretty standard interview question recruiters like to ask is, what is your proudest accomplishment or something along that line.
Getting befitting jobs has become extremely difficult lately, and this has raised the stakes in interviews. There is added pressure to impress and finally land the position of your dream. This added pressure may then lead to failure to answer correctly the questions asked during the interview.
Many people fumble when asked, “what is your proudest accomplishment” because they either don’t know what to say at the moment or don’t know how to talk about themselves without boasting. Whichever the case may be, being asked about your most significant achievement represents a huge opportunity to showcase your capabilities and more.
Recruiters want to know more than the face value of what the question is all about, and when you answer, you knowingly or unknowingly provide answers or insight to these points the recruiter wants. If you answer the question correctly, you will not only improve your chances of landing the job but may also build a fruitful relationship with the recruiters if you have similar goals.
If you’re preparing for an important interview and would like to find answers to the question: “what is your greatest achievement” you’re in the right place.
Why do Recruiters Ask this Question?
Why would recruiters want to ask this question in the first place? Is this a trick question to try to get you to spill something else? These questions are vital and would help you know what to say and how to say it when asked what your most remarkable achievement is or your proudest moment.
There are so many reasons why recruiters ask this question. Some may be more obvious than the others, and while the question is not particularly a trick question, it provides more than surface value insights into several other things.
So why do recruiters ask the question?
1. To Know What You Value the Most
What you put the most value in will become evident when you start answering the question of your proudest moment in life. Typically, what you rate as your most significant accomplishment would be something you value a lot. Interviewers want to know the most important things to you, and they get this information when you answer this broad question.
By knowing what is important to you, the recruiters can figure out if the job and its requirements fall under what you’ll consider as vital.
2. To Figure Out Your Strengths and Weaknesses
When you answer the question on your most significant accomplishment, you give the recruiter insights into your strengths and weaknesses. Instead of asking about your strengths and weaknesses directly, recruiters can decide to go through a more subtle approach by asking you about your most significant accomplishment in life.
What you list as your most significant win in life and the way you describe the process can give insights into where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
3. To Know How You React to Difficulties
When you mention your biggest accomplishment, you’re expected to talk more about it, including the challenge and how you tackled it. By doing so, you’re providing the recruiter with information on how you react to difficulties.
Recruiters like to know how a potential employee would react when faced with challenges, especially in the place of work, and the question provides the necessary insight.
How to Answer “What is Your Proudest Accomplishment?”
How would you answer what is your proudest accomplishment when asked in an interview? Not just any answer but the correct thing to say that would not spoil your chances but improve it.
One of the most popular ways of answering this question and other similar questions is by using the S.T.A.R approach. This means Situation – Task – Approach – Result. Another school of thought believes that following the S.T.A.R process backward is the best way. The backward STAR approach allows the recruiter to ask as many questions along the way as you start from the result and walk your way backward.
We’ll be using the STAR approach while incorporating key steps that’ll make it more powerful.
#1. Figure Out More than One Great Achievements
Before you go into it, you should take time out to figure out what your proudest moments are and things/events you consider the most accomplishing. Yea, I know; figure it out, and don’t be ashamed that you may not be ashamed of saying it off the bat when asked the question for the first time. These things take some quiet time and thinking to figure out which ones are worth mentioning.
When you’ve come up with these moments/events, narrow it down to more than one and at most three. This is, so you have another proud accomplishment to mention if you’re asked, “what is your second proudest accomplishment?” Having more than one on your list will also provide you with a variety to choose based on the one you feel will have the most effect in the interview.
#2. Pick Something Recent
If you can, pick a proud moment that is as recent as possible. Recent memories are easier to recall and share as the emotions will still be fresh in your memory. Sharing a proud moment that is relatively recent will be more relatable to the present-day conditions and what you can bring to the table.
If you do not have a big recent proud moment, it is acceptable to refer to one that happened a couple of years back as long as you can relate it to more reliable results or events.
Bonus Read: 5 Compelling Personal Brand Statement Examples
#3. Keep it Professional
Sometimes the recruiter asks what your most outstanding professional achievement is; other times, it can be as broad as what is your most notable achievement, either way, you need to remember you’re in a professional environment and not veer off.
It is best to keep your achievement in the professional space and less personal accomplishments.
#4. Be Specific
There are lots of clichés now that people use to answer the question of proudest accomplishment. Using any of these clichés water down your message and provides no separation from the crowd.
To stand out from the ground, ensure your proudest moment is specific to you and is not the regular monotonic and vague answers people give. Provide the necessary details to back up your claims.
#5. Show How it Relates to the Job
When answering the question, never lose sight of the aim of the whole exercise – to land that job. Show how your proudest moment relates to the job and how you can bring that experience to help the company if hired.
#6. Implement S.T.A.R
Implement the Situation, Task, Approach, Result system. This is a valid and effective formula to answer the question quickly. Simply mention what the problem was, then discuss what was needed. Go further by describing how you went about solving the problem. Interviewers are often interested in how you approach problems—end by stating the result.
Examples of Answers to “What is Your Proudest Accomplishment?”
To make it more straightforward and help you quickly create your answer, here are some sample answers to “what is your proudest accomplishment?”
“My proudest accomplishment was creating a content strategy for my company’s sales department that saw a sharp increase in both website visitors and retention rate by 65% and 48%, respectively. This project helped boost my diversity and Improve my leadership capacity.”The answers don’t have to be bogus. You can keep it specific and straight to the point by stating what you did with specific results to back it up. Then end with what you gained from experience.
“My most significant achievement to date is helping a local home for the elderly raise the money they needed to replace the leaking roof. I was able to solicit the help of two other people in the community, and we printed fliers and distributed them in the neighborhood. In the end, we raised over $400 that was used to replace the bad roof. This experience helped me understand the need for community building as well as developing my leadership and persuasion ability.”This second example is a more detailed answer following the S.T.A.R system. It started with a clear picture of the problem; what needed to be done, the approach used to raise the money, and then the result of getting the required sum and renovating the home.
“My biggest professional achievement is completing my bachelor’s degree in Statistics in four years while working part-time to see myself through school. Firstly, it was a fantastic experience as I figured out time management early enough and was able to utilize my time properly.”If you cannot place your hand on a suitable achievement, don’t fret, you can use this approach to answer the question. You can pick any significant event during your college days, like working part-time (as in this example) to fund your education and see yourself through school. Don’t forget to mention what you learn from this experience.
If you’re among the people that shy away from talking about themselves or those that miss the thin line between being straightforward and boasting, you may just be harming your chances. Luckily, this article has clearly shown what answering “what is your proudest accomplishment?” entails.