How to Answer: “What Accomplishment Are You Most Proud Of?”
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A job interview gives a hiring manager the chance to assess your suitability for a job. It's crucial to answer questions with examples that demonstrate your strengths and skills that match those the employer is requiring. Learning how to highlight your achievements can help you answer interview questions concisely, with some practical examples that a hiring manager can use to assess your qualifications. In this article, we discuss how to answer the question "What accomplishment are you most proud of?" and provide sample responses.
Why do employers ask "What accomplishment are you most proud of?"
Usually, interviewers ask "What accomplishment are you most proud of?" to get a better understanding of the skills and qualifications you can bring to the job. Your response can show how you think through a situation and how you apply your skills to resolve a problem. It can also show the level of commitment to your career development, provide insights into your character, and indicate what you value most in your career and what motivates you to succeed. Your answer can help the hiring manager assess and understand the sort of work conditions you had in previous jobs.
Read more: Interview Preparation Tips
How to select an accomplishment
When preparing for your job interview, it's a good idea to reflect on a few of your career successes so you can prepare an appropriate response. Having a well-crafted answer shows your communication abilities and gives you self-confidence that can help you succeed.
Consider the following criteria when selecting an accomplishment you may like to discuss:
1. Select an accomplishment that relates to the job
Having an accomplishment related to the job you're applying for can show your depth of knowledge of the skills required. It also shows the hiring manager how you approach a situation that you may encounter in the role. Your example can also highlight any transferrable skills and show your level of interest in the role. By describing the sense of pride you felt after completing the task, you can identify which aspects of the activity you enjoyed most and why.
2. Choose an accomplishment that impacted your career
It's beneficial to consider an accomplishment that changed the direction of your career. This can be an interesting example of how your natural aptitude made you successful and inspired you to advance your professional development in a new direction. One example can be a situation where a previous employer required you to take on a leadership role that led you toward a managerial position.
If you're beginning your job search, you might have volunteer experience that inspired you to pursue a new field. Having an accomplishment that explains your reasons for selecting a particular career path can impact how a hiring manager sees you in the job. It can also demonstrate your willingness to apply effort to succeed in the role.
3. Select a professional achievement over a personal one
The way you approach a personal situation can differ from how you manage a professional one. An interviewer is usually more interested in an accomplishment that shows your work style. A professional accomplishment makes it easier to demonstrate how your skills apply to the job.
If you are just starting your career, an example from your academic experience can also be appropriate. Your example can demonstrate traits such as organizational skills, problem-solving skills, or interpersonal skills that can be transferrable to a job. It can also show a manager that you've developed a work ethic that can help you be successful in the role.
4. Select a recent example
Workplaces are constantly adapting to new technology and operational processes. Having an example of a recent situation where you applied skills using the latest technology tells the interviewer that your qualifications are current. It also shows that your experience remains relevant and that you want to advance your career.
5. Select an accomplishment with a measurable outcome
It's beneficial to consider an accomplishment outcome that has a quantifiable measure. This can help the interviewer understand the impact of your effort. It also shows that you understand how to set quantifiable objectives and work towards achieving them.
6. Think about an achievement that excites you
When thinking about an accomplishment, consider how you felt afterwards. Describing the situation and indicating what aspects you enjoyed the most can reveal information about your values and what is important to you. Responding with an example that shows your energy and enthusiasm helps the interviewer determine if you can be happy in the role.
Tips for answering "What accomplishment are you most proud of?"
Below are some tips to help you answer a question about your accomplishments:
Practise your response so you can show confidence and provide a concise answer.
Describe the situation and how you managed it.
Explain the outcome in quantifiable terms.
Tell the interviewer what you learned.
Connect the situation and your answer to the job offer.
Recognize the role of anyone who helped you with your goal.
Sample interview responses for discussing your accomplishments
Based on the job you're applying for, below are some sample responses for different industries:
Example of how to highlight your leadership skills:
Below is a sample response for a customer service manager role that shows leadership skills with a defined outcome:
"As a manager of a team of 10 customer service telephone representatives, my proudest achievement was improving the company's client satisfaction survey results. T**he survey results showed a client satisfaction score of 30%, which was the worst rating the company had seen. Relying on my past management skills, my first step was to meet with my team to get their honest thoughts on how to improve customer satisfaction.
After my meetings, I discovered that the company added some new products to its inventory without providing proper training. This situation affected my team's ability to answer the customers' questions. To address this issue, I asked the product manager to train my team, an activity that I supervised in person. After this, the next customer satisfaction survey a few months later showed an increase in the client satisfaction score of 80% and increased sales of the new products by 20%."
Example of how to highlight an achievement:
The following example demonstrates an achievement for someone in a non-managerial role:
"As a recruiter, I'm most proud of how I improved the hiring process to shorten the time between the initial posting to the hire date. After I completed my Six Sigma training, I found that I really enjoyed reviewing processes for efficiency, so I applied this skill when I reviewed the company's internal hiring workflow. After meeting with some key stakeholders, I identified that securing a second level of approval before posting the role delayed the process by one week.
I presented a solution to the upper management to eliminate the need for a second approval without risks. After approving my proposal, the company saw a five-day reduction in the hiring process. This resulted in a 10% increase in productivity because we were able to hire candidates into their roles sooner. I enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing an improved business outcome and the experience of presenting my ideas to the senior team."
Example of how to highlight your volunteering achievements:
The following example outlines an accomplishment through volunteer work:
"I try to be more active with my community by organizing an annual fundraiser for the local women's shelter. Three weeks before this year's event, the venue we originally booked had flooded. Within 30 minutes, I mobilized a small team of volunteers who were each asked to call five other venues and we had a new venue booked within three hours.
I also had to learn to renegotiate contracts with the caterer and the performers since the new venue was further away and had a different layout. The event was a success, and we raised an additional 10% in funds from the previous year. What I am most proud of is my ability to learn new things quickly and apply them immediately."
Example of how to highlight your achievements as a student:
If you're beginning your career, you can underline your achievements as a student. The following example is how a student might respond:
"During my undergraduate studies, I spent one semester studying in Peru and volunteered to teach English to the local schoolchildren. I noticed that the school was short on supplies such as paper, pens, and books. I had been updating my social media account with pictures from my time in Peru, and in my next post, I added a note asking for school supplies and books to help the students with their English classes.
Within a few weeks, the first shipment arrived with enough school supplies for half the students. A few days later, a major retailer offered to send each child in the school a knapsack filled with notebooks, pencils, pens, and a selection of books to help them with their English. My desire to help other people came through when I saw the huge smiles on the children's faces when they opened up their school bags. At that moment, I decided I wanted to be an international aid worker."
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