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“Tell me about your greatest success”: How to talk about your achievements in an interview

  28th September 2017       Hannah Hashtroudi
 CIPD, Employment, Human Resources, IT & Software Solutions, Office & Commercial, Recruitment

What’s the best way to answer interview questions about your achievements and accomplishments? It’s a difficult one, especially if you are put on the spot and have not prepared your answer. It’s important to have thought about what you are going to say in advance so this question doesn’t catch you out; this is your chance to shine. Here are some tips so help you represent your greatest successes in the best possible light:

Tell the story

Start off by setting the scene and telling the interviewer a story. Describe the challenge you were up against, your plan of attack and the success you saw on the other side. Talk slowly and confidently and try to go through the events in order, describing your thought process and how you applied yourself to the situation as it developed.

Keep it work related

You may have finished a gruelling half marathon for charity, won a dance competition or reached your goal weight but try to focus on achievements that demonstrate you’re the best person for the job, unless the interviewer specifically asks about your greatest accomplishment outside of work. This keeps it professional and focused on securing you a new role.

Relate it to the job requirements

Relate what you’ve accomplished to the position you’re applying for and use the opportunity to show how your achievement could benefit the company if they gave you the job. Make it easy for the interviewer to see the comparison between your successes and the skills the company needs. Try to display specific skills or qualities that you know the hiring manager is looking for. Look beyond hard skills for inspiration; demonstrating that you’re an excellent communicator, a good motivator, or a flexible team member will also impress the interviewer.

Take the question seriously

Don’t try to be funny, answer professionally. Don’t downplay someone else’s achievements in an attempt to make yourself look better, and above all; keep your story positive! Overcoming an instance in which you were a victim isn’t a situation the interviewer wants to hear about.

Make sure it’s recent

Make sure your example is a recent accomplishment. Something that happened 10 years ago will now sound dated and irrelevant. You will also be able to call upon details of the situation easier without having to pad out your story and risk looking like you are making it up.

Be honest

Don’t be tempted to exaggerate the truth or take credit for an achievement that wasn’t actually yours. Dishonesty during the interview process does have a way of coming back around at one point or another and sometimes this could be when you least expect it.

For more advice about questions that you could be asked in your interview, download our Interview Preparation Sheet here to make sure you are fully prepared or give us a call on 01202 233777 for any questions about your interview preparation.

Hannah Hashtroudi

Principal Recruitment Consultant

Hannah is a specialist in the Office & Commercial sector. Dedicated, hardworking and motivated, Hannah thrives on sourcing and placing the best talent from SME’s through to large blue chip companies across the region and in London. Hannah has grown an enviable reputation for sourcing high level senior appointments together …


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