|  February 3, 2013

Common Interview Questions: What is your biggest accomplishment?

This article is part of our series on how to answer the most common interview questions.  Today we’ll be talking about the question of “What is your biggest accomplishment?” and how to answer it.

Other forms in which the question may be asked

“What is your most impressive accomplishment?” / “What is a project you worked on that you are proud of?” / “What is your proudest accomplishment?”

Why they’re asking

  • They want to see what you’ve done that has been really impressive or impactful
  • They want to make sure you are capable of “owning” or leading a project and following it through
  • They want to hear how you talk about big accomplishments and how you went about getting things done – Do you give credit to others? Did you approach the challenge in a way that was ethical? Etc.

Things to consider 

Your answer should show off your strengths and be as impressive as possible. If your most impressive accomplishment isn’t work-related that’s okay too.  It can be something that you’ve done as part of a school or volunteer project and in some cases, can even be personal.

How to answer:

biggest accomplishment interview question

Pick a project or accomplishment that you’re actually proud of!

The first thing you have to do is think through your past and pick a project or experience that you’ve played a big role in and turned out really well.  I’ve heard lots of “great accomplishments” in interviews.  Some are working on a semester-long project, some are spearheading a certain initiative at work, and some are really personal (taking care of a sick parent, being a leader during a tough time, etc).

The best examples (and this won’t always be possible) are ones that are relevant to the job you are interviewing for.  For example, if one of the items listed in the job description is launching an e-commerce shopping site, a perfect example would be a time when you also did that in a previous job.  Obviously, this won’t always be possible.

Think through how you overcame big challenges

Any impressive project or great accomplishment probably came with some challenges that you had to overcome.  Being able to problem-solve and overcome adversity is definitely something that interviewers like to hear.

As you think of your example, think of some of the tougher parts of the experience and be prepared to share how you were able to overcome them.

Highlight what skills enabled you to do a great job

It’s assumed not just anyone could do “your greatest accomplishment” so what is it about you specifically that allowed you to have this accomplishment or do this project.  In the example of launching the e-commerce site, perhaps your really strong project management skills made you a great person to execute that project.  That is something you definitely want to highlight.

As always, the more related that strength is to the job a qualification, the better.  Again, this won’t always fit perfectly so don’t over-think it.

Just remember, as with all good interview answers, the best ones are honest.  Don’t fabricate a crazy thing that doesn’t show off who you truly are.  When you’re honest about your accomplishments, you’ll be able to easily speak to them and explain them, making your answer a lot stronger.

answers to interview questions

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