Prepare for the Greatest Achievement Interview Question

Telling about any achievement leaves you feeling good but careful planning could do so much more!

Greatest achievement interview question

What is Your Greatest Achievement

To leave the interviewer with a positive impression they can’t forget, become effective at telling a story.

An outstanding story sets you apart from every other applicant and keeps you there.

Hopefully you have several achievement stories to choose from, but relevance is vital.

Relevant here is your need to understand what the interviewer is really trying to achieve in asking the greatest achievement interview question. What doubt are they trying to reduce?

Underneath it all is the same underlying question that they will ask several times, in different ways. They want to know why they should hire you instead of somebody else. So give them your best answer.

It’s not the Achievement You Enjoyed Most

What you don’t want to do is describe an experience that was interesting to you and makes for an enjoyable conversation.

You must motivate them to write something on the paper that is relevant to their decision about which applicant should be hired for this position at this time.

Every effective job interview story starts out with a perplexing problem that is resolved at the by your intervention. The part in between is your clear role in making that happen. It’s essential that you not misrepresent yourself as leading an initiative when someone else had that leadership role.

Story tips for the greatest achievement interview question:

  • Overcoming resistance Is a valuable skill so describing barriers will get their attention.
  • Were there multiple phases? Give us just enough detail to ensure clarity.
  • When you talk about the results, don’t forget to talk specifically about the benefits to the employer.
  • Hopefully colleagues concur that your greatest achievement was significant. Indicate briefly how others responded.
  • Help the interviewer to imagine you delivering a similar achievement for them.
  • Make the connections for us. Don’t just assume that we will figure them out for ourselves.
  • Be brief – just enough detail to emphasize the significance of your achievement.
  • Offer evidence (photographs, video) from your portfolio , especially if the achievement is a surprise. Given your resume and previous positions you have held in the past, the interviewer may be skeptical of your story.  Don’t take it personally.
  • Every good story will fit as a response to more than one job interview question. Multiple stories indicate that your number one achievement wasn’t a fluke!

Plan to Add Several New “Greatest Achievements” Every Year

As your career unfolds over time, work hard to develop and document multiple stories that present you well in response to the greatest achievement interview question. You’ll be glad you have multiple stories to demonstrate your contribution when it comes to an job interview or a performance review.

Every new achievement should require you to leave your comfort zone. In fact, you’ll learn that all worthwhile goals require you to stretch beyond previous achievements. Surprising others is not a one-time event. Make it a habit to challenge yourself.

Check out the Slideshare presentation on the greatest achievement interview question here


This presentation is the seventh in a series of fifty, each one addressing a different commonly asked job interview question.

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