During a job interviewer, you’re likely to be asked by the hiring manager to talk about your biggest accomplishment. This is an optimal time to really sell yourself and differentiate yourself from the other candidates. However, it is a broad question, which can make it challenging to form a streamlined and persuasive answer. Here is what to say and what not to say when asked about your biggest accomplishment.
Be Specific and Objective
When you’re pursuing a management or other higher level role, interviewers generally want to know about your accomplishments for one main reason: to have concrete supportive evidence that you’d perform well if hired. You can say you will do anything if selected, but your accomplishments give more weight to your words. When you’re discussing your accomplishment, be objective with actual metrics to show the results you achieved so there’s no doubt. Don’t just say a project was a success, provide actual stats, for example.
Format it Like a Story
To make your explanation of your biggest accomplishment compelling and memorable, present it as a clear story. Simply stating your accomplishment is just giving the outcome without providing the necessary background that demonstrates why it’s impressive. Don’t give every detail, but tell it as a personal experience and describe the situation in a story format.
Avoid Non-Work Related Topics
There are certainly personal accomplishments that can exemplify traits or skills that interviewers find admirable, such as completing a marathon. But the fact remains that they are most interested in how you perform professionally, so if you opt to give a personal accomplishment as your biggest one, they’re likely to wonder why you don’t have a management related achievement to discuss. They may think you either don’t have one or you’re too out of touch to realize what they’re asking for – either way, it doesn’t reflect positively on you.
Ensure It’s Relevant to the Job
Consider the most important skills or traits the interviewer is looking for in the position and tailor your response accordingly. For instance, if you have an accomplishment related to sales but you’re pursuing a role that isn’t related to sales, it won’t strengthen your case for being the most qualified candidate. Keep your audience in mind and avoid discussing anything that isn’t completely relevant to the role, no matter how impressive the accomplishment.
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