1. Why do recruiters ask “What is your greatest achievement?”
  2. How to answer “What is your greatest achievement?”
    a. Read the job description thoroughly
    b. Research the Company
    c. Consider your values and greatest qualities
    d. Be relevant, recent and specific
    e. Be honest
  3. Sample Answers for "What is your greatest achievement?"
  4. Mistakes to avoid
    a. Do not ramble
    b. Do not give unsure responses
    c. Do not go overboard while answering

It is natural to feel overwhelmed before your next big job interview. No matter how experienced a candidate, you need to prepare for an interview thoroughly.

One of the frequent general interview questions is “What is your greatest achievement?”

Here are a few things every candidate must know before preparing for an interview where the recruiter might ask the general question “What is your greatest achievement?”

Why do recruiters ask “What is your greatest achievement?”

Basically, through this general interview question recruiters want to see if you stand out from the rest of the applicants, and if so what makes you outshine the others.

Recruiters usually ask “What is your greatest achievement?” to get a better idea of what you consider important and on what basis you consider it so.

Also, through this general interview question, the recruiter tests your soft skills and whether or not a candidate is ambitious enough to set higher bars for yourself.

How to answer “What is your greatest achievement?”

The ideal way to answer this general interview question is to give examples of episodes where you shined in your work sphere.

In case you are a fresher you can cite an incident from your college/ University life where your soft skills are highlighted.

Here are a few things you can do when preparing for an interview and in order to frame a great response to “What is your greatest achievement?”

a. Read the job description thoroughly

This is an important part for a candidate who is preparing for an interview.

The job description uploaded actually helps a candidate to understand the key skills that will be required.

So, you can accordingly list down incidents where you shined the brightest.

b. Research the Company

We cannot stress enough on the importance of researching a company prior to scheduling an interview with them.

You can read reviews about a company on AmbitionBox. This practice can help a candidate understand a company’s mission and vision as well.

Recruiters always prefer candidates who can identify oneself with the organization’s mission and vision statements.

It is wise to formulate your response in tandem with the same as it will leave a better impression on the recruiter.

c. Consider your values and greatest qualities

Now that you are aware of the requirements of the job profile and have researched the company, you can sit down and list your greatest qualities and values that have helped you to shine and achieve great successes.

Take for example, you can cite an incident where your boss let you lead the team during a three-day conference event coverage.

You can then take it ahead by explaining what your plan of actions were that helped you succeed and shine.

d. Be relevant, recent and specific

Next, always speak about incidents that had occurred in the recent past instead of an ancient one.

Follow it up and weigh that incident whether or not that incident is relevant to the job role offered or even aligned to the organization’s mission and vision statement.

Finally, be specific when talking about this particular incident. Do not go on dragging the story boring the recruiter to sleep.

It is important to balance the story with the right amount of details to leave a lasting impression on the recruiter and make your point through to him/her.

e. Be honest

Honesty is the best policy. Whether or not you have such an incident which you consider to be the greatest achievement in your life up till that point, be honest about it.

Understand that fabrication of a story will not be leaving a very good impression on your recruiter or manager.

Sample Answers for "What is your greatest achievement?"

With that sorted,here are a few sample answers for you to understand the manner in which you can answer the general interview question “What is your greatest achievement?”

Possible Answer #1:

“In my last organization I always used to cover the segment of book reviews.

After every publication, I do get complimentary notes, email or calls from the respective PR teams, however the last publication of my review took me by real surprise.

The author of the book I had reviewed had called up to thank me for my perfect representation of his masterpiece!

He even had his PR team to fix up a meeting with the Editor and me to congratulate on my work personally.

As a writer, this gesture meant a lot because he was a bigshot in his field and to be applauded by him was my greatest achievement.

Not to mention from there onwards he always was ready to help the team out to add value to their stories or guide them if anything seemed off.”

Possible Answer #2:

“Although I believe every achievement is great for learning, my greatest achievement was the last event that my team and I successfully pulled off in college.

The biggest challenge when pulling off an event is when out of the blue a brand rolls back their endorsement. It can throw the budget off by a great margin.

One of our high paying endorsers pulled back a week before our event causing everything to be at a standstill situation.

A week was a rather short notice to approach endorsers of the same stature. Instead we immediately contacted the mid-range endorsers and thanks to my people’s skill I managed to put forward a convincing presentation and bagged 4 more offers.

With their endorsements our budget was back on track and we managed to pull off our event successfully.

My team was applauded by our Principal and Dean who put in their recommendation for us while appearing for our placements.”

Possible Answer #3:

“In my last organization the editorial team always missed out on their dates to send off the magazine for print.

So, after talking about the problem with my Editor, I addressed it during the team meeting and drew up a proper schedule with due dates and every details required and shared it with all.

For the first time in a year, we managed to close the editorial processes on time without any hassle.

Thereafter, my boss as well as the senior management made sure that everyone in the team followed the schedule to the ‘T’. This also helped in getting better revenues.

I consider it to be my greatest achievement as I could efficiently manage to structurize a plan to help the team in its productivity and draw in more revenue.”

Possible Answer #4:

“My greatest achievement is the time when my article crossed 1 Million view in a single day.

Although a fresher, my Editor entrusted me to cover a very important topic which was in the news for its controversial nature.

It was my first ever magazine article, and even though I was really nervous, my teammates and Editor guided me throughout.

With their guidance as encouragement, I completed the piece and it received appreciation from the whole team.

However, we never imagined that by uploading it on the internet, the article would cross 1 Million views overnight!

As a writer and editor, I believe it is my greatest achievement when my work is appreciated by the audience.”

Mistakes to avoid

Now that all the how-to’s and sample answers have been sorted, here are a few things every candidate should steer completely clear off.

a. Do not ramble

Remember that it is a job interview and like any other question, you must be prepared while answering the general interview question “What is your greatest achievement?”

You can ask for your family or friend’s help while preparing for an interview and try to answer the general questions as a mock interview.

b. Do not give unsure responses

Recruiters prefer confident candidates. So, it is very important to practice responding to general interview questions.

Ask for your friend’s or family’s help and practice answering your response to this general interview question. Practice makes an answer perfect.

c. Do not go overboard while answering

There’s a fine line of difference between sounding confident and being all full of oneself. Recruiters prefer candidates who are good team players, not the opposite category.

It is important to answer the question “What is your greatest achievement?” in a manner exuding confidence and pride regarding the achievement but remember not to demean anyone else in the process.

Doing so will not go down well with your recruiter and cast you as a negative personality.

Hopefully with these tips and sample answers, you will be able to tackle the general interview question “What is your greatest achievement?” successfully.

However, do not forget to choose the perfect outfit while preparing for an interview.

It is best to select an outfit that is formal and you feel comfortable and confident in since confidence is the key to ace an interview.

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All the best!

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