How Do I Showcase My Greatest Achievement Examples?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 December 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Providing examples of your greatest achievements is a chance for you to showcase how your skill set has influenced your career. Examples may contain instances where you helped to develop a policy, had significant input in a project, boosted revenue, reached a major milestone or impressed previous employers.

Understanding how to answer a question about your greatest achievements can help you impress interviewers with a concise and effective answer. In this article, we discuss how to answer a question about your greatest achievements, outline their importance and provide some great achievement examples.

What are my greatest achievement examples?

When interviewers ask for 'my greatest achievement examples', they are asking about a time where you directly influenced positive change or had an instrumental part in a project. An example could be a project at your previous role where you contributed in a way that added to the overall success, or perhaps your greatest achievement was fulfilling a lifetime goal. Regardless of what your greatest achievement is, employers want to see what you qualify as an achievement and why it makes you a suitable candidate.

Related: How to List Achievements on Your Resume (With Examples and Tips)

Why interviewers may ask about your greatest achievements

Your greatest achievement says a lot about you as an employee. This question provides valuable insight into how you view goals and achievements and your experience, background and work ethic, which is important information to convey in an interview. Interviewers are also interested in how you answer the question, what you consider as an achievement and how you learned from your experience. Below are the main qualities the interviewer is looking for in this question:

Skills

A greatest achievement is a good way to highlight your skills to an interviewer, who can assess the skills you applied in your example and how the achievement further developed those qualities. This is a vital element, as interviewers are looking to identify candidates with skills relevant to the job. Understanding the skills you used and how your experience allowed you to develop those skills may help the interviewer identify how you could benefit the business and match you to the most appropriate job.

Work ethic

Your greatest achievements say a great deal about your work ethic. Candidates who spend a considerable amount of time on an achievement show drive and commitment to career development. Working towards achievements shows interviewers you're interested in strengthening and diversifying your skill set.

Confidence

Confidence is a desirable quality. This question is a chance to show interviewers that your achievements have developed your confidence in your abilities. Candidates who show confidence in their competences because of their achievements may be more successful. Interviewers may also gauge whether you're visibly proud of your successes, as this takes confidence.

Experience

At a minimum, your achievements tell an interviewer about any relevant experience in the industry. Experience may be mandatory for a lot of jobs, so this question is a good time to further explain any experience on your resume. Your background is a testament to any practical skills that qualify you for the job.

Lessons

Interviewers may also assess what your greatest achievement example taught you. These don't need to be big life lessons, but lessons that you view as useful to your individual career progression. This is an integral insight into how you approach a project, as desirable candidates may look at projects as opportunities to develop continually.

Suitability

Interviewers want examples that directly correlate to the open position. Anecdotal evidence of experience in the industry shows interviewers that you're knowledgeable about the industry, which may make you a more suitable candidate. Examples also provide insight into how you approach projects and how you define a successful project.

Values

Your achievements can show your core values. Employers are looking to align candidates with their own visions and values, so your core values are a critical point during an application process. Interviewers may also ask why you consider that as your greatest achievement, as your reasons can illustrate your understanding of key pillars of success and career progression.

Related: How To Set Achievable Business Goals at Work

How to answer a question about your greatest achievements

Before answering a question regarding your greatest achievements, you may wish to consult the following guidelines to stay focused on the objective, incorporate job requirements and select relevant examples. Following a structure may also fill you with more confidence. Here are some guidelines you can follow when answering:

1. Review your resume

Your resume may contain a basic outline of some of your achievements. Looking over your resume may not only inspire some ideas but also help to maintain consistency in an interview. Staying consistent with your examples is important during a job interview, as it shows honesty and integrity to an interviewer.

2. Review the job description

Consider identifying key elements of the job description that outlines tasks and expectations. This may help you select an example that highlights your experience relevant to the business. Tailoring your approach to fit the job description instead of choosing a generic story gives the interviewer all the vital information they need and may improve your chances of success.

3. Make a list of the proudest moments in your career

You may have a long list of your proudest achievements, making it difficult to select just one or two examples. Consider making a list of just two that are directly relevant to the job description. Memorising all aspects of these two achievements helps to simplify the process and ensures that you can answer the question confidently during the interview.

4. Explain the situation

When you have selected the relevant examples, you may then explain the situation. Provide background to your story and identify the key challenges you could tackle. An example may be helping a previous employer to spot a gap in the market for a new product, thereby boosting the profile and revenue of the business through research and analysis.

5. Outline the task requirements

Once you have provided the necessary background information, you may then outline the requirements for the task. This may cover what your role was in the process and the types of responsibilities you had. You may also explain the skills and experience that won you the role and how your skills impacted the process.

6. Explain your method

You may explain your method for the project, how that set you apart from your colleagues and how your method affected the project and offered a unique perspective. Try to explain in a concise manner, detailing a few relevant points, to give the interviewer time to identify your core competencies.

7. Describe the challenges

Explaining the key challenges of the project shows the interviewer that you made calculated decisions when tackling key obstacles. This awareness is a desirable leadership quality and shows your ability to focus on business development with good strategy. Describing the challenges also gives you an opportunity to explain how you introduced preventative measures to help the business in the long term.

8. Explain the result

Explaining the result of your achievements may demonstrate tangible evidence of your success. You may describe the achievement in relation to total percentage increase in profit, or how many customers the business gained from the project alone. This is more useful than general comments as it provides the interviewer with a testimony that your efforts had a lasting impact on company development.

Greatest achievement examples

Below are two examples of different greatest achievements. This may help you identify a good pattern to follow to remain concise in your interview:

Related: How To Write an Action Plan To Help Achieve Your Goals

Example 1

During my position as a HR Director, I was instrumental in developing the new disciplinary process. Previously, disciplinary processes were dealt with on a case-by-case basis, leading to increased miscommunication, zero structure and improper punishments. After careful observation, I noticed that this was having a negative effect on team morale and leading to repeat offences. In December of last year alone, the business identified a 30% rise in stocktaking errors despite previous disciplinary actions.

The task was clear, and I quickly devised a simple structure to outline future hearings that dictated requirements such as:

  • two members of staff are present in the meeting

  • staff have two minutes to defend or explain their actions

  • they then have the opportunity to think of an appropriate mitigation response

  • it required their line manager to approve the mitigation response

  • they then referred the member of staff to performance management for the next six weeks

My approach followed a systematic method that allowed one rule for all, leading to fewer conflicts and improved transparency. The key challenges were some initial frustrations surrounding minor discrepancies, but once staff identified that this process lead to a 50% reduction in total errors, they were willing to oblige.

Example 2

In my most recent role, I was responsible for managing the sale of our new dog treat product. Through research, I identified a gap in the market for gluten-free dog treats and advised my manager that we could exploit this for profit and help dog owners with celiac pets. The task required in-depth audience analytics to identify demand, so I conducted a consumer poll for this research. As a result, our product generated $1.3 million in the first year of sale, despite competitor challenges.

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