How to answer "What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement so far?" (with sample answers)

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This post is part of our series on behavioral interview questions.

Why Employers Ask This

As a jobseeker, it is important to understand why employers ask this question to prepare the best answer possible. Generally, employers ask this question to learn more about your work history and what you consider meaningful success. They want to know how you approach challenges, how you value your accomplishments, and how you can contribute to their organization. This question lets employers see how you frame success and how it aligns with their goals.

How to Answer the Question

Answering "What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement so far?" can be daunting, but with preparation, it can be an opportunity to showcase your professional growth. Here are a few ways to answer the question:

  • Highlight a Work Accomplishment: Choose a specific project or task that you completed successfully and discuss the impact it made for the company. Be sure to mention any challenges you encountered and how you overcame them.
  • Discuss Skills Developed: Talk about how you have developed professionally in your current or previous positions. Mention any new skills that you learned and how you applied them to your work.
  • Show Progress: Discuss how you have progressed in your career and the milestones you have achieved. This can include promotions, raises, achieving goals, or tackling challenging projects.

No matter your answer, make sure you relate it back to the position you are applying for. Explain the skills you used or developed that make you a great candidate. Don't forget to be honest, but humble, and try to demonstrate that you are a valuable asset to the company.

Sample answers

Good answer: My greatest professional achievement was leading a team of five engineers on a software development project that resulted in a 25% increase in sales for the company. I worked closely with my team to design and implement new features, which contributed to a more user-friendly and efficient product.

Explanation: This answer provides specific details about the achievement and quantifies the impact it had on the company. It also shows the candidate's leadership skills and ability to work in a team.

Bad answer: I think my greatest professional achievement was just getting hired at my last job. It was a really competitive process, and it felt great to be chosen out of so many applicants.

Explanation: This answer is not specific enough and doesn't showcase any tangible accomplishments. It also seems like the candidate is settling for just being hired instead of striving for greater achievements.

Good answer: One of my greatest professional achievements was implementing a new project management system for my department. This system improved communication and productivity, leading to a 20% decrease in project completion time and a 15% increase in customer satisfaction ratings.

Explanation: This answer demonstrates the candidate's problem-solving skills and ability to create innovative solutions that yield positive results. The quantifiable impact shows that the candidate's contributions are valuable to the organization.

Bad answer: I don't really have a greatest professional achievement. I just do my job and try to stay on top of things.

Explanation: This answer lacks confidence and ambition. It also doesn't showcase any specific accomplishments or contributions.

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