How to answer "What would you say is your biggest accomplishment in your career so far?" (with sample answers)

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

Why employers ask this

Employers ask this question to gain insight into your work ethic, your ability to set and achieve goals, and your overall level of success in your career. They want to know what you consider to be your biggest accomplishment because it can reveal a lot about your personality and work style. It can also show how you handle challenges and obstacles and whether you are able to work well under pressure.

Additionally, this question allows employers to see if your accomplishments align with the requirements and expectations of the job. If you are able to highlight past successes that are relevant to the position, it can help establish your qualifications and make you stand out as a strong candidate.

How to answer the question

When answering this question, it's important to choose an accomplishment that is both relevant to the job you're applying for and demonstrates your strengths as a professional. Here are some tips:

  • Choose an accomplishment that you are proud of and can speak about with enthusiasm.
  • Be specific about the accomplishment and provide details about what you did and how you achieved it.
  • Explain why the achievement was significant and what impact it had on your team or the company as a whole.
  • If possible, quantify the accomplishment by providing numbers or statistics to reinforce your success.
  • Tie the accomplishment back to the job requirements and explain how it makes you a strong fit for the position.

Remember, it's okay to brag a little bit when discussing your accomplishments. This is your chance to showcase your strengths and prove that you are a valuable asset to the company.

Sample answers

It's common to get nervous when an interviewer asks you about your biggest accomplishments, but it's important to be prepared and able to articulate a response that showcases your strengths. Here are some sample answers, both good and bad, and why they are effective or not:

  1. Bad answer: "I don't really have any big accomplishments. I just try to do my best every day."

    This answer is not effective because it doesn't highlight any specific achievement or demonstrate the candidate's strengths. It also gives the impression that the candidate lacks confidence in their abilities.

  2. Good answer: "One of my biggest accomplishments was when I led a team in developing a new software application that improved our company's workflow by 30%. I was responsible for managing the project from start to finish, ensuring that we met deadlines and stayed within budget."

    This answer is effective because it highlights a specific achievement, demonstrates the candidate's leadership and project management skills, and shows how their work had a measurable impact on the company.

  3. Bad answer: "I graduated from college with a 4.0 GPA."

    This answer is not effective because while graduating with a high GPA is a notable achievement, it doesn't necessarily relate directly to the job or the candidate's work performance. It may come across as bragging or lacking insight into what the interviewer is looking for.

  4. Good answer: "I'm proud of the work I did creating a new employee training program that resulted in a 40% decrease in onboarding time and an increase in employee satisfaction. It was a challenging project that required a lot of research and collaboration with other departments."

    This answer is effective because it highlights a specific achievement that the candidate can back up with data, demonstrates their problem-solving and collaboration skills, and shows that they care about improving the company's processes and employee experience.

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