Hiring managers often ask this question to find out what makes you stand out from the crowd. They are also curious if your greatest achievement can be replicated, hence benefit the new job role. The best way to structure your answer is by using the CARL technique:
Example Answer (With Experience)
Context: “My greatest achievement was during my previous position as a [Job title] at [Company XYZ]. At the time, two of my colleagues were responsible for content management. That includes planning, styling and developing content for [Website]. However, one went on maternity leave, the other resigned unexpectedly and no replacement was hired.
Action: For the time being, I took the initiative and volunteered to take on the role as content manager. I learned how to use Photoshop and Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) by following internal training courses and using online resources. I started with the low hanging fruit and reached out to some of my colleagues at headquarters to assist me with the more complicated tasks.
Result: Although I wasn’t able to finish each and every task on time during those six months, I was able to troubleshoot technical problems, offer advice on maintenance issues and keep [Website] up and running. As a result, I was praised by management and received a contract extension.
Learning: What I’ve learned is that difficult times lead to new opportunities. In this case, my salary increased, I learned new things and I am excited to share my knowledge with new hires. It also boosted my confidence which makes me feel ready to take on an active role in the content management team.”
Example Answer (No Experience)
“I’d say that my greatest accomplishment was completing my bachelor’s degree in four years with a 3.7 GPA. I had little to no financial support from my family, so I had to invest extra hours in a side hustle just to make ends meet while pursuing my marketing degree.
I started a high-end blog called [Blog XYZ] and generated an additional $500 dollars per month through Google Adsense and Amazon Associates. What I’ve learned is to prioritize my time, build habits and stay focused on my goals.
I feel that what I’ve learned is going to help me pursue my professional career. For example, I’m confident that I’ll contribute to this position and perform [Task 1] and [Task 2] listed in the job description. That’s why I consider this experience as my greatest achievement.”
Interview Question Tips
- Don’t feel like you come across as unlikeable or obnoxious when answering this question
- Don’t give a list of possible accomplishments or a long-winded answer because then you’ll come across as someone who is unprepared and undecisive
- Do share a recent and relevant accomplishment (match with the job requirements). This could be a successful presentation, achieving sales targets, taking on additional responsibilities etc.