To answer this job interview question, we must understand the meaning of an accomplishment based on your experience. You need to think of events in your career that led to your greatest accomplishment.
Consider your proudest accomplishment at work to be your own headline news or what you brag about to your family, friends and grandkids. Think of them all talking about your greatest accomplishment at work 20 years from now at their jobs.
Be sure to have at least one major accomplishment for every job you have had for a year or more throughout your career. In addition, just because a job was over 10 years ago does not mean there is no way a skill, experience or success could be linked directly to a pain point the company needs to have addressed.
Make Your Proudest Accomplishment at Work Count
For your greatest accomplishment to be useful they must also be relevant to the issues or pain the company is experiencing. Look to the job description, which will list the responsibilities and requirements.
You should also do your research on the website for the company mission, goals, values, products or other key information and see how your greatest accomplishments fit the company. See if your greatest accomplishment at work should be talked about in an interview.
Tip: Setting up Informational interviews with past employees, vendors or even current employees is a wonderful way to understand what others thought were your greatest accomplishments.
Find Your Relevant Strengths
Business Journals are also a key source of information you may be able to use in your discovery of key pain points or issues that may need addressing. Strengths Finders, by Gallup Poll, is a great tool to learn how to describe a major success you are proud of, and your strengths that were vital to your success.
These points also become a wonderful set of words you can use when stuck, stumped or nervous in highlighting your abilities. They are also handy for answering the likely interview question, “Tell me about yourself”.
Write Your Relevant STAR Stories
To bring your greatest accomplishment together in an interview you need to write out your STAR Stories. These are short, 90-120 second stories that tell about a situation, your actions, and the result.
I suggest you write out your stories, edit down and practice in front of a mirror to present within the prescribed time frame. When telling a STAR Story, you should use at least half of the time to talk about your results and how you can provide the same for the company.
One other point is to be sure to include details about your actions and results that led to your proudest accomplishment at work or your greatest accomplishment to date. Glossing over key points or providing fuzzy details tend to cause the listener to question your role or that your results were less than presented.
More details will means more credibility. The listener will be able to begin to see how you are the right candidate.
Help the Company See Your Passion
Finally, be sure to visualize how you felt when you succeeded in these accomplishments as this will show your passion and desire to serve the company in the same manner.