Everybody wants to be successful, regardless of what success means for them. When we finally achieve our goals, however, we do not always experience the emotions we expected. The journey is over, but what’s next? Some people experience profound emptiness, others are looking for another dream to pursue. And some people get crazy, start taking drugs, partying as if there were no tomorrow, and ultimately end up broken, both mentally and financially… And how do you handle success?

Of course, these are extreme examples (though not uncommon). Hiring managers care more about your attitude to success in the corporate sphere. They wonder whether you can take it with a cool head, staying on the ground, continuing with good work. Or whether it makes your head spin, you forget everything, lose the bigger picture, and eventually won’t be the employee they want you to be anymore.

Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to this interesting interview question. You will find in my selection answers for both experienced and inexperienced people, as well as some unconventional answers. Go through them all, pick one that resonates with you, and adjust it to your individual situation in the interviews.


7 sample answers to “How do you handle success?” interview question

  1. I always try to take it with humility. I’ve been successful in my past two jobs, but I understand that each success is a teamwork, and I would not achieve it alone. I played my part, so did my colleagues, we all tried hard and achieved desired results, or even results beyond expectations. But I do not want to become over-confident, or even complacent with my abilities. When success comes, we can celebrate it and enjoy great feelings for a day or two. But then we should return back to work, and continue striving to be the best in whatever we do. At least that’s how I see it.
  2. Success always comes with pressure. When you achieve certain things in life, people expect you to go on, and achieve even better things. Suddenly you get a lot of attention, and I know it is hard to bear for many people. But I try to always remember that life is sinusoidal. Once you are up and once you are down, that’s how it always work. I keep this on my mind to not put excessive pressure on myself, regardless of what the others say or think. It helps me to handle the success I achieve.
  3. I cannot answer your question, because I am yet to experience some major success in life. I’ve graduated from a good university, but is that a success? Many people achieve the same feat every year, all around the world… I try to stay humble and do not take the things I’ve achieved so far in life too seriously. Maybe one day I will achieve something really big, either in my personal or professional life. Just then I will be able to tell how I handle it. Hopefully I will handle it well…
  4. I always try to remember that each success is a combination of hard work and luck. Regardless of how you look at it. Even if you work extremely hard, like 100 hours a week, you have to have an opportunity to do so, the right idea, meet the right people, have the budget, and so on. Deep down I am aware of these things, which helps me to take each success with gratitude instead of pride. And it makes all the difference.
  5. I handle success in a simple way: once I achieve a goal, I immediately set a new one. Because I believe that progress never stops. Why are we here? What is our goal on this planet? What should we try to achieve in life? These are no easy questions, and I do not pretend to have answers ready. But I try to progress both as a mother, daughter, wife, employee. And in order to do so, I always set new goals for myself, in each sphere of life. To sum it up, my way of handling success is not dwelling on it much. I always look forward…
  6. To answer your question we first have to define success. And this is my definition: success is a progressive realization of a worthy ideal. I believe to be successful, though I am just applying for my first job. But I always wanted to work in this company, and I’ve done all I could up to this point: earning a degree from a great university, working on my skills, writing the best possible job application. I am living my dream right now, and I consider myself successful. How do I handle it? But since success is a journey and not a destination, I do not look at it or think about it much. I simply go on, and I enjoy the ride.
  7. To be honest, I haven’t handled my latest success. And that’s exactly why I am here today. Had a small business, things went extremely well, and I earned a lot of money. Instead of investing them into assets and saving for rainy days, I went for a spending spree. Got an expensive car, went for one holiday after another, bought countless things I did not really need…. Long story short, pandemic arrived, it hit me hard, I lost the income, and had no savings. I did not handle my success well, and I paid the price. But I believe I learned my lesson, and if I am successful in this job, I won’t repeat the same mistakes.


We learn the most important lessons when we fail

Life feels great when everything is going our way. We may feel like being on the top of the world. I’ve experienced it more than once… However, we learn the most important lessons in difficult times, when everything seems to be against us. I’ve experience it more than once too…

Ensure the hiring managers that success doesn’t make you complacent. You do not dwell on it too much because you know it isn’t permanent, and because other goals await you ahead. What’s more, you aren’t afraid of losing it, and experiencing failure, because you know such experiences help you grow as a person, and become stronger.

Do not be afraid to admit your mistakes

Check sample answer no. 7 on my list. In this case, job applicant admits that they did not handle the success they achieved in their small business. They are extremely honest with the interviewers, narrating mistakes of the past, and how they paid for them.

Maybe you have experienced something similar. Do not be afraid to narrate it in the interview. Honesty is a highly sought-after quality nowadays. What’s more, who understands better how important is to handle success with a cool head than someone who hasn’t managed to do so before, and lost everything because of that? Think about it for a while…

Ready to answer this question? I hope so! Do not forget to check also sample answers to other tricky interview questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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