Human life is an unpredictable journey. We travel from successes to failures while we try to find our place in the world, and pursue our personal happiness. We certainly do not live in the world of equal opportunity, and some people have it easier to achieve greatness–at least in the eyes of general public. But what it actually means to achieve something? And should we be proud, or rather grateful for our luck, opportunities we had (and someone else lacked), for our destiny?
How you answer this typical interview question actually tells a lot about your personality, and attitude to life. Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers first. Below the answers you will find some additional notes that should help you compose your own, genuine answer to this question. I also want to emphasize that people can ask you the same question in different ways, for example “What was your proudest moment?“, or “What is the professional achievement you’re most proud of?” The sample answers below should help you come up with a great answer to any of these variations.
Sample answers to “What accomplishments are you most proud of?” interview question
- So far I am most proud of earning my Master’s Degree in Business and Management. But, speaking honestly, I consider it just as a start of my journey, not an end. I hope to achieve many other things, both as a manager and as a man, father, son, and in any other roles I may have in my life. I love setting goals and pursue them with my work, dedication, enthusiasm.
- Speaking honestly, I consider my personal transformation my greatest achievement. I was a neurotic person, and also an egoistic woman. But I was lucky enough to have around me good and empathetic people who helped me to overcome my inner demons, and to become a new person. But I would not say that I am proud. I am mostly grateful for the opportunities, for the people around me, and for everything else that helped me on my journey of personal transformation. I do not want to give too much credit to myself for this accomplishment.
- Professional achievement I’m most proud of? Perhaps when I managed to build a great sales team in my last job of a sales manager. I worked mostly with young people, rough talent. I had to teach them everything, and also overcome the initial difficulties–the doubts they had, series of rejections they experienced, and other challenges each young salesman deals with. But eventually we managed to become the most successful sales team in the entire organization nationwide, and I certainly played a big part in our success story.
- I’m proud of raising two children who have become open minded, empathetic and good people. It’s not easy to accomplish such thing in today’s world, and it takes many years of effort. But I always considered this as my most important role being a woman and a mother. Speaking about work, I had mostly simple roles, such as a secretary or administrative assistant. And while I tried to do my job well each day in the office, we can hardly speak about great achievements one can attain working as an administrative assistant…
- To be honest, I do not like the word proud. First of all, I was incredibly lucky in my life. Lucky to be born in a good family in a first world country, to receive education, to be more or less healthy. I am well aware that most people aren’t so lucky in their lives. Therefor I prefer to be grateful for anything that I managed to achieve–be it an excellent result in school, or at work. Because at the end of the day I would have achieved nothing, had I not been so lucky in my life. Hence I haven’t had my proudest moment yet, and perhaps I never will!
- I am still young and just starting my professional career. Certainly I am proud of graduating from school, but I still wait for the first real professional achievement of my life. Applying for a job in your marketing agency, I hope to get a chance to work on some big campaigns, to have some impact in my work, and maybe to achieve a positive change in the world. I definitely have aspirations, but still have to wait for the first real big achievement.
- I am most proud of overcoming the adversity which I faced in my young life. Coming from a poor family, we always struggled with money, and my parents had daily conflicts and fights. It was not easy to get over my childhood traumas, and find courage to pursue some dreams. But I found the courage, studied hard and had a job at the same time to pay for my studies. It was not as an easy period of life, but here I am, applying for a great job with you. I am proud of being able to even get to this point. Let’s see what’s next…
Work-related accomplishments will always impress the interviewers
Achieving something for your past employer will always make an impression on your prospective employer. For example:
- You managed to improve XX process in the company, and as a result your employer improved their revenues by XY percent each year.
- With your excellent work in customer service you helped your employer to receive great online reviews and become one of the highest rated hotels/restaurant/companies in the city.
- Working in HR, you suggested some creative sourcing methods and managed to bring new employees onboard, which is something your employer had struggled with greatly before you joined their team.
Talking about these accomplishments you send a clear sign to the interviewers that you do not work only to earn money. You actually try to accomplish something in your work–for the customers, your employer, for local community, for the world…
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Personal accomplishments demonstrate your inner strength and determination
Everyone has to start somewhere. If you apply for your first job, you can hardly talk about some work-related achievements. But it doesn’t mean that you have not accomplished anything significant in your young life. Maybe:
- You had to make many sacrifices to be able to finish your school. And you eventually succeeded, against all odds.
- Battling with some demons and bad role models, you had to find your own way in life, trying not to follow in their footsteps.
- You accomplished something in sports, perhaps ran a marathon in a decent time, which definitely demonstrates your ability to persistently pursue a goal, and your endurance.
- Getting rid of a bad habit, for example quitting smoking after ten years, demonstrates your determination and will.
What are you most proud of as a student? A question you may face while writing an essay or interview for a place in some study program
I want to quickly touch this modification of the question. If they ask specifically about your student achievements, you should focus on something from school. Now if your GPA is great, the answer is obvious. But what if it is not great, or it is outright bad? You still have some great options.
One of them is referring to your involvement in the campus life, or after school activities. Maybe you organized an event for fellow students, or volunteered in such events. Or perhaps you worked as a resident assistant, or joined the student council or anything. And if you really didn’t do nothing special, you can always say that you succeeded (graduated) against the odds, facing difficulties in your life outside of school. Yet you managed to prepare for the exams and passed them, which allows you to pursue higher education and your dreams…
Give credit to people who helped you with your accomplishments
At the end of the day, no success story is a story of an individual. There are always more people involved, though they can be only in the background, and a common eye may struggle to see their role in the process.
Giving credit to other people shows the interviewers that you are not an egoistic and self-centered person, and that you will be a great colleague and a team player. You can give credit to your parents, teachers, former colleagues, or even to God–the choice is yours.
Talk philosophically if you feel like talking
At the end I want to return to the beginning. Should we be proud, or grateful? Are we really responsible for our actions? Or are we just lucky, or, unlucky? Do we decide about our moves, or are we just pawns in the game someone else is playing?
These are no easy questions, and you can be sure that most job applicants won’t refer to them in their interviews. Should you do so?
I am not sure if you should, but you definitely can. Because it is something the interviewers will remember. And if you compete for a job with many other people (which is always the case for jobs in banks, managerial jobs, and many other positions in the corporate sphere), you should try to stand out with your answers…
Ready to answer this one? Do not forget to check our Interview Success Package 2.0 for up to 10 premium answers to all 104 interview questions. Simplify your interview preparation, learn something your competitors in the interview won’t know, and impress the hiring managers with your answers.
Alternatively you can check answers to the following questions:
- Have you ever worked on a project that was a failure?
- How would you describe your communication skills?
- What inspires you?