During your job interview, you will be asked a lot of questions that about your qualifications, abilities, work history, education, etc., that are asking you to provide what you believe to be your “greatest” or “best” achievement or experience. For example:
- What is your greatest achievement?
- What was your best job that you held before now?
- What was your favorite class in college?
It may seem at first glance like you should answer these accurately. For example, maybe your favorite class in college was Dance 101, because it helped you get closer to your creative side which, in turn, helped you with your career. Or perhaps your favorite job was when you worked at McDonalds in high school because you met your future husband. Or maybe your greatest achievement was when you made managed to bowl a 300 in a tournament game.
No One Cares
These may all have meaning for you, but what is meaningful for you is not necessarily meaningful for the company. Remember, your goal is to take advantage of every job interview question in order to sell yourself to the employer. Does “I met my husband working at McDonalds” sell yourself to the employer? Not at all. The employer doesn’t care that McDonalds has meaning to you, because it has no meaning to the employer.
Every answer to a job interview question should be designed to put yourself in a better position to get the job. The best way to do that is for your answers to show:
Every answer should, ideally, show the interviewer that you have experience with something the interviewer values, that you are an intelligent person capable of putting thought into your actions or answers, and that what you say is relevant to the position you are applying for.
This may not always be possible, and that’s fine, but with questions like “greatest achievement,” you have a choice between talking about your greatest personal achievement or talking about your greatest professional achievement. You should choose professional every time, and ideally pick an achievement that truly impresses the interviewer.
That is how you should approach all of these questions. Make sure your answer shows that you have experience with skills related to the job, make sure the answers are intelligent, and make sure the answers are relevant to the interviewer and the job you are applying for. That is the best way to take advantage of every interview question and put yourself in the best position to get the job.
Take Away Interview Tips
- Every job interview answer should try to show your experiences/abilities, intelligence, and relevance to the position.