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Interview Question “What are Your Professional Achievements?”

“What are your professional achievements?” is one of the toughest behavioral questions you can be asked during a job interview.

As children, we often learn to practice humility; Not showing off in social situations because it is considered rude.

As a result, as an adult, we often feel awkward discussing our accomplishments, even if we are asked about them directly. We subconsciously worry that we seem unloved or hateful.

What are your professional achievements?


Of course, in many situations, including at work, humility is a useful trait. But the whole purpose of a job interview is to convince the interviewer that you are the best person for the job. So start embracing what makes you great.

This article will outline the purpose of behavioral interview questions, and help you understand what the interviewer is really looking for when they ask about your greatest achievement. 

It will then explain how to prepare your answer, and provide some sample answers to help you get started.

Other forms of the question


There are many forms of the question, depending on the interviewer, including:

  • What are your professional accomplishments? 
  • Talk to me about your achievement?
  • Tell me about some of your accomplishments?
  • What is your greatest achievement?
  • What is your greatest professional achievement?
  • Tell me about a time you showed leadership?
  • Describe a time when you solved a difficult problem?

Why does the interviewer ask you this question?


Contrary to what your subconscious is trying to tell you, your interviewer is not trying to trick you into exposing your arrogance when they ask “What are your professional achievements?” in a job interview.

They just want to know what makes you stand out from the crowd. 

It is an example of a behavioral interview question, commonly used in interviews to assess skills and competencies through discussions about your past experiences.

Here are the following:

  • What you value most in life, how it can benefit the company and whether you are a good fit for the company culture.
  • How do you view success and whether this coincides with the company's business goals.
  • Whether you possess desirable soft skills such as communication, leadership capabilities, teamwork, adaptability, creativity and problem solving.
  • Whether you have ambition and drive to succeed. For example, if you have to fight hard for your greatest achievement.

How to prepare for the answer


Your answer should show that your skills are transferable and relevant to the job. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine what accomplishments you might be talking about:

1. How have you contributed to the company's goals in previous roles?

  • You may have had a significant impact on a KPI such as increased revenue.

2. What impact have you had on the team as a mentor, manager or team player?

  • Perhaps you helped aboard an intern and set them up for success, benefiting the entire organization.

3. How did you help an organization become more efficient?

  • Process improvements may have been driven by improved communication channels.

4. What have you done to enhance the customer experience?

  • You may have helped innovate towards a new user-focused solution.

5. If you're new to the workforce: Have you ever taken the lead in anything in a student organization or while volunteering? 

  • You may have organized an event, won a contest, or raised money for a good cause.

6. If your interviewer specifically asked for an example outside of work: Beyond the office, what personal goals did you achieve?

  • Maybe you ran a marathon or finished a long bike ride, or maybe you just overcame a personal challenge of some sort.

If it's hard to pick a single achievement that seems to be your "greatest achievement," go back to your research and think about it through the lens of the hiring manager you're trying to impress and the job you're trying to get.


Examples to answers


Some of the answers you can provide for specific situations include the question “What are your professional achievements?” the following:

I think my greatest achievement was during my last job as a Human Resources Officer. The recruitment department had difficulty locating certain files and managing documents, especially during busy periods, and this was very time consuming. So, I thought there was room for improvement in employee file management. I wanted to increase productivity, efficiency, and ultimately, save time spent searching for documents. I decided to take the lead and implement a new HR team document management program. One that can also centralize file management within the department, simplify the setup process, as well as help with other small tasks (such as bulk document import, automated background file transfers, etc.) And docs have been reduced by 5-10 hours. There is no longer a delay between sharing documents with HR, Payroll, and supervisors. Each team or individual can instantly access the files they need in a single HR filing system, increasing their overall productivity.


Well, as a recent graduate of Tanta University, I think my greatest achievement is what I have been able to achieve during my time there. My scholarship only covered half of the tuition fees, and my family could not support me financially. I also wanted to gain some work experience during my time there, so that I could start working right after graduation. So, I learned early on that I had to manage my time to be efficient and above all else. Through hard work and dedication, I was able to balance study with part-time work, and even volunteer to gain some experience. It was tiring at times, but I scheduled everything I had to do in my personal calendar. I needed to know my to-do list, when each was due, and how long it would take. This way, I never missed a deadline, a task, or any other responsibility. In the end, I graduated with a GPA of 3.8, almost no student loans, and trained as a university social media assistant for the past two semesters.There, I also learned a lot about marketing, how to connect with our followers, and was able to organize the largest university event where up to 300 students attended.


My biggest achievement was during my training as a customer support representative for Vodafone. I was the first dedicated support intern there, so I didn't have much to go through and had to learn a lot on my own. A lot of it was fast too, and at first I wasn't sure if I was doing things right. I felt out of place and had to think quickly if I wanted to advance in the company. I wanted to get better, and a lot of the other employees were often too busy to help me. So, not having much in the way of instructions, I decided to start learning as much as I could about our product by talking to other employees when I could, and reading whatever I could get my hands on related to the product. After a while, I started noticing a trend in the questions I was getting from our clients. First, I decided to create a document of the frequently asked questions I was getting, for personal use. This saved me a lot of time, and in the end, the document was redirected to its webpage. Over the next year, I was promoted to Customer Support Team Leader, and helped increase my overall customer service effort (consulting on hiring, training new representatives, communicating issues and questions with the product, etc.). In the end, we were able to reduce the average number of monthly tickets by about 25%.


In my last position, our technology development team lost a colleague due to relocation. He was the lead developer of the iOS version of the app.  Unfortunately; No one else on the team worked with iOS to develop apps.  Since I had experience developing an iOS app, I've volunteered to take the lead in app development and deployment. Worked with other team members to build and troubleshoot the new app.  I was able to finish development 60 days ahead of schedule. It is currently available in the iTunes Store and already has more than 350 positive reviews and provided an additional revenue stream for the company.

In my last job I was responsible for managing the orientation and training programs for our new employees. Unfortunately, the content was not attractive. While the information was essential to our new employees, we found that only 35% of new employees did not complete training. We've also received bad reviews on course evaluation forms. I decided to reformulate the training program to make it more relevant and interesting based on industry best practices and feedback on evaluation models. Today, 93% of participants have completed the training and provided positive feedback about their experience. My boss was so pleased with the improvements that she asked me to lead a training seminar in our office in Cairo.

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