While preparing for a sales interview, you’ll come across many commonly asked questions. You’ll need to prepare for a series of relevant questions that asks about your past experiences and professional achievement. Some of these interview questions are like “Why should we hire you?” or “What makes you different from others?”.
These types of questions are categorized as behavioral-type questions. By asking them, the interviewer wants to know what industrial skills you possess. The common skill sets they look for in your answer are – communication, leadership quality, adaptive teamwork, critical and problem-solver.
Why do Interviewers ask “What is your professional achievement”?
For interviewers, asking such behavioral questions is the most reliable way to understand the candidate’s thinking style and how they approach their work. The interviewer looks for the best fit for their company. In addition to this, hiring managers want to see what else you have done in your industry in the past.
For candidates, a strong and positive answer puts them in the spotlight and highlights their skills from the rest. Employers can also get a reading on your definition of success. Prepare how you view success and what was your success like in your previous work place. It is likely for the company to receive many applicants for the role. Your point of view on success must benefit the company you have applied for. They also look for any potential highlight that makes you stand out. The idea for this question is to understand past job performance as a way to predict how a candidate would approach the job if hired.
How To Answer – “What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment?
The main purpose for this question is to understand past job performance as a way to predict how a candidate would approach the job if hired. Here are some of the key sets to remember while preparing for this answer. These methods make your valuable skills and qualities stand out amidst the story.
1. Highlight your best qualities and skills.
The main key point in your answer must be your skills. How interactive you are and how confidentially you handle any uncertain situation. When you talk about your skills, be sure to both describe them and also talk about their impact. Mention how you used your skills to get results. If you were the leader of some project in your previous company, describe how you motivate your team and what strategically helped you grow more towards your goal.
For example, you might have worked as a software engineer in XYZ Company and you had been awarded as the “best developer of the year”. You consider this as your greatest accomplishment because you worked hard and made progress for a lot of projects associated with the company. You have been very supportive and helped the team to work at a much faster pace. You adapt to a new team with a smile and welcome critics on your work to improve for the better.
2. Be Honest
The points that the interviewer note are:
- You are very much dedicated to your work and give your best in maintaining the team decorum.
- You carry a positive aura and adapt to any circumstances.
- You are very comfortable in communication and are very eager to stay strong and show quality results.
It is likely that your “greatest accomplishment” story might not be good enough or that it needed little qualities to make it tempting. Even if you have bluffed in the interview, you might be handed a huge project. You might not know how to work with it. This will lead to a huge fall for the company as well as your status in the company. So it is wise to stay honest and modest.
The interviewer only looks for qualities and elaborated skills that set you apart from other candidates. So feel free to choose the story that makes you more convincing fit for the role.
3. Research your job and company
Having more information on the company’s latest role and responsibilities is always a bonus point. List out the skills and quantities the company is looking for specifically. Be sure to check the recent posts or employee reviews on their website.
4. Be specific
Avoid using relevant references while answering. Your answer should be on point and very clear. Giving a straight and detailed answer endures the interview that you, indeed, have had an accomplishment and what role you played in it. Try coping with the answer you have written and practiced at home.
5. Ensure your accomplishment is recent and relevant
Think of the latest job skills required in the market and explain it in your answer. For this point, the best way to answer is telling them about the latest accomplishment in your previous workplace. If you are a fresher, you can tell them about an event where you had participated and were awarded as the best participant.
6. Impact on the company
Include how your skills had helped achieve your previous company’s goal. Do mention it if your skill has helped your company in any way. That highlights your impact and your capabilities. The company hiring managers will most definitely look for your success story as an improvement for the previous company you worked for. This gives them an idea of putting you in a position that benefits the company.
7. Confidence in your voice
Have confidence in the words you speak. Many times nervousness gets the worst of potential candidates and they do not perform well. Make sure you have done enough practice standing in front of the mirror before you appear for the interview. This way you can see how you talk and your body posture and also keep on mastering the eye contact which says that you are eager to sell yourself for the benefit of the company.
[ To know how our Achievements make your Resume Strong – How to Smartly Write Achievements in Resume ]
How To Prepare For “What is Your Greatest Accomplishment?”
For such behavioral questions, the true way to prepare an answer is the story arc. The best way to structure your answer is by using the STAR method. Get used to the Situation, the Task, the Action, and the Result. This method is highly recommended for anyone who is preparing for their interview as it helps in focusing the required area of the answer which is your skills and qualities.
- Situation– the scenario where you have used your skills and qualities into action and proceed to the required result.
- Task– your role and your development throughout the progress.
- Action– the responsibilities you had and the various other abilities you had to use in order to get the desired result.
- Result– the final outcome as well as your personal growth and improvement also tells the interview about your potential growth with each new challenge.
Example: Suppose you have applied for a role of a Project Management in a Consultant Agency. In this case, your interviewer would want to hear about your time management skills and various responsibilities you were able to perform while you were working for your previous company. If you are a fresher, he or she might be interested in knowing your engagement in various events that were held in your college.
Nikita, a candidate who had applied for the Project Management role had answered, “I was in the core team of the drama club where I had to keep the register updated with each new performance and the actors with their various engagements in other setups. I prioritized the role of each member and went to update the register accordingly. I also helped in the script writing and accommodated the actors with the position they have to be on stage.” This tells the interview that Nikita was very hard working and paid enough observation to the entire project and ensures the other team members are on the same page so that the project can proceed smoothly. This also highlights Nikita’s leadership quality.
Make a list of all your accomplishments in the past years of you being in the industry. If you are a fresher, it is wise to collect your accomplishments in the college whether it is academic wise or socialize. Choose the relevant accomplishment to show your skills. Evaluate the story in a manner that sounds pleasing enough for the interviewer to notice your qualities and skills. This way you can keep track of what to include and how to highlight those values.
Prepare and practice enough for your answer to come out naturally. However, I don’t direct you to write a story and memorize them word to word. The STAR framework will help you cite the details on the skills area.
6 Mistakes To Avoid While Talking about your Achievements
It is common to make mistakes when you think of your accomplishment and explain it only focusing on the required area. That’s why it is advised to prepare ahead.
The STAR method is the best way to prepare your answer because it highlights only the key points in an easy way and avoids the rambling problem.
If you are in general a funny person, this will be one of those times to cut down on that. When asked about “greatest achievement” the interviewer wants a serious answer from you to point down your skills and qualities they need in their company. Like “I was awarded as one of the best employers in the bank. Well it’s weird because I didn’t do well enough.”
3. Putting down others to make yourself look better
Aim to connect with the interviewer and not impress them by explaining how your accomplishment helped correct others who had failed. Perhaps it might tell the interviewer that you are a self centered person and might not be a valuable asset to the company. Instead tell them about the time where you helped a group in understanding the problem and took the responsibility to guide them.
4. Unsure responses
This is the common question that is asked in almost all interviews. So always prepare well with the best answer. For this question, specifically, prepare beforehand with the STAR method. The method helps you to focus on the important points that need to focus on while answering and avoid others.
5. Overboard while answering
Talking about the backstory of your accomplishment during an interview is not a good time. Stay on point and elaborate what is needed. Talking about the unwanted details of the story may not sound appealing if you drag it instead of keeping it short but relevant. The interviewer is most likely to turn a deaf ear after the first few seconds. Be certain to keep it short and detailed on the skills and the values.
While preparing for the interview, list out the accomplishments so that you can pick the relevant and latest story to speak about skills. Do not include all the possible achievements. Choose only one story to discuss and evaluate your story beforehand so that you can avoid doing so on spot.
EXAMPLES OF WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS ANSWERS.
“What is your greatest accomplishment?” for Sales Department Positions.
“I worked for XYZ Company for 2 years in sales and customer service. During the festive season, each representative was assigned a goal. The company was struggling with sales due to the crowded market. I decided to start an employee influencer in the meantime. I used my social media to promote our main products and got good responses. This helped me surpass my sales goal and help the company chart to rise and achieve record revenue.”
The above answer shows the candidate is dedicated to his or her work. He or she had outrageously performed his/her role and brought achievement not just to him/her but also for the company. This highlights the person’s confidence, has good communication as well as leadership skills.
The situation here is the company struggling with sales of their latest product. The task was to sell their product as much as possible and to increase the sales rate. The action taken by the candidate is that he/she promoted the company’s main products through their social media accounts and reached a huge crowd of audience. The result was them surpassing their sales goal and a rise in the company’s record revenue.
“What is your greatest accomplishment?” for Freshers.
“My greatest achievement actually was during my pre-final year in college. I was a part of my college cultural event. I was asked to lead the event and it requires dealing with 20-30 students on different portions of the event, understanding everyone’s thoughts and taking them into consideration, and presenting the show. I invested my time in understanding each one of them and their performance. It was a bit tiresome but in the end ours was the biggest hit. This not just helped me to be a great team player but also let me learn leadership skills. ”
This answer clearly shows the person’s leadership quality. The candidate takes the responsibility to understand the team and also has good communication skills as the team understands his/her decision.
The situation was to lead a team of 20-30 in the cultural event. The task was to present a show. The action taken by the candidate was to coordinate each of them and understand their view and consider them. The result was their performance as the biggest hit.
“My greatest achievement was when I designed and implemented a safety drive through for the customers. During the first 2 months we saw a rise in revenue of 15% and that was the biggest increase for the company. For the last few months the customers were having trouble coming in and out of the shop and waiting for their orders. Even the existing drive through was not enough to take more than one car at a time due to which there were many casualties in case two cars drove through the same time. Keeping this in mind, I came up with a plan to increase the lane length and widen the border of the lane. The cars were able to pass by each other in slow drive mode but were able to get their order faster than before. This helped me understand small changes required in any place and to understand any situation before solving.”
This might not be a great story to talk about in the sales department or in an IT company role. This tells the interview about the candidate’s broad thinking set, practical and very much focused on getting the best result from the unexpected.
“My greatest achievement was completing my final year project which was due in 3 months. The team members were my classmates and we were on our own to present it to the department faculties. We had to be very punctual in the work and have to make sure we wouldn’t get overwhelmed with each success. The important part of this project was being proactive. At the beginning of the first month, I created a strict schedule and we all followed it but with our academic work colliding we couldn’t keep following it till the end. Overall, the project was done within the time limit and we presented it with proper preparation and were awarded by the campus.”
This clearly shows the team- spirit, leadership quality of the candidate. The impressive coordination of the team members and the statistics plotted by the candidate gives creative thinking. The interviewer finds this very fit for the role as they need a person with a strong start in the beginning of any project.
[ 27 Answers of Achievements to Trigger your thinking – What is your Greatest Achievement Sample Answer ]
TIPS TO ANSWER What Is Your Greatest Achievement?
There are certain rules one must be aware of. The candidate must learn enough formal references both in talking and writing. The interviewer gets the idea that you have adequate knowledge on industry experience through the short conversation.
· Prioritize achievements that are relevant to your skills for the applied position.
· In case of a team work effort, use words like “cooperated”, “team- spirit”, “collaborated”
· Tell them the event of your success in the past .
· Avoid using informal words like “wanna”, “tryna”, instead learn some relevant formal words.
· Use powerful and positive words that describe your role in it.
· Use statistics and numbers to value your statement of achievement.
· If you have achieved beyond your set goal, do mention it.
· Some achievements involve rewards, might not be individual but as a group, perhaps your previous company was recognized as the leading organization in sales. State it.
· Volunteering at local events
· Awards or participation at some competitions
· Organization you have helped or worked for
· Sports achievement leading to sports scholarship
· Industry work related awards
· Successful campaigns you volunteered
· Successful publication, or blogs
Follow up Questions by the Interview:
It is likely for the interviewer to ask a question or more after you answer. This is to prove that it is indeed your own experience. It is common for a candidate to expect the follow up questions in any interview. Here are some of the most follow up questions asked by the hiring managers after you answer the main question.
· Why is this important?
You can describe how these skills that had helped you and your previous company can benefit their company as well. Since you have the experience in a similar role for an event as the applied role, they can benefit from you. They want to know why you chose this particular story to talk about. This is a chance to highlight your skills to them in case you might not have caught their attention.
· What was the goal?
Speak about your goal of achievement. The interview wants to know what motivated you in achieving the success. Your goal might change depending upon the work progress. There are cases where you would achieve more than the set goal. This will be the perfect chance to impress them with your skills of outstanding results.
· What was the initial scope of the project?
Often a project starts with a small aim which with progress turns to a much bigger goal. It will be the best way to detail your project scheme with respect to your skills and qualities. This will show the interviewer your dedication in reaching the goal that your contribution had created a major goal for the project.
· What were the risks and potential threats?
If your story involves a huge investment of the previous company you have worked for, it is very wise to describe the risks you had to take in every step and also the potential threat you knew might occur.
· What were the challenges you faced?
Talking about challenges and how you solve them is a very good statistic to highlight your skills and qualities in the behavioral question like this. Where there are many small goals set in order to reach the main goal, with each attempt comes failure which breaks the dedication.
Why should we hire you?
This is a direct target to your skills. Instead of them telling them a story of your success, describe to them your skills. Describe them how the company can benefit from you. Make sure you put the company’s improvement before yours. The company wants a candidate to fill the role they need, not a person who wants to work for his/her benefit.
Is there anything else we should know about you?
It is advised to the candidate to be interrogative and tell them other relevant success stories. Keep it light but moderate enough to highlight your extracurricular activities to show your involvement in other platforms.
It is of best practice to research the company and the role required by the company before you apply. Make sure it is of your line of interest. Tailor your most recent success story with respect to the STAR method.
Finally, have some questions prepared for them. Here are some examples on what kind of questions you should prepare for them that could benefit you in understanding them.
For better understanding of the role, ask them about what a day would an employee of the applied role be like. You can ask them about what sort of work you would be doing. Any challenges that you might face and have to prepare for. Also ask for any training program for starters in case you are not informed.
While you have done research on the company prior to the interview, it is best to ask about additional details. You can ask them related to their services and products. Likewise, you can know your target audience and your clients. You can also get to know some of the best employees there to whom you can look up to in case you need to learn more. Asking them about the company’s mission statement gives them the impression of your interest in making major improvements if you get hired. The response you receive will give you an insight of the company’s progression plans and its place in the market.
Try to connect to the interviewer. It is appreciated by many experienced employers to talk about their past experiences to the freshers and give them an insight of the ongoing projects in which they are involved in. Here are some examples
“What led you to the industry?”
“What challenges did you face while working here?”
“What do you look forward to each day at work?”
Learning about the work culture helps you to determine if you are fit for the workplace. How well you fit into a company’s work culture is completely on your outlook. This helps you in learning how your day work would look like if you get hired. Your hiring manager is most likely to walk you through the company’ s do and don’t but having asked this question shows how well prepared you are in knowing the workplace properly.
Rate your performance
It is normal for a candidate to ask their interviewer on what basis will their performance be measured. It defines your credibility to understand the company’s priority. Here are some examples of such questions.
“What are your views on an employee’s work?”
“How often are the employees expected to provide the project status?”
“How often do you measure employee performance?”
The team members you will be working with will be a part of your project and it is good to know about them from the senior most figure. Some of the team members might be of the same level as you but few might be a little more experienced. Knowing about the team you will work with helps you prepare if it is suitable for you or not. It would become quite competitive around the same level members which is fun and exciting. But a lack of teamwork can lead to project failure.
Some companies provide various facilities for the employees. If in your research it says that most trainees take up the living and transport facilities provided by the company, ask the hiring manager if you will be provided or will you have to apply for it. This is an important part to know about. Since the hiring manager will not be asking you about your transport and living situation. It is completely fine to bring up the subject about the facilities.
Try to come up with at least four or five questions to ask the interviewer. In that way, if one or two of them are answered during the earlier discussion, you have backups for later.
“Do you have any employee resource groups?”
This is a good question to ask if you’re looking for a company that promotes diversity and inclusion. If a company has resource groups for underrepresented populations, it’s a sign that they may value diversity and inclusion. This will help you to understand the company’s view on recommendations on diversity.
Go ahead and ask the questions you have prepared for them. Asking about the benefits of the company and also the perks of working may sound a friendly way but it is welcomed by the hiring managers as they too want their employees to feel at ease while working. Asking them to provide more details in a nice way to make sure you have not left out anything. This will give you the assurance that you have given everything that is needed.
During the follow up interview round, the interviewer must have specific goals in mind and may want to invite other members to take part in the interview. This will be the best chance for you to impress them with your friendly and interrogative skills to show them how much of a fit role you are for their company.