Tough Interview Questions: Tell Me About Your Greatest Achievement (or Success)?

Tell me about your greatest achievement

Here’s the formula for answering.  You may know that stories are so delightful for organizations to listen to and to understand the circumstances and experience.  I had someone rejected for a job.  He was on a final interview and they complained, “He only talked about what he did and he didn’t tell us any stories in answering your question.”  Ridiculous.  But that is what firms, like it nor not want; it is our obligation to give it to them.  Here’s the formula for doing so.

You talk about the situation you were assigned and the task that you have to do to accomplish it.  That leads to your accomplishments and what the result was.  For example, if I were talking about myself, “The client approached me about a particular search.  They needed 37 positions filled within a particular period of time. ” That’s the situation I was asked to step into. 

What was the task that I did?  “I mobilized a team of individuals who were purely focused on doing that search with me. I coordinated them.  I interviewed 25 people a day for 30 days until the client was exhausted by the alternatives.  I presented people to them and they start to interview them.  The client was delighted because I was able to get the search completed long way before their required need.  They were concerned that they need these 37 people within 3 months and that would be too difficult a task to do.  I got them on board with 2 1/2 weeks to spare.  The result was great client satisfaction, more opportunities to work on, revenue generated…” And I would give the milestones for what I accomplished. 

The situation, the task I undertook, the accomplishments I had, and the results using some metrics that involve numbers (money earned or saved, the percentage above the mean or percentage improvement over what previously existed . . . some numerical measure of success).

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020



Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1800 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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