There’s no great secret to performing well in a job interview – it relies heavily on research, preparation and good interview technique
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To continue our interview questions series, we’ll be delving into another classic question employers ask in graduate job interviews – “what has been your biggest achievement?” Graduates often have trouble answering this tricky interview question, especially when they haven’t prepared in advance.
Just like other commonly-asked interview questions like “Why do you want to work for us?”, the key to giving a strong answer is to understand the reasons why the interviewer is asking this question in your interview in the first place…
Graduate employers are wanting to meet and hire high-achieving candidates who can add value to their business. By asking this question, your interviewer is giving you a direct chance to demonstrate how you are a high achiever.
Selecting the appropriate achievement is important to setting yourself apart from the crowd. The best way of approaching this question is to choose an achievement that is fairly recent and outside of your academics, for example, something that is either work-related or from your extra-curricular activities. On top of this, pick an achievement that you are genuinely proud of. This makes it a lot easier for you to discuss your example with confidence and energy.
Simply stating what your greatest achievement is will not be an adequate answer – your interviewer will be more interested in hearing about how you accomplished it. They want to understand the active steps you had taken, the skills you drew upon and any obstacles you had to overcome to reach your accomplishment.
The key is to present your answer through the STAR method which offers a succinct structure to follow and will prevent you from going off-piste.
Begin your answer with “My greatest achievement has been when…” and follow this with the STAR structure:
Graduate employers are eager to know what your values are and more importantly, if they align with their company’s core values. Similarly to other interview questions like “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?”, your interviewer is trying to get an understanding of who you are as person and more specifically, what makes you tick and motivates you. Especially within graduate job interviews, this question allows employers to get an idea of what drives graduates outside of their academics.
When preparing, make sure to keep both the company values and the key responsibilities of the graduate job you are interviewing for fresh in your mind. Then pick an accomplishment that you can clearly link back to the role – be sure to make this connection explicitly at the end of your answer. Signposting to your interviewer how you will add value to their business will always impress your potential employer.
Read our complete guide to Interview Questions!
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